Socialist Alliance defies undemocratic barriers to submit registration

Socialist Alliance has submitted 1650 names to the AEC to maintain party registration
Socialist Alliance has submitted 1650 names to the AEC to maintain party registration

Socialist Alliance submitted a list of 1650 members to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on December 2 in order to maintain electoral registration.

We would like to thank all our members and supporters who campaigned to make this possible.

This campaign was necessary because the federal government, with ALP support, brought in undemocratic legislation in August that makes it harder for small and progressive parties to be on the ballot at election time.

Specifically, the legislation restricts the words that can be used in party names and requires all parties that are not currently represented in parliament to supply the AEC with a list of 1500 members. Previously 500 members were required for registration.

This legislation was explicitly designed to protect the major establishment parties - Labor and Liberal - who are finding it harder to win popular support due to their neo-liberal policies.

However, the restrictions are felt much more heavily by smaller progressive parties like the Socialist Alliance than right wing parties with wealthy backers like Clive Palmer's United Australia Party.

A number of progressive parties that have contested recent elections are likely to be struck from the AEC's party register. This will mean that they cannot contest elections with their party name on the ballot paper.

There are better policies - such as proportional representation, or compelling the AEC to distribute information to voters about parties running - that would make voting simpler without undermining democratic rights.

We are proud to have been able to meet this new hurdle, however, Socialist Alliance remains completely opposed to this legislation.

The AEC will go through a process of checking the Socialist Alliance's submission which is likely to take several weeks. The AEC will contact a number of party members to verify their membership. It is important for Socialist Alliance members to be alert to any messages from the AEC and to respond affirmatively if contacted.

The Socialist Alliance will be contesting the next election with senate tickets and lower house candidates preselected in WA, Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

We are calling for your vote and broader support for our election campaign. However, voting is not enough.

One danger of the federal government's attack on small parties is that this undemocratic move will be extended in other ways. The WA Labor government has already moved to amend state electoral law that will also restrict smaller parties capacity to be contest elections.

Democratic rights need to be defended primarily by public mobilisation and popular campaigns, however, the fact Socialist Alliance will remain on the ballot is one small triumph against this ALP/LNP attempt to stifle the left.

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