Party registration decision: Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)

Updated: 4 January 2011

Party entered in the Register of Political Parties

File reference: Reg2479 – 07/971

The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the application by the Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting) to be re-registered as a political party under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 should be accepted and the party entered in the Register of Political Parties.

Background

On 25 June 2007, the Australian Electoral Commission (the AEC) received an application from the Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting) (the Party) for re-registration as a political party under the provisions of Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).

The Party's application was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette on Friday 20 July 2007 and in 10 newspapers circulating in the various states and territories on Monday 23 July 2007. No objections were received.

On 6 August 2007, the delegate of the AEC noted that the Party's application had passed the internal AEC tests for registration.

Relevant legal provisions

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 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 the AEC's website.

In relation to this Party, the relevant provisions require it to:

  • be an organisation with an aim of promoting candidates it endorses for election to the House of Representatives and/or the Senate (s.4);
  • be eligible for registration (s.123), that is have either at least 500 members eligible to be on the electoral roll, or a member who is a member of the Commonwealth Parliament, that have not been relied upon for registration by another political party;
  • make application for registration in the manner prescribed in s.126; and
  • propose a name and optional abbreviation for registration that is not prohibited by s.129.

Application of relevant legal provisions

Political party

Subsection 4(1) of the Electoral Act defines a political party as an organisation that has the object or activity of, or has as one of its objects or activities, the promotion of the election to the Senate or to the House of Representatives, of a candidate or candidates endorsed by it.

The Party meets the definition as it is an organisation based on a constitution, including an objective to 'endorse candidates to contest Federal (and if possible State and Local Government) Elections'. The party has also previously been registered with the AEC as a political party and has lodged political party annual returns.

Application

The application conforms to the requirements in s.126 of the Act, in that it:

  • is made by ten members of the Party, of whom one is the secretary of the Party;
  • sets out the names and addresses of the applicants and particulars of the capacity in which each applicant makes the application;
  • sets out the name, address and signature of the person who is to be the registered officer of the Party;
  • sets out the name of the Party and the abbreviation that the Party wishes to be able to use for the purposes of the Electoral Act;
  • includes a list of the names of at least 500 members of the Party to be relied on for the purposes of registration and copies of their membership applications;
  • states whether the Party wishes to receive moneys under Division 3 of Part XX of the Electoral Act;
  • is accompanied by a copy of the constitution of the Party; and
  • is accompanied by a statutory declaration affirming the membership details.

The applicant party was de-registered on 27 December 2006 as a result of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006 (the 2006 Amendment Act). Item 4 in Schedule 3 of the 2006 Amending Act provides for the waiver of the normal application fee where a party deregistered by force of Schedule 3 makes an application to re-register within 12 months of the commencement of the Schedule.

The Party has satisfied the technical requirements in section 126 for an application for party registration.

Secretary

The Party passes this test as its constitution provides a description of the responsibilities of the secretary.

Membership

Section 123 of the 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. 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.

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 be from a Party that has 500 members.

A random sample check of 20 members was completed in July 2007. All 20 members confirmed their membership. A check against all available membership lists was conducted, and of the 503 members provided by the Party, no duplicates were found.

FAD 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.

Constitution

The Party has a constitution that was provided with its application. The constitution contains the following matters relevant to registration:

  • an aim of promoting candidates for election to Parliament;
  • the role of the secretary; and
  • membership criteria.

The Party passes this test.

Party name

Section 129 prohibits the registration of parties with certain names. A party cannot be registered if its name or abbreviation is:

  • longer than six words;
  • perceived to be obscene;
  • the name, abbreviation, or acronym of the name of another political party (not being a political party that is related to the applicant party) that is a recognised political party;
  • so nearly resembling the name, abbreviation, or acronym of the name of another recognised political party (not being a political party that is related to the applicant party) that it is likely to be confused with that other recognised political party;
  • one that a reasonable person would think, suggests a connection or relationship with another registered political party, if that relationship does not exist;
  • comprised of the words 'Independent Party';
  • comprised of, or contains, the word 'Independent', and the name, abbreviation or acronym of a recognised political party; or
  • comprised of, or contains, the word 'Independent' and matter, that so nearly resembles the name, or an abbreviation or acronym of the name of a recognised political party, that the matter is likely to be confused with, or mistaken for, that recognised political party.

The registers in each state and territory were checked and no party was identified that might prohibit the registration of 'Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)' under section 129. The party did not apply for a registered abbreviation.

Objections

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:

  • that the application does not relate to an eligible political party;
  • that the application has not been made in accordance with section 126 of the Act (the section setting out the requirements to be met by an applicant political party); and
  • that the application should be refused under section 129 of the Act (the names test).

No written submissions were received in relation to this Party.

Conclusion

The application from the Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting) to be re-registered as a political party is approved.

Paul Dacey
Deputy Electoral Commissioner
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission

28 August 2007

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