Australian Electoral Commission agrees to “Sex Party”

– a political party, that is!

From The Register:

It’s official: the Australian Sex Party (ASP) is now a bona fide political party, entitled to appear on the ballot paper, raise funds and even – if they gain more than four percent of the primary vote – eligible for public funding.

This follows a long drawn-out tussle with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), after several members of the public claimed that the Party’s name was obscene. In a five-page minute (pdf) that carefully explored the precise meaning of the concept of obscenity and how it related to the electoral process, the AEC decided that the various objections received to the registration of the ASP were outside the grounds on which a refusal might be made.

They did, however, consider objections that the ASP name invoked “orgiastic notions”, with a full analysis of the case and statute law surrounding the subject.

The AEC found that the name itself was unlikely to “deprave or corrupt” voters – the touchstone test for obscenity in both the UK and Australia. They were also swayed by the fact that the party membership forms state that “Sex is deeply rooted in the lives of all Australians. It is relevant to hundreds of pieces of legislation made around the country”, as well as a message instructing members to “Vote 1 for personal freedom and sexual rights”.

In an outbreak of establishment common sense, the AEC therefore ruled: “The name was most likely selected because of the substance and subject matter of many of the party’s key policies, such as the legalisation of marriage for same sex couples, the introduction of sex education into schools, and the listing of drugs used to treat sexual dysfunction on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.”

The Canadian Sex Party – the first of its kind – received 2% of the vote in Canada’s provincial elections in May this year. And single-issue parties such as the Pirate Party with versions in the UK and the rest of Europe, are growing in popularity.

A search for “sex” in the UK Electoral Commissions register of political parties so far only returns the Wessex Regionalists. But with registration with the Electoral Commission costing only £150, are we likely to see a similar party setting up in the UK?

In the UK, independents and single-issue parties are currently less likely to hold the balance of power than their Australian equivalents. How should the Liberal Democrats appeal to would-be voters of such parties, whether Pirate, Sex or those Wessex Regionalists?

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and News.
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