THE Australian Sex Party says it will vigorously appeal a de registration notice from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) handed down today.
Registered Officer and co founder of the party, Robbie Swan, said the party was shocked and amazed that from an established membership list of 6,000 people, with an elected member in the Victorian Parliament and with a legitimate claim to be the major minor party, the AEC could find that the party did not have 500 bona fide registered members.
“Since the party formed in 2009, we have had 6,000 people sign a statutory declaration on the bottom of a membership form, to say they want to be party members. Without in any way criticising the staff at the AEC or their abilities to perform the job, they are being asked to use the most ridiculous methods to determine whether 500 bona fide members exist.
“In the end, the AEC based their decision on responses they got to just 26 phone calls and four members
“The AEC had been asked to use completely outdated mathematical formulas and calculations which had little bearing on actual membership.
“The AEC needs to be funded and resourced properly so it can just go through party lists, one by one, until they either verify 500 members or they don’t. At present each party has to submit a maximum of 550 names and to try and second-guess which of these people are still living at the same address or have the same phone number or are on the electoral roll. Its OK for the major parties who have paid staff who can spend a thousands of dollars in checking through their lists to make sure they send the right 550 names but for smaller parties who do not have paid staff and no budget to track down members, they have to just randomly select 550 names and send them off.
“With the recent deregistration of the DLP and the Democrats, the federal parliament needs to make urgent changes to the way that 500 registered members were ascertained or Australia would see small parties wiped out. The system is weighted in favour of major parties and against smaller parties.
“They are gaming the system against minor parties.