If you’re left-wing, you should vote for Bob Katter, signed “Super-serious left-winger”


  • James

    Here’s the response I received from the AEC after I complained to them about the use of “The Australian Party” in this article.

    I refer to your email of 18 October 2011 in which you have raised a concern about the action of Katter’s Australian Party and the apparent conduct of person’s associated with that Party in referring to it as the Australian Party. I have been asked to respond to your email on behalf of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

    The AEC is unable to take any action as you have requested as the present circumstances, including the web link attached to your email, do not disclose any breach of the requirements of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act). Let me explain the reasons for this conclusion.

    The two decisions made by the AEC on the registration of Katter’s Australian Party can be found at the following links:



    You are correct insofar as the AEC did not agree to register the abbreviation of the “Australian Party” as the AEC was concerned that its appearance on a ballot paper would be likely to confuse an elector in relation to the casting of a vote.

    The framework of the Electoral Act makes it clear that the registration of an abbreviation by the AEC only relates to its use and appearance on a ballot paper. Section 126(2)(b) refers to the application for registration by a political party shall “if the party wishes to be able to use for the purpose of this Act an abbreviation of its name – set out that abbreviation”. Under the Electoral Act the only use of registered abbreviation is on a ballot paper (see sections 169 and 210A). Accordingly, the registration of an abbreviation and the refusal to register an abbreviation only affects the information that appears on a ballot paper and does not prevent a political party using some non-registered abbreviation in other circumstances.

    Outside an election period, there is no offence contained in Part XXI of the Electoral Act that could apply to the current circumstances. Accordingly, the AEC is unable to take the action you have requested.

    However, when the writs for an election are issued, section 329 of the Electoral Act comes into operation which contains an offence where a person publishes “any matter or thing that is likely to mislead or deceive an elector in relation to the casting of a vote”.

    The AEC is aware of previous media reports indicating that the Hon Bob Katter MP proposed to continue referring to this Party as “The Australian Party” in public. This led the AEC to write to the Registered Officer of the Party on 24 August 2011 reminding him of the requirements of section 329 of the Electoral Act. In particular, the AEC remains concerned that electors will be looking for such a name of the Party on the ballot paper and will find no such name, as it cannot lawfully appear on the ballot paper unless the abbreviation has been registered with the AEC. This has the potential to mislead and confuse electors in relation to the actual act of marking a ballot paper. The AEC requested that the Registered Officer take remedial action to prevent any practice from developing within the Party that could result in criminal action being taken if that practice were to continue during an election campaign.

    I trust that the above information is of assistance.

    Yours sincerely

  • David

    Nice one!

    Have you got a copy of your email to post here? And can you ask the AEC to provide the letter they sent to Katter’s Australian Party referenced above?

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