Registration of The Climate Sceptics

Updated: 4 January 2011

File reference: Reg3730

The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the The Climate Sceptics should be registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Background

On 2 November 2009, the AEC received an application from The Climate Sceptics for registration as a federal political party under the provisions of the Electoral Act.

On 6 May 2010 the delegate determined that the party had passed its initial consideration for party 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 document on the AEC 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 (s4);
  • be eligible for registration (s123), that is have at least 500 members eligible to be on the electoral roll, that have not been relied upon for registration by another political party;
  • make application for registration in the manner prescribed in s126;  and
  • propose a name and optional abbreviation for registration that are not prohibited by s129.

Application of relevant legal provisions

Political Party

The Party has a constitution, which sets up an organisation with established principles. The constitution enunciates its objectives by endorsing candidates to contest federal elections.

The party has its own phone number, as well as a physical address, a postal address and an active website.

FAD assessed the Party as meeting the test of being a political party under s4 of Electoral Act.

Application

FAD assessed the application against the technical requirements in s126(1)(b) and s126(2) of the Act, as listed above. The application by The Climate Sceptics was submitted on the standard form made publicly available on the AEC website. The application set out the name and abbreviation of the party, includes the details of the registered officer and included a list of 500 member names. It was also signed by 10 members of the party, including the secretary.

Secretary

The role of Party Secretary was not described in the Party's constitution. Article III states at paragraph B(5) that the secretary provides the required notice, minutes and attendance records. More detail was required to align the definition with that given in s123 of the Electoral Act of the person responsible for the administration and for the conduct of correspondence of the party. The party was advised in correspondence sent by the AEC that it should amend its constitution to define the position of secretary so that it reflects the definition in s123.

The Party submitted a revised constitution on 14 May 2010 that defines the secretary in line with s123 of the Electoral Act.

Membership

Section 123 of the Electoral Act requires a non-parliamentary party to have at least 500 members who are entitled to enrolment. 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.

The Climate Sceptics membership testing results

The sample size of members to be contacted during the membership testing was 36 from the 533 members provided by The Climate Sceptics. From the 36 people with whom contact was obtained, 35 people confirmed that they were members of The Climate Sceptics. These results are sufficient to demonstrate that The Climate Sceptics has more than 500 members.

Enrolment check of membership list

FAD provides the membership list of each political party applying for registration to the Enrolment Section for a check of which members appear or have appeared on the electoral roll at some point.

When the original membership list submitted by The Climate Sceptics with its application for registration was checked against the electoral roll, the number of people for whom no match could be found reduced the party membership list to below the minimum required under s123(1)(a)(ii). The secretary of the party, Mr Anthony Cox, was informed of this by the Acting Registrar of Political Parties in correspondence sent on 13 April 2010 (Attachment C). Mr Cox submitted a revised membership list on 27 April 2010 against which another enrolment check was performed. The results returned in the second instance indicated that The Climate Sceptics has in excess of 500 members that are eligible to appear on the electoral roll.

Constitution

The party provided a reasonably detailed constitution with its application.

The party's constitution states the endorsement of candidates at a federal election as one of its objectives. It includes significant detail in relation to the structure of the party. It also discusses the terms and conditions of membership of the party in significant detail.

The constitution mentions that the secretary is responsible for calling Annual General Meetings and Special General Meetings and that it must take the minutes of meetings of the National Council.

The Climate Sceptics was advised in correspondence from the AEC that it should amend its constitution to define the secretary in line with the roles described for the office in s123 of the Electoral Act as the person responsible for the 'administration and for the conduct of the correspondence of the party'.

As above, the Party submitted a revised constitution on 14 May 2010 that defines the secretary in line with s123 of the Electoral Act.

Party name

Section 129 prohibits the registration of parties with certain names. Specifically, the name shall not be approved if any of the following conditions are met. That it:

  • is more than six words;
  • is perceived to be obscene;
  • is 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 resembles 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;
  • is one that a reasonable person would think suggests a connection or relationship with another registered political party, if that relationship does not exist;
  • is comprised of the words 'Independent Party';
  • is comprised of, or contains, the word 'Independent', and the name, abbreviation or acronym of a recognised political party; or
  • is 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 name sought is 'The Climate Sceptics' and the abbreviation sought is 'T.C.S'. The Funding and Disclosure Section has checked the Federal Register of Political Parties and that of each State and Territory and there is not a political party with the name 'The Climate Sceptics' registered in any state or territory. FAD considers that the proposed name and abbreviation do not invoke any of the prohibitions in s129.

Objections

No objections to the registration of The Climate Sceptics were received by the closing date.

Conclusion

I am satisfied the Party is an eligible political party under s123 of the Electoral Act.

The Climate Sceptics is registered.

Sue Sayer
Director, Funding and Disclosure
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission

June 2010

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