Schedule 3 of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006 (the Amendment Act) operates to de-register those political parties without current or past representation in Federal Parliament.
De-registration will occur on 27 December 2006. The AEC has until this date to satisfy itself that parties have, or have had, representation in the Parliament.
De-registered parties may apply for re-registration. In doing so, they must satisfy the contemporary registration requirements (including naming provisions) of Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) before being re-registered.
The Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters made a number of recommendations for change to the Act in its 'Report of the inquiry into the Conduct of the 2004 federal election and Matters Related thereto'.
Chapter 4 of the Report included recommendations to address apparent confusion on the part of electors over party names. The recommendation for de-registration of certain parties was adopted by Parliament.
A party will be automatically de-registered on 27 December 2006 unless:
A claim by a party with past representation must:
The AEC may make any enquiries it considers appropriate to ascertain the facts about a claim:
Two parties may rely on one person where that person was elected to Parliament as a member of one party at one election and as a member of another party at a different election.
If two parties seek to rely on the one person in circumstances where the person was elected to Parliament as member of only one of the parties, that party may rely on the person.
If two parties otherwise seek to rely on the one person (i.e. they were elected as a member of a related party), the party making the earliest successful claim may rely on the person.
What if a sitting member of Parliament changed parties?
Past representation is based on party members being elected to Parliament. Schedule 3 is not satisfied where an elected member changed parties and the acquiring party seeks to rely on that person as their representative.
The public Register of Political Parties is frozen for a period of six months from 23 June 2006. The effect is that no political party may be registered or de-registered during the period.
A change of registered officer details may be made during this period.
If an election is called within 12 months after 23 June 2006, the Register of Political Parties as at that date applies for the election.
It is open to a party that is de-registered under these measures to again apply for registration under Part XI of the Act. The Federal Registration of Political Parties Handbook provides guidance to assist applicants.
Such parties should be aware that:
Schedule 3 of the Amendment Act operating in conjunction with Part XI of the Act.