File reference: Reg5390, 13/399
The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the application to register the Liberal Movement under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 should be refused.
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).
The Liberal Movement's (the Party's) first application for registration was refused on 1 July 2013 because the Party had been unable to demonstrate that it had at least 500 members on the electoral roll.
On 17 July 2013 the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) received a second application from the Party.
On 5 August 2013 the writs for the 2013 federal election were issued before AEC staff had briefed a delegate of the AEC on the results of the initial assessment of the Party's second application.
Section 127 of the Act prohibits any action being taken on an application for party registration in the period commencing on the day of the issue of a writ for a federal election and finishing on the day of the return of that writ. The Party was advised on 4 August 2013 about the delay caused by the issue of the writs. As soon as the last 2013 federal election writ was returned on 6 November 2013, AEC staff put this matter before a delegate of the AEC who issued the notice under s.131 of the Act described above.
On 7 November 2013, the AEC issued a notice under s.131 of the Electoral Act advising the Party that it had failed initial testing mainly because too many electors had denied membership of the Party when contacted.
On 26 November 2013, the Party responded to the notice with a revised membership list and other amendments to its application.
Section 123 of the Electoral Act requires a non-Parliamentary party to have at least 500 members on the electoral roll before the party is eligible for registration.
To ascertain whether the submitted members are on the electoral roll, the membership list is first checked against a database of the electoral roll using automatic matching software. Manual matches are conducted by AEC staff to account for typographical and data errors such as minor misspelling in names or incorrectly formatted dates of birth.
AEC staff then contact a random sample of members to ensure that those members will confirm that they are members of the party applying for registration. The random sample is drawn from the membership list in accordance with advice from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The membership testing table can be found at Appendix 3 of the AEC's Party Registration Guide.
The AEC's test of the revised membership list indicated that 533 members could be identified on the electoral roll. AEC staff contacted a random sample of 38 members, but 12 of these people denied being members of the Party, leaving only 26 members (68%) confirming that they were members of the Party.
The 12 denials were too many for the AEC to be satisfied that the Party had the 500 enrolled members necessary to be eligible for registration.
After the Party's second application failed the initial assessment, including failing a membership test, the Party provided an updated list of members. The AEC tested a random sample from the updated membership list, but again too many electors in the random sample denied being members of the Party for the AEC to be satisfied that the Party is eligible for registration.
On 19 December 2013, as a delegate of the AEC under ss.126(3), 129(1), 132A(1) and 133(3) of the Act, I refused the application for registration as a political party under the provisions of Part XI of the Electoral Act.
A/g Director Registration and Disclosure
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission