Fifteen parties are registered to contest the 2023 NSW election on 25 March including two that have undergone late name changes.
The rules in NSW for registering political parties were substantially toughened after the farcical “tablecloth” ballot paper at the 1999 Legislative Council election.
NSW parties require 750 members for registration, and all members relied upon for registration must provide a signed Declaration of Party Membership, a substantially tougher requirement than is necessary to register a Federal party. Parties must also pay a $2,000 fee and provide substantial detail on the workings of their constitution. Parties also undergo reviews to ensure they maintain the required membership.
Importantly for the coming election, NSW requires parties be registered for 12 months before they can access to the benefits of party registration. The main benefits registration gains are the ability to centrally nominate candidates, and having a party name printed next to party candidates on ballot papers.
So the 15 names listed inside this post are the only parties eligible to have their names printed on ballot papers for the 25 March election.
There are 11 registered parties that also contested the 2019 election –
- Labor Party
- Liberal Party
- National Party
- The Greens
- Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party
- Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
- Liberal Democrats
- Animal Justice Party
- Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment / Corruption
- Socialist Alliance
- Small Business Party
Two parties that contested last year’s Federal election are now registered for NSW elections –
- Informed Medical Options Party (IMOP)
- Legalise Cannabis NSW Party
There are also two registered parties that have undergone double name changes since 2019.
- Public Education Party – was the Voluntary Euthanasia Party in 2019, became the NSW branch of the Reason Party and has now been re-named the Public Education Party.
- Elizabeth Farrelly Independents – was Keep Sydney Open in 2019, became the Open Party, and has now adopted a new name to support architecture critic and former SMH columnist Elizabeth Farrelly’s campaign for the Legislative Council.
At previous elections parties could not change their names in the 12 months before the election. I presume the new Electoral Act in force since 2019 permits changes in party name before an election. This is as well for Farrelly who would have had little chance of election without a party name above-the-line on the Legislative Council ballot paper.
Five parties that contested the 2019 election are no longer registered –
- Advance Australia Party
- Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) – was de-registered after a major internal split led to court action that disbanded the party.
- Australian Conservatives
- Country Labor (a branch of the Australian Labor Party)
88 year-old Fred Nile has served in the Legislative Council since 1981, apart from a brief departure in 2004 to unsuccessfully contest that year’s Senate election. He announced his decision to retire in 2022. His second wife Sylvana Nile will head an Independent Christian ticket in an attempt to continue his work.
In 2021 Nile had announced he would retire from the Legislative Council and be replaced by Lyle Shelton, former head of the Australian Christian Lobby. The planned replacement never tool place and more recently Shelton has been National Director of the newly revived Family First Party. Shelton has announced he will lead an Independent group contesting the Legislative Council election as Family First has not been registered for NSW election.