Contents

Year in review

AEC overview

Report on performance: Outcome 1

Report on performance: Outcome 2

Report on performance: Outcome 3

Management and accountability

Appendices

References

Financial statements

Program 2.2 – Party registrations

Updated: 30 November 2010

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The Register of Political Parties is maintained by the AEC, as required by the Electoral Act. The AEC receives and processes applications for registration and for changes to the details contained in the register. It also regularly reviews parties' continuing eligibility for registration.

Overview

Registration of a political party under Part XI of the Electoral Act enables:

  • the party name or abbreviation to be included on the ballot papers for endorsed candidates and Senate groups
  • the party to nominate its candidates over the signature of its registered officer, rather than the signatures of 50 eligible electors from each electorate
  • a bulk nomination of a party's endorsed House of Representatives candidates to the Australian Electoral Officer in a capital city office (instead of separate nominations to each divisional returning officer at their divisional office)
  • parties (instead of the candidates themselves) to receive public funding in respect of their endorsed candidates who poll at least 4 percent of votes
  • the AEC to identify parties required to submit annual financial disclosure returns for public inspection
  • parties to receive enrolment and election information.

The AEC receives and processes applications for registration and for changes to the details contained in the Register of Political Parties.

The AEC also reviews each party's continuing eligibility for registration, once in the life of each parliament. The most recent reviews of eligibility of all registered political parties to remain on the federal register commenced in August 2009.

The review process effectively operates as a 're-registration' mechanism. A party must submit all materials required for an initial application for registration (bar the application form). The AEC assesses the party constitution and conducts the approved test of the party membership list to ascertain whether the party still meets all legislative requirements for registration.

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Performance

Table 21 summarises the AEC's results against the performance information set out for Program 2.2 in the 2009–10 Portfolio Budget Statements.

Table 21 Program 2.2 – Party registrations: performance results
Key performance indicators Targets Results

Party registration applications processed

Party registration processed in accordance with legislation

All applications were processed in accordance with the Electoral Act.

Party Register is updated in a timely manner

On 1 July 2009, there were seven outstanding applications carried over from 2008–09. The AEC received 20 party applications during 2009–10 and completed the processing of 19 applications.

On 30 June 2010, there were eight applications carried over for completion in 2010–11.

The AEC carried over one application to change the registered officer from 2008–09 and received 25 during 2009–10. Twenty-five applications were processed in 2009–10 and one received on 30 June 2010 was carried over to 2010–11.

Applications related to party registration and change of name

Twenty applications to register a political party, de-register a political party, change a registered name or seek a review of a delegate's decision were lodged in 2009–10. This was an increase of seven compared to the total for 2008–09. The number of new registration applications significantly increased because a federal election was approaching.

On 30 June 2010, the AEC carried over seven applications to register a political party plus one application for change of name, to be finalised in 2010–11.

During 2009–10, the AEC conducted its regular cyclical review of registered parties. As a result:

  • 42 registrations were confirmed
  • five parties sought voluntary deregistration
  • four parties were deregistered for failing to respond to the notice of intention to deregister
  • two reviews awaiting responses from the parties were carried over to 2010–11.

Four out of the five applications for voluntary deregistration were prompted by AEC requests that registered parties provide evidence that they continued to be eligible for registration.

The registration of a new party name with some similarity to a party name already registered at Commonwealth, state or territory level is proving to be one of the most complex elements in assessing party registration applications. In 2009–10, the Commission considered applications for review of two decisions made by an AEC delegate to allow a party name to be registered in such a situation. They were:

  • to permit the Liberty and Democracy Party to change its name to the Liberal Democratic Party and its abbreviation to Liberal Democrats (LDP), where there were registered parties called the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Democrats
  • to permit the Communist Alliance to be registered where the Community Alliance Party (ACT) was registered under the Australian Capital Territory party registration scheme.

In both cases, the Commission affirmed the delegate's decision.

The Commission also reviewed an AEC delegate's decision to register the Australian Sex Party, in light of an application for review that argued that the name was 'obscene'. The Commission found that the name was not obscene and affirmed the delegate's decision.

Applications to update party office holder information

In 2009–10, the AEC received 25 applications to change the registered officer of a political party and processed 25. One application had been carried over from 2008–09 and one application received on 30 June 2010 was carried over to 2010–11.

The AEC also received 88 applications to change the registration of other party officials, such as deputy registered officers and party secretaries. The latter figure includes 29 applications to change party and branch agents required for the funding and disclosure scheme (described in the report on performance for Program 2.3), but processed and recorded as part of the party registration scheme.

The figures for 2009–10 are comparable with the 17 applications to change registered officers and 94 changes to other party officials in 2008–09.

Website

The Register of Political Parties is made available for public inspection on the AEC website. During 2009–10, the register was available on the website at all times and was updated as soon as registration applications were determined.