How’s this for a lovely little piece of
hypocrisy over party registation rules in Victoria. Left stalwart Pete
Steedman stood up at Saturday’s vicious ALP state conference on
Saturday and declared that if all the bogus members were removed from
the ALP membership lists, only about 4,000 of the claimed 15,000 names
would be left and 3,000 of them would be over 60 years old.

With
71% of all ALP members in Victoria on some sort of concessional rate,
there’s clearly a lot of rorting going on. After Saturday’s performance
you can expect these numbers will drop off in the coming days as the
ALP membership cycle in Victoria expires at the end of May and many
will choose not to renew.

But as the ruling party in Victoria,
the ALP has decided to make it a lot tougher for minor parties to enter
and stay in the game as proportional representation beckons in the
Upper House at next year’s state election.

Legislation currently
passing through State Parliament will give Victoria one of the most
onerous political party registration systems of any state. A minor
party must have 500 members on the Victorian electoral role who each
sign a declaration and send it back to the Victorian Electoral
Commission.

The effect of this rule is that a small party will
have to have about 800 members, as we all know how difficult it would
be to get 500 people to receive a snail mail invitation and
successfully sign it and send it back. The contrast with the Federal
system is stark, as the Australian Electoral Commission also requires
500 members but only tests this by calling a small sample of them at
home.

Political parties are so on the nose at the moment that
finding 800 members in Victoria will be a hard ask for the likes of the
Democrats and Family First. Not only do new parties have to do this to
get registered, parties without an MP have to satisfy this requirement
every electoral cycle.

The VEC currently has this list of registered minor political parties on its website:

Abolish Child Support and Family Court
Australian Democrats (Victorian Division)
Australian Greens (Victorian Division)
Australian Reform Party
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
Citizens Electoral Council (Victorian Division)
Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia
Hope Party Victoria Ethics Equality Ecology
One Nation (Victoria)
Shooters Party (Victoria)
Socialist Alliance (Victoria)

But this is already out of date as four parties have been deregistered
in recent months for not standing candidates at the 2002 election. They
are Abolish Child Support and Family Court, Australian Reform Party,
One Nation and the Shooters Party.

A
further six parties which averaged less than 4% in the seats they
contested have been challenged to come up with 500 members on the
Victorian electoral role. It was a struggle for some but the Democrats,
DLP, Socialist Alliance, CEC and CDP managed to do this in recent
months. Hope Party only came up with 300 names and have been given
until June 30 to reach the 500 or they will be deregistered.

Legislation
introduced by Attorney General Rob Hulls promises to make life ever
tougher for minor parties because it requires every registered party to
prove they still have 500 members on the Victorian electoral roll at
the mid-point of each four year electoral cycle.

That will be an
ongoing challenge for everyone except Labor, Liberal, National and the
Greens. How ironic that the ALP is creating large barriers to entry for
potential competitors by insisting on such rules at a time when its own
massively inflated membership base is being exposed for the rorted and
corrupt system of factional power and privilege that it really is.

Political
parties are so on the nose at the moment, courtesy of the Labor-Liberal
duopoly, that many minor parties find it very difficult to attract
members.