FAQs: Party Registration – recent changes to the Electoral Act

Updated: 15 November 2021

Electoral Legislation Amendment (Party Registration Integrity) Act 2021

In summary, changes were made to Part XI of the Electoral Act in relation to party registration including:

  • membership requirements for non-Parliamentary parties
  • party names and abbreviations
  • party logos
  • objections to existing parties.

Details of the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Party Registration Integrity) Act 2021 can be found on the Party registration guidance page.

Further information detailing the changes to Part XI of the Electoral Act are in the Table of legislation changes to Part XI of the Electoral Act.

The amendments to the Electoral Act under the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Party Registration Integrity) Act 2021, are published in Part XI of the Electoral Act.

The AEC created a Table of changes to Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to provide clarity and to incorporate some of the additional information provided in the Explanatory Memorandum.

For a non-Parliamentary party to maintain registration, it will be required to have at least 1,500 members (increased from at least 500 members). Compliance is required by 2 December 2021 (3 months after Royal Assent).

After that time, the AEC will contact non-Parliamentary parties to review eligibility.

Parties can use the Check My Enrolment facility available on the AEC website to check enrolment status of members.

The AEC also provides kiosks in AEC offices. Access to AEC offices continues to vary in line with local COVID-19 health restrictions across the country.

Yes, the party needs to lodge a membership list of between 1,500 and 1,650 members as part of its application. The AEC requires parties to choose a maximum of 1,650 members for the membership list included with its application. The AEC will return an application accompanied by a list in excess of 1,650 members and ask the party to lodge the membership list again with between 1,500 and 1,650 members.

The party needs to lodge a membership list of between 1,500 and 1,650 members as part of its application. The membership list needs to contain information that appears on the Electoral Roll:

  • each member’s full name,
  • residential address and
  • date of birth as it appears on the Electoral Roll.

To allow the processing of a party’s application to proceed quickly, email and telephone contacts should be included for each member. Failure to provide comprehensive contact details for members may delay processing the application.

The membership testing process is explained in Appendix 2 of the Guide for registering a party, including assessing the following:

  • Number of names provided
  • Members are on the Electoral Roll
  • Members are unique (not duplicates within the party or in other parties).

In addition, a random sample of members are contacted to confirm their membership status.

Party names cannot be frivolous or vexatious. This is intended to include party names or abbreviations that are nonsensical or are malicious in their application. This would include, for example, an applicant seeking to register ‘Australian Electoral Commission’, or ‘Australian Government’ as a political party.

Parties will not be allowed to be registered if they include a word which is part of the name or abbreviation of an already registered political party (without that party’s consent). Some exceptions apply for function words, collective nouns for people, the name of a country (including the word “country”, or a recognised geographical place) and the word “democratic”.

Further information detailing the changes to party names is in the Table of legislation changes to Part XI of the Electoral Act.

Parties will not be allowed to register a logo if it includes a word which is part of the name or abbreviation of an already registered political party (without that party’s consent). Some exceptions apply for function words, collective nouns for people, the name of a country (including the word “country”, or a recognised geographical place) and the word “democratic”.

Yes, the registered officer of an earlier registered party may submit an objection to the continued registration of a second party’s name, abbreviation or logo.

The grounds for an objection made by the registered officer are:

  • the party was registered before the second party; and
  • the party has in its name, or the abbreviation of its name, a word contained in the name, abbreviation or logo of the second party.

Further information detailing the changes to party names is in the Table of legislation changes to Part XI of the Electoral Act.

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