Application for registration approved – Stop CSG Party

Updated: 24 July 2013

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.

Background

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.

Content of the objections

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:

  • does not relate to an eligible political party;
  • is not in accordance with s.126 of the Act; or
  • should be refused under s.129 of the Act.

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:

  • The members listed on the Party's membership list were not actually members of the Party, as no membership fee had been charged;
  • The registered officer of the Party, Gordon Fraser-Quick, is a member of the Australian Greens and therefore cannot be a member of the Stop CSG Party;
  • The Party's name and constitution do not adequately express the Party's policies;
  • The Party had been created by the Australian Greens for the purposes of directing preferences;
  • The Party's name does not imply a relationship with another party, when one exists; and
  • The Party does not have an aim of endorsing candidates for Federal elections for the House of Representatives or the Senate.

None of the objections offered evidence to support these claims.

Issues

Membership list

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.

Gordon Fraser-Quick's membership of the Australian Greens

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).

Party's name and constitution

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.

Purported relationship with the Australian Greens

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).

Conclusion

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.

Name of party:
Stop CSG Party
Abbreviation of name:
Stop CSG
Registered Officer:
Gordon Graham Fraser-Quick
25 Charles Street
South Lismore NSW 2480
Does party seek election funding:
yes

(signed)

Sue Sayer

Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission

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