File reference: Reg5190, 13/454
The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the Stop CSG Party should be registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
Each application to enter a political party in the Register of Political Parties is assessed against the requirements in Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act).
On 28 May 2013, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) received an application from the Stop CSG Party (the Party) to be registered as a political party under the Act. The Party proposed to register the abbreviation 'Stop CSG'.
The AEC conducted a series of tests usually undertaken as part of the initial consideration of an application. On 7 June 2013, a delegate found that the Party's application fulfilled the eligibility requirements of the Act and approved the advertisement of the Party's application for public input. On 12 June 2013, the application was advertised on the AEC website and in 10 newspapers achieving coverage throughout Australia as required by s.132 of the Act.
Section 132 of the Act provides one month from the date of advertisement for any person (or organisation) to submit written particulars of grounds for their belief that the application:
Eligibility of a political party is determined by the definition of 'political party' in s.4 of the Act and the definition of 'eligible political party' in s.123 of the Act.
Eight objections were received by the closing date of 12 July 2013, and each raised similar issues. Collectively, the objections made the following claims:
None of the objections offered evidence to support these claims.
The objections claimed that the Party's membership list was illegitimate, as members believed they were signing a petition and they were not charged membership fees.
The AEC performed tests on the Party's membership list both by checking against the electoral roll and contacting a random sample of members to confirm their membership of the Party. The AEC was satisfied that the Party had 500 members on the Commonwealth electoral Roll. No new evidence has been submitted to question the legitimacy of the tests.
The Act does not require membership fees to be charged for an elector to become a member of a political party, and it is therefore not relevant whether or not the Party charged membership fees.
The objections claimed that Gordon Fraser-Quick is also a member of the Australian Greens, thereby violating subsection 126(1)(b) in conjunction with subsection 126(2A) of the Act.
Subsection 126(2A) does not prevent one person being a member of more than one political party, but it does prevent more than one party relying on the same elector for registration. The Australian Greens is registered as a Parliamentary party, which means it relies on one or more parliamentarians for registration instead of 500 members.
Gordon Fraser-Quick is not relied upon by the Australian Greens for registration. The registration of the Stop CSG Party is therefore is not prevented by subsection 126(2A).
The objections claimed that the Party's name and constitution do not adequately describe the Party's policies and objectives, and that this should preclude the Party from achieving registration.
The Act does not regulate the extent to which a party's name must represent its policies. Likewise, the Act does not mandate the extent to which a party's constitution must outline its policy platforms.
The AEC performed tests on the Party's constitution and was satisfied that it fulfilled the requirements of the Act. Included in this constitution was the Party's aim of endorsing candidates for election to the Senate. The objections did not provide evidence to contradict this aim.
The objections claimed that the Party has a relationship with the Australian Greens which it has failed to disclose to the public through its application. No evidence was provided to support this claim.
Subsection 129(1)(da) of the Act states that a party's name shall be refused if it:
(da) is one that a reasonable person would think suggests that a connection or relationship exists between the party and a registered party if that connection or relationship does not in fact exist.
The Act does not require a party to disclose any connections or relationships which may or may not exist with any other party. The Act instead prohibits names which falsely imply a connection or relationship with another party. Names which do not imply connections or relationships with other parties do not invoke the prohibited name clause in subsection 129(1)(da).
The delegate of the AEC registered the Party as set out below.
Notice under section 133(1A)(a)
On 23 July 2013, as a delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission for the purposes of Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, I entered the following party in the Register of Political Parties.
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission