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Tuesday, 28 April 1987
Page: 1867

Senator REYNOLDS —I address my question to the Special Minister of State. Has the Australian Electoral Commission received an application for registration of the Queensland Premier's new political party? Is the Minister able to report whether the chosen name, `New Nationals', would be eligible for registration under the Commonwealth Electoral Act, section 129 (d)? Does the Minister have any information that suggests that there would be objections to the official registration of the `New Nationals', and would the new party be eligible for public funding?

Senator TATE —The Australian Electoral Commission has not received any application for registration of a political party under the aegis of the Queensland Premier. I cannot say whether any such party under the title `New Nationals' would be registered as it is not for me to make that decision. The registration of political parties under the Commonwealth Electoral Act is delegated to the Australian Electoral Commissioner and subject to an advertising process and an appeal process that could go on for some time. Senator Reynolds will be aware that when such advertisement occurs-for example, putting forward the chosen name `New Nationals'-any party could object. That would probably be on the ground that such a new name would unfairly impact on an existing political party-obviously, the National Party of Australia-by engendering some confusion in the electorate. The new name would be so similar to that of an existing party that it could create confusion. That would probably be the ground on which an objection would be taken to the name `New Nationals'. As for the question of public funding of such a party, I would have to look at that in a little more detail rather than give an opinion off the cuff.