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Which national government deregistered 19 political parties over Christmas?

"On 22 December 2006, the delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission wrote to the following political parties to advise them they would be deregistered on 27 December 2006, as required by Schedule 3 of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006..."

- Media release, Australian Electoral Commission, 22.12.06

Yes, Australia.

Federal Parliament passed legislation during 2006 which provided for the "automatic deregistration of all political parties" six months after the Act received Royal Assent (which happened on 27 June 2006). Parties would only avoid automatic deregistration by exemption, if they:

  • have a member in the current Commonwealth Parliament and have been reviewed by the Australian Electoral Commission as being eligible for registration during the life of the current Parliament; or
  • had a member elected to a previous Commonwealth Parliament and by 25 September 2006 submitted a successful claim for exemption from deregistration on that basis with the required evidence in support.

The full list of deregistered parties is contained on the AEC media release. Some of these have current representation in State legislatures (eg., the Shooters Party and the Christian Democratic Party both have representatives in the NSW Legislative Council), while in some cases state divisions of parties that have members in federal parliament have been deregistered (eg, the Queensland Greens).

Let's go back to that timeframe over which the nineteen parties were informed of their deregistration. The AEC wrote to them on Friday, December 22. The 23rd and 24th were the weekend. Monday 25th was Christmas Day, Tuesday 26th was Boxing Day. Wednesday 27th, the day of deregistration, was the first working day after the date the AEC issued those notices.

Goodness me, Australia Post would have still been delivering Christmas cards!

According to the AEC, deregistered parties can re-apply for registration, and "must comply with the current requirements in the Electoral Act, including the naming provisions". They have until 27 June 2007 to do so to avoid the $500 application fee.

More about those requirements, and some other democratic advancements contained within the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006, in a future posting.