Year in review

AEC overview

Report on performance: Program 1.1 Electoral roll management

Report on performance: Program 1.2 Election management and support services

Report on performance: Program 1.3 Education and communication

Management and accountability

Financial statements



Party registrations

Updated: 18 October 2011

On this page:

Maintain the Register of Political Parties in a way that meets the requirements of the Act and assists persons in making applications for party registration.


Registration of a political party under Part XI of the Electoral Act is not compulsory, but enables:

  • the party name or abbreviation to be printed 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 per cent of votes,
  • the AEC to identify parties required to submit annual financial disclosure returns for public inspection, and
  • parties to receive enrolment and election information in some circumstances.

The AEC maintains the Register of Political Parties required by Part XI of the Act, including by:

  • receiving and processing applications for registration and for changes to the details contained in the register,
  • reviewing each party's continuing eligibility for registration, once in the life of each parliament, and
  • maintaining the Register of Party Agents and records of other party officials, such as secretaries and deputy registered officers.


Table 17 summarises the AEC's results against the performance information set out for party registrations in the 2010–11 Portfolio Budget Statements.

Table 17 Key performance results for party registrations
Key performance indicators Results
Party registration processed in accordance with legislation and the Party Register is updated in a timely manner. Achieved. All applications were processed in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and in a timely manner.

Applications related to party registration and change of name

Seven applications to register a political party, deregister a political party, change a registered name or seek a review of a delegate's decision were lodged in 2010–11. This was a decrease of 13 compared to the total lodged in 2009–10. The likely reasons for the decrease in the number of applications for new registration were:

  • the suspension of all action on applications for party registration between the dates of the issue and the return of writs for the 2010 federal election (19 July to 17 September 2010), as required under the Act, and
  • the reduced incentive for new parties to seek registration in the remainder of 2011–12, given that the next federal election is not scheduled to occur until 2013–14.

When writs were issued for the 2010 federal election, the AEC was processing seven applications for party registration, which could not be finalised before the election. Of those applications:

  • four had been received too late for the AEC to do the necessary testing of the applications and permit the statutory requirements for registration to be completed before the issue of the writs, and
  • three were incomplete, lacking either necessary signatures or adequate lists of members to confirm the parties' eligibility for registration.

When the processing of the applications was completed, after the return of the writs, four applications were successful and three were refused because the deficiencies in the applications had not been remedied by the parties. One party has applied for review of an AEC delegate's decision to refuse the party's application for registration. The review is yet to be determined by the three AEC Commissioners.

On 30 June 2011, the AEC carried over two applications to register a political party, to be finalised in 2011–12. On 22 June 2011, the AEC advertised applications for registration from Country Alliance and Katter's Australian Party. Persons or organisations who wished to object to the registration of either party had until 22 July 2011 to lodge an objection. The AEC will consider any objections lodged and finalise the two applications in 2011–12.

The most recent regular review of the eligibility of all registered political parties to remain on the federal register commenced in August 2009 and was completed in October 2010. The AEC had carried two matters over to the 2010–11 financial year, with the following outcomes:

  • The Australian Greens – Victoria sought and was granted voluntary deregistration.
  • The Queensland Greens had an endorsed candidate elected at the 2010 federal election and therefore continues its registration as a parliamentary party.

The AEC will report in more detail on party registration matters between the 2007 and 2010 federal elections in its report under s.17(2) of the Act following the 2010 federal election. This report was being finalised at 30 June 2011 and will be tabled in parliament.

Applications to update party officeholder information

In 2010–11, the AEC received 18 applications to change the registered officer of a political party and processed 18. One application had been carried over from 2009–10 and one application received on 29 June 2011 was carried over to 2011–12.

The AEC also received 119 applications to change the records of other party officials, such as deputy registered officers and party secretaries. This figure includes 27 applications to change party and branch agents required for the funding and disclosure scheme, but processed and recorded as part of the party registration scheme.

The figures for 2010–11 are comparable with the 25 applications to change registered officers and 88 changes to other party officials received in 2009–10. The larger figure for other party officials is mainly a reflection of parties changing their deputy registered officers during nominations for the 2010 election.


The AEC publishes on its website:

  • information from the Register of Political Parties, including each registered party's name and optional abbreviation, the details of the registered officer and whether the party wishes to receive election funding,
  • the reasons for all major AEC decisions about party registration, and
  • information and forms relating to party registration.

During 2010–11, the AEC revised the Party registration guide and the forms available for applying for party registration, appointing party officials or changing a party's recorded details. The revisions make the information clearer and help participants to provide complete applications.