Jul 18, 2013

The party’s over: which clubs have the most members?

Australia's political parties are on the nose as they desperately try to sandbag dwindling membership. Crikey has investigated which parties, teams and clubs have the most members -- and you might be surprised at the results.

Cathy Alexander — Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne


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17 thoughts on “The party’s over: which clubs have the most members?

  1. Fiona Patten

    As of yesterday the Australian Sex Party memberaship is 5,583 We don’t ask if people are members of other parties. We have been called non-monogamous in this area. We ask people to pay using the following formula:
    Short of cash $20
    Doing okay $50
    Doing well $100

  2. Paracleet

    What are those fabian terrorist warmists at AusTrek trying to hide huh?!?

  3. Scott Grant

    I joined a minor party once, now defunct. That was a pretty informal affair. A friend asked me to, because the party needed the numbers to get registered. It is the only time in my life anyone has personally invited me to join any party.

    I got serious, once, about joining one of the larger parties currently in parliament. I went through a web form, filling in details, and came to a bit that I agreed to abide by their constitution or something along those lines. I stopped to download and read the document in question. I never finished it and I never joined the party. Nowadays, I doubt I would ever again join any party because I don’t want to sign away my freedom to act and vote as I choose.

  4. Cathy Alexander

    Thank you Fiona. I will add your party into the table, you will come in above One Nation and below the Nationals. Not sure what you’ll make of that!

  5. Cathy Alexander

    Just heard this from an insider:

    “… the Federation of Australian Historical societies counts everyone who is a member of any historical society in Australia as a member of FAHS, whether they want to be or not. Most of them wouldn’t know they were being counted as members – they don’t have to sign up or anything. So it’s all a bit bogus.”

  6. James Goodwin

    I’d suggest the largest and most influential membership is that of the motoring clubs of Australia. They have a combined membership of 7.2 million Australians and the national body is the Australian Automobile Association(AAA).

    Average membership is about $100 a year and entitles people to emergency roadside assistance and transport advocacy. Most of the clubs were established more than 100 years ago to advocate on behalf of motorists for better roads.

    New South Wales – National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA)
    Victoria – Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV)
    Queensland – Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ)
    South Australia – Royal Automobile Association (RAA)
    West Australia – Royal Automobile Club (RAC)
    Tasmania – Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania (RACT)
    Northern Territory – Automobile Association of the Northern Terriory (AANT)

  7. Damien McBain

    I’m a previous member of the Liberal party (a country Vic branch). It bored me to tears. I was in my late 20s then and few other branch members were under retirement age. The agenda items were trivial rubbish and the state conference spots were hogged by stalwarts.
    Presumably things haven’t improved, in which case it’s no surprise membership is lagging. There’s no forum to be active, no way to influence policy and nothing interesting to talk about at meetings.

  8. Maisie

    As someone who is a member of the Greens, and once was a member of the ALP, it is obvious to me that whilst the ALP may have more members, the Greens have more active members.

  9. Maisie

    I’m also wondering whether crikey looked at how many people are members or at least subscribers to get up. I think you would find that among young people organisations like Get Up! are quite popular.

  10. Edward James

    For years it has been apparent to me Australians have been essentially pushed around by a very small minority of the population. These Political allsorts and fellow travelers developers who are serious about getting into government, positions of influence.
    Or activist busy getting things done. Can and do influence how our democratic process functions or disfunction’s on our behalf. Depending on your point of view.
    Consider the attempt at branch stacking in Malabar exposed a few days ago. Minister Rudd and John Robertson two very prominent Labor Party leaders. Trumpeted the assurance, the Labor Party would expel any member who brought the party into disrepute or acted corruptly.
    Clearly the threat held no threat to those responsible for paying for the stack! Australians have the tools to change the way we are represented.
    They are called ballot papers, which simply need to be exercised for effective change, by directing your own preferences and putting dead wood politicians last!. Edward James

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