Party registration decision: One Nation Western Australia

Updated: 4 January 2011

Party re-entered in the Register of Political Parties

File reference: Reg2427, 04/1667-2

The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the application by One Nation Western Australia 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 3 January 2007, the Australian Electoral Commission (the AEC) received an application from One Nation Western Australia (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 was deregistered on 27 December 2006 under the provisions of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006.

On 11 May 2007, the delegate of the AEC determined the initial consideration of the Party's application and issued a section 131 notice to the Party requiring evidence that the Party and other registered One Nation branches are related in terms of section 123 of the Act.

On 18 June 2007, the Party responded formally to the section 131 notice providing evidence that the parties are related.

The Party's application was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette and in nine newspapers circulating in the various states and territories on Wednesday 18 July 2007.

No written submissions objecting to the registration of the Party were received.

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.

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;
  • have at least 500 members eligible to be on the electoral roll;
  • make 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

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 delegate determined that the Party is an organisation on the basis of the Party's previous registration with the AEC and the annual returns it has been lodging disclosing its financial activity. The Party's constitution records in paragraph 1.1(b) that one of the objectives of the Party is to secure the election of representatives to Federal and State Parliaments.

The Party is accepted as a political party as defined in section 4 of the Electoral Act.

Application

The application conforms to the technical requirements set out in section 126 of the Electoral Act.

Secretary

The delegate noted that the role of secretary was not identified in the Party's constitution but that the document does refer to duties of the State Secretary and the State Director. The constitution indicated that it is the State Director who takes responsibility for the administration and the conduct of the correspondence of the Party rather than the State Secretary. Both officers signed the application for registration.

The AEC considers that the Party's constitution sufficiently identifies the State Director as the secretary of the Party as set out in section 123 of the Electoral Act.

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.

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.

The test for fraudulent membership involves contacting a random sample of 20 people from the membership list by phone and by mail if necessary. Where more than one of the randomly selected people from the membership list cannot be confirmed as a member, then the membership test has been failed.

A random sample check of 20 members was completed in February 2007. Nineteen members confirmed their membership and 1 person did not respond to contact by the AEC.

The Party satisfied the delegate that it had the required 500 members.

Constitution

The Party has an up-to-date 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 and House of Representatives;
  • a reasonable indication that the State Director is the officer who best fits the definition of secretary in the Act; and
  • membership criteria.

The Party's constitution satisfies the requirements of the Electoral Act.

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.

On 11 May 2007, the delegate of the AEC issued a section 131 notice to the Party requiring evidence that the Party and other registered One Nation branches registered both federally and at state level are related in terms of section 123 of the Electoral Act. If the parties are not related in terms of section 123 of the Electoral Act, the name proposed by the Party for registration would be prohibited under section 129.

On 5 June 2007, 10 members of the national executive of One Nation flew to Canberra from 5 states (WA, SA, Vic, NSW, Qld) to meet with AEC staff and discuss the requirements of section 123 of the Electoral Act.

On 18 June 2007, the Party supplied evidence to show the continuing existence of a National Management Committee of One Nation, taking over the role of the original federal body of Pauline Hanson's One Nation from the time it applied for voluntary de-registration in 2004 and was de-registered in early 2005. This body fulfils the role of a federal party of which all the state branches are member parties. The second arm of the section 123 definition of related party is therefore satisfied with all state branches being parts of the unregistered federal One Nation, which is the National Management Committee.

The Party, therefore, passes the names test in section 129 of the Electoral Act.

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).

The Party's application was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette and in 10 newspapers circulating in the various states and territories on Wednesday 18 July 2007.

No written submissions objecting to the registration of the Party were received.

Conclusion

One Nation Western Australia has been re-registered.

Paul Dacey
Deputy Electoral Commissioner
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission

28 August 2007

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