Party registration decision: Hear Our Voice

Updated: 4 January 2011

Party entered in the Register of Political Parties

File reference: Reg2651, 07/1312

The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the application by Hear Our Voice 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.

Background

On 3 September 2007, the Australian Electoral Commission (the AEC) received an application from Hear Our Voice (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 application on Friday, 7 September 2007 in the Commonwealth Gazette and on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 in ten major newspapers throughout Australia. No written submissions were received objecting to the Party's application for registration.

Application of the 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.

The relevant provisions require this Party to:

  • be an organisation with an aim of promoting candidates it endorses for election to the House of Representatives and/or the Senate;
  • have at least 500 members eligible to be on the electoral roll;
  • make an application for registration in the manner prescribed in section 126; and
  • propose a name and optional abbreviation for registration that is not prohibited by section 129.

Political party

The Party meets the definition under section 4(1) of the Act as it is an organisation based on a constitution, including an objective to have Party candidates elected to federal, state and local governments.

The Party passes this test.

Application

The application conforms to the requirements in section 126 of the Act.

Secretary

The Party's constitution states that the Party secretary will be responsible for the general day-to-day administration and correspondence of the Party.

The Party passes this test.

Membership

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:

  • removes from the list members under 17 years of age;
  • removes any duplicate memberships on the list;
  • removes people who have already been used by another party to establish its eligibility for registration; and
  • conducts a random test for fraudulent membership.

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 was completed in September 2007. Nineteen out of 20 members confirmed their membership, with one person failing to respond to phone or letter contact. A check against all available membership lists was conducted, and of the 509 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 the Senate or the House of Representatives;
  • identification of the role of the secretary; and
  • detailed 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.

There are no registered parties at state, territory or federal level with a similar name to Hear Our Voice.

The Party passes the names test.

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's application for registration.

Conclusion

Hear Our Voice has now been registered.

Paul Dacey
Deputy Electoral Commissioner
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission

10 October 2007

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