How to register a party logo – advice to political parties

Updated: 23 March 2016

Recent amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) provide that political parties currently on the Register of Political Parties (the Register) and new political parties applying for party registration, may lodge a logo for approval by the Electoral Commission. The Act allows political parties with an approved logo entered in the Register to have their party logo appear adjacent to their candidate names on the House of Representatives ballot paper and for no more than two logos to appear adjacent to their party or group name above the line on the Senate ballot paper.

Note: Timelines for applications to register a party logo

  • For currently registered political parties seeking to register their party logo (Change to the Register application), the minimum time required to process these applications is six weeks.
  • For new party applications the minimum time required is 12 weeks.

This includes the legislated advertising period of one month for individuals and organisations to lodge an objection.

Interim lodging process for political parties to register a party logo

The following information is for political parties who would like to include a request to register a party logo in their application to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). This process applies to both currently registered parties (Change to the Register application), and to new parties applying for registration who are seeking to register a logo.

Prepare application forms and additional materials as per the Party Registration Guide.

  1. Currently registered parties and new political parties applying for registration should:
  2. Parties submitting applications should telephone the AEC on 02 6271 4552 to ensure that their application has been received.
  3. The AEC will confirm receipt of a party's application via email when all components have been received.
  4. Logo validation: If the logo is compliant with the specifications set out in the legislative instrument, consideration of the application proceeds.
  5. Logo not validated: If the logo is not compliant with the specifications set out in the legislative instrument, the AEC will contact the party providing details of non-compliance. The party's application is set aside until the logo is resubmitted or the application withdrawn.
  6. Advertising not approved: If the Electoral Commission determines that the party has not satisfied the requirements for initial consideration under the Act a s.131 Notice will be issued, requiring the party to vary all or part of their application. The party can respond to the Notice and vary their application or ask the Electoral Commission to consider their application as it stands. If a variation is submitted the steps above will be repeated. If the party chooses not to vary their application the delegate of the Electoral Commission will then make a determination based on the original application.
  7. Proceed to advertising: After the application has passed initial consideration (including validating the logo) the AEC will advertise the party's application. Individuals and organisations have a period of one month to provide written objections to the AEC if they believe that the party should not be registered because, under the Act:
    • the application does not relate to an eligible political party
    • the application is not in accordance with section 126 (including because subsection 126(2B) would be contravened); or
    • the application should be refused under section 129; or
    • the Electoral Commission should refuse to enter a logo of the party in the Register under section 129A.
    The applicant party has the right of response to objections received that address the grounds above.
  8. After advertising: The delegate of the Electoral Commission will make a determination regarding the full application including objections and the party's response.
  9. Decisions made by the delegate are reviewable. The applicant party or persons or organisations affected by the decision, have 28 days to provide a written submission to the Electoral Commission requesting a review of the delegate's decision.

Logo selection

Limitations in choice

Section 129A of the Electoral Act provides for certain party logos not to be entered in the Register.

The Electoral Commission may refuse to enter in the Register a logo of a political party if, in its opinion, the applicant's logo:

  1. is obscene; or
  2. is the logo of any other person; or
  3. so nearly resembles the logo of any other person that it is likely to be confused with or mistaken for that logo; or
  4. is one that a reasonable person would think suggests that a connection or relationship exists between the applicant and a registered political party if that connection or relationship does not in fact exist; or
  5. comprises the words "Independent Party" or comprises or contains the word "Independent" and:
    1. the name, or an abbreviation or acronym of the name, of a recognised political party (within the meaning of 18 subsection 129(2)); or
    2. matter that so nearly resembles the name, or an abbreviation or acronym of the name, of a recognised political party (within the meaning of subsection 129(2)) that the matter is likely to be confused with or mistaken for that name or that abbreviation or acronym, as the case may be.