File reference: Reg2497, 07/384
The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the application by the Liberty and Democracy Party 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 22 February 2007, the Australian Electoral Commission (the AEC) received an application from the Liberty and Democracy Party (the Party) for registration as a political party under the provisions of Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).
On 28 May 2007, the delegate of the AEC determined the initial consideration of the Party's application and on 8 June, the Party was issued a section 131 notice advising it that the delegate may be required to refuse the application on the basis that the name 'Liberal Democratic Party' was likely to breach section 129 of the Electoral Act.
On 24 July 2007, the Party formally responded amending its application so that the name of the Party is the 'Liberty and Democracy Party' and the abbreviation is 'LDP'.
On 31 July 2007, the delegate accepted the Party's response to the section 131 notice and approved the advertising of the Party's application.
The Party's application was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette and in 10 newspapers circulating in the various states and territories on Wednesday 1 August 2007. One written submission objecting to the registration of the Party was received.
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 a political party firstly in being an organisation, that has been recognised as an organisation by the ACT Electoral Commission during its ACT registration since March 2001 and its participation in the 2001 and 2004 ACT elections.
Secondly, its constitution has as an objective at 3.1.2 an aim of seeking 'election of its candidates to the House of Representatives and Senate'.
The Party has an active website at www.ldp.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 s.126 of the Electoral Act, in that it:
The role of secretary is well described in the Party's constitution in section 6.5. The secretary has 'overall responsibility for correspondence in connection with the Party' and is allocated other responsibilities of an administrative nature.
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. 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 June 2007. Nineteen members confirmed their membership, and one person did not respond either to phone contact by the AEC or letters written to them asking for confirmation of their membership. A check against all available membership lists was conducted, and of the 555 members provided by the Party, no duplicates were identified.
The Party has demonstrated that there is no fraud in its membership list and that it satisfies the membership eligibility criterion.
The Party has an up-to-date constitution that was provided with its application. The constitution contains the following matters relevant to registration:
The Party's constitution satisfies the requirements of the Electoral Act.
Section 129 of the Electoral Act prohibits the registration of parties with certain names. This is called the names test. The names test requires that a political party cannot be registered if its name or abbreviation:
The applicant party initially attempted to register as the 'Liberal Democratic Party'.
On 8 June 2007, the AEC issued the applicant Party a section 131 notice to vary its name as the name was likely to breach section 129.
On 24 July 2007, the AEC received a response from the applicant Party varying the name of the Party to the 'Liberty and Democracy Party' and the abbreviation of the Party to 'LDP'.
The new name of the party, 'Liberty and Democracy Party' and the abbreviation 'LDP' do not offend any of the section 129 prohibitions.
The Party passes the names test in section 129 of the Electoral Act.
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:
The Party's application was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette and in 10 newspapers circulating in the various states and territories on Wednesday 1 August 2007.
One written submission was received:
Elections ACT made this submission on 3 August 2007. It advised that the abbreviation sought to be used by the Liberty and Democracy Party (LDP) was the same as that used by the ACT-registered Liberal Democratic Party. This party stood candidates at the 2004 ACT election.
Subsection 132(5) of the Electoral Act requires that the AEC provide the proposed registered officer of the applicant Party with a copy of all submissions received and provide them with the opportunity to comment on the submissions.
Elections ACT advised that the abbreviation 'LDP' is currently the registered abbreviation of the Liberal Democratic Party in the ACT and may breach section 129 of the Electoral Act (the names test).
Paragraph 129(1)(d) states that the Commission shall refuse an application where the abbreviation so nearly resembles the abbreviation of an unrelated recognised political party that it is likely to be confused or mistaken for that party.
The AEC has determined that the Liberal Democratic Party registered in the ACT is related to the Liberty and Democracy Party on the basis that these are two names used for registration purposes by the same Party.
As the parties are related, the abbreviation LDP does not offend paragraph 129(1)(d).
The delegate rejected the objection.
The Liberty and Democracy Party has now been registered.
Deputy Electoral Commissioner
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission
7 September 2007