File reference: Reg2586, 07/1331
The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the application by Conservatives for Climate and Environment Incorporated to be registered as a political party under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 should be accepted and the Party entered in the Register of Political Parties.
On 4 September 2007, the Australian Electoral Commission (the AEC) received an application from Conservatives for Climate and Environment Incorporated (the Party) for registration as a political party under the provisions of Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).
The AEC advertised the Party's application on Friday, 7 September 2007 in a Special Notices Gazette and on Tuesday, 11 September in ten major newspapers throughout Australia. No written submissions were received objecting to the Party's application for registration.
Political parties may apply for registration for the purposes of federal elections in accordance with the requirements of Part XI of the Electoral Act. The Electoral Act requires the AEC to maintain a publicly available 'Register of Political Parties'.
The provisions specifically relevant for the current application under consideration are sections 4, 123, 124, 126, 129, 132, 132A and 133 of the Electoral Act. An extract of the relevant provisions is available adjacent to this notice on this website.
The relevant provisions require this Party to:
The Party appears to meet the definition of political party as defined in section 4 of the Electoral Act as its constitution has as an objective at 1.3(a) an aim of achieving election to the Senate or to the House of Representatives of candidates endorsed by the Party.
The Party has an active website at http://www.cfce.org.au/ with a history of the Party and details of current and recent events relevant to members.
The application conforms to the requirements in section 126 of the Electoral Act.
The role of the secretary is well described in the Party's constitution in Section 15. The secretary is responsible for the carrying out of the administration, keeping minutes of all proceedings at meetings, and for the conduct of the correspondence of the Party.
The Party passes this test.
Section 123 of the Electoral Act requires a non-parliamentary party to have at least 500 members who are entitled to enrolment.
The criterion for membership, including the payment of a membership fee, is set out in the Party's constitution and the statutory declaration by the secretary states that each of the members on the list has been accepted as a member of the Party in accordance with the rules of the Party.
To test that a party has 500 members who are entitled to enrolment, the AEC:
If, in contacting a random sample of 20 people from the membership list, there is no more than one instance where the membership could not be confirmed, then the AEC accepts that the party has passed the required membership test. The test is designed to detect fraudulent membership in the 500 members on the basis that an application that contains fraudulent memberships is unlikely to have 500 members.
A random sample check of 20 members was completed in September 2007. Nineteen out of 20 members confirmed their membership. A check against all available membership lists was conducted, and of the 533 members provided by the Party, no duplicates were found.
The AEC is of the view that the Party has demonstrated that there is no fraud in its membership list and that it has the 500 members to be eligible for registration.
The Party has a constitution that was provided with its application. The constitution contains the following matters relevant to registration:
The Party passes this test.
Section 129 prohibits the registration of parties with certain names. A party cannot be registered if its name or abbreviation is:
|REGISTER||REGISTERED NAME||REGISTERED ABBREVIATION|
|Federal||Climate Change Coalition||CCC|
The Party could consequently incur the prohibition under either paragraph 129(1)(d) or 129(1)(da). That is, the name is one that:
In determining whether the name offends paragraphs 129(1)(d) and 129(1)(da), the precedent of Woollard Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision (Woollard and the AEC and the Liberal Party  AATA 166) applies. In particular, the statement by the Tribunal that:
Absent clear language to contrary effect, this disqualifying provision is not to be construed as to lock up generic words as the property of any organisation when it comes to names that can be used on the ballot paper. And it is significant that there is no registration requirement conditioning the wider use of party names outside the polling booth.
Legal advice obtained by the Delegate on 13 September 2007 stated it was unlikely registration of the name 'Conservatives for Climate and Environment Incorporated' would breach section 129. The use of the word 'climate' in the Party's name would be unlikely to cause electors to think that it is the same as the 'Climate Change Coalition' or cause them to become so confused as to which name attaches to which organisation that no informed vote could be cast.
The advice also stated that it was unlikely a reasonable person seeing the names 'Conservatives for Climate and Environment Incorporated' and 'Climate Change Coalition' would think that a connection or relationship exists between the two parties.
The Party passes the names test.
Before a decision can be made on an application to register a political party, the AEC is required to advertise the application seeking written submissions objecting to the registration of the party.
Written submissions objecting to an application to register a political party can only address three matters:
No written submissions were received objecting to the Party's application for registration.
Conservatives for Climate and Environment Incorporated has now been registered.
Deputy Electoral Commissioner
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission
11 October 2007