If you have a sexy name, you’re invited to the party
FRUSTRATED by the NSW Parliament, which has made it virtually impossible for the Australian Sex Party to be registered for the state election, its convenor Fiona Patten has hit upon a unique strategy.
White Pages in hand, Patten is currently actively seeking at least 15 people in NSW who have the word “sex” in their name – Sexton, Sexsmith and so on.
If she can find enough, and if they agree with Sex Party policies, this will enable the group to form a ticket for the NSW Upper House even though the Sex Party has been denied an above-the-line name and box.
Patten and her Canberra-based helpmate, Robbie Swan of the Eros Foundation, told me they have already had some inquiries from citizens in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong whose surnames fit the bill, including one or two from the Sex Party’s 3000-strong membership base.
When Patten approached the NSW Electoral Commission in November 2009 to register the Australian Sex Party for the state election, she felt sure it was a goer. After all, she’d managed to steer through the unpredictable waters of the AEC and get it registered to contest the 2010 federal election within six months.
But NSW bureaucrats told Patten her application was already too late. Also, instead of needing 500 signed up members, she was told she’d need 750 in NSW.
This situation is, Patten claims, the result of an agreement by the major parties to lock out competition.
By comparison, Victoria’s system requires 500 signed-up members and there’s no time limit on when a party can register as long as it’s before the calling of writs. New political parties in Victoria have been registered well within a six-month period.
Patten and the Australian Sex Party are not taking this lying down. Neither, she says, will other citizens concerned with fairness who will now see this hijacking of the system as something to get around or out-manoeuvre.
With Patten coming within a few hundred votes of winning an Upper House seat in the recent Victorian election and her party raising its vote from 2.2 per cent in the federal election to close to 4 per cent, she has shown that it is neither single-issue based nor a joke.
And if Patten’s innovative scheme works, participatory democracy and electoral fairness could be the real winner.
The Daily Telegraph, December 30, 2010