Party registration decision: Liberal National Party of Queensland

Updated: 4 February 2011

Party entered in the Register of Political Parties

File reference: Reg3099a, 08/1129

The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the application by the Liberal National Party of Queensland be registered as a political party under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Background

On 22 August 2008, the Australian Electoral Commission (the AEC) received an application from the Liberal National Party of Queensland (the LNP) for registration as a political party under the provisions of Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).

The AEC conducted a series of tests usually undertaken as part of the initial consideration of an application for registration as a political party. On 11 November 2008, the delegate of the AEC issued a notice to the LNP under s.131 of the Electoral Act noting the following two shortcomings in the application:

  • the application was made by the Party Secretary, but that office did not appear to be the 'secretary' of the LNP as required by section 126(1)(a)(i) and defined in section 123 of the Electoral Act; and
  • no party constitution had been lodged as required by section 126(2)(f) of the Electoral Act.

The notice sought a written response either asking the AEC to vary the application to include the required amendments, or to proceed with the application for registration in its current form. On 11 December 2008, the LNP asked that its application be amended as set out in their response which satisfied the concerns expressed by the delegate.

The LNP's application was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette and in 10 newspapers circulating in the various states and territories on Wednesday, 14 January 2009, as required by section 132(1) of the Electoral Act. No objections were received by Monday 16 February 2009, the close of the period allowed.

Test of relevant legal provisions

The legal provisions relevant for the application were sections 4, 123, 124, 126, 129, 132, 132A and 133 of the Electoral Act. An extract of the relevant provisions is on the AEC's website at: http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/Party_Registration/files/decisions/cea_extracts_party_reg.pdf.

The reader should consult this extract at the link above to see a copy of the legal provisions applied in the tests below.

Political party

The LNP met the provisions set out in section 4 of the Electoral Act in that it is an organisation based on a constitution that has an objective of promoting the election to Federal Parliament of candidates endorsed by the LNP.

The LNP passed the test of being a political party.

Application

The application conformed to the requirements in section 126 of the Electoral Act, in that it satisfies each of the elements set out in that section. The LNP applied for registration as a parliamentary party. The Hon Warren Truss MP declared that he was a member of the LNP and sponsored its application as a parliamentary party.

The LNP passed the test of its application satisfying the technical provisions of s.126.

Secretary

The application was made by the State Director, who is the 'secretary' of the LNP as defined in section 123 of the Electoral Act. The LNP's constitution defines the role of the secretary in detail in section V.28 while describing the role of the State Director.

The LNP passed the test of having a secretary as defined in the Electoral Act.

Membership

An application by a parliamentary party needs to be supported by evidence that the party has a member currently in the Federal Parliament. The Hon Warren Truss MP signed a declaration that he is a member of the LNP in support of the LNP's application for registration.

The LNP passed the membership test.

Constitution

The Party's constitution as at 6 October 2007 contains the following matters relevant to registration:

  • an aim of promoting candidates for election to the Federal Parliament;
  • a secretary with a well defined role; and
  • membership criteria.

The LNP passed this test.

Party name

There are numerous branches of the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia registered at federal, state and territory level thereby creating the situation that the LNP must be a party related to those parties under s.123 of the Electoral Act or its name may be prohibited for registration under the provisions of s.129 of the Electoral Act.

The LNP application stated that it is a party related to the Liberal Party of Australia and accompanying correspondence advised that it is also a party related to the National Party of Australia. The LNP constitution confirms it is related to both the Liberal and National Parties. The LNP application was accompanied by letters from the Federal Directors of both the Liberal and National Parties confirming that the merger of their two state branches to form the LNP resulted in the LNP being the Queensland branch of each party. The websites of the Liberal and National Parties each link to the LNP as their Queensland branch.

As this is the first time the AEC has received an application for registration from a party claiming to be related to two parties which are not related to each other, the AEC sought external legal advice as to whether, under the definition of related parties set out in s.123 of the Electoral Act, a party can be related to two unrelated parties. The advice was that s.123 does not prevent that relationship.

The AEC is satisfied that the LNP is related to both the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia and the application passed the prohibited name test.

Objections

No written submissions were received objecting to the Party's application for registration.

Conclusion

The Liberal National Party of Australia is eligible for registration and its details have now been entered in the Register of Political Parties.

Paul Dacey
Deputy Electoral Commissioner
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission
18 February 2009

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