WikiLeaks Party deregistered, says AEC review uses 'old' technology

Just two years after making news with Julian Assange's Senate Bid, The WikiLeaks Party has been deregistered by the AEC. But the party says the Electoral Commission's review methods are out of touch.

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The Wikileaks Party

The Wikileaks Party has been deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission for failing to demonstrate it has enough members to be officially recognised. However, the Australian political party has accused the AEC of using old landline phone technology to conduct reviews, which is out of touch with its young membership.

The AEC advised The WikiLeaks Party on June 18 that it was considering the party's status under the Commonwealth Electoral Act. The Commission continually reviews parties for eligibility in Australia's electoral system and has deregistered a number in the past including the Deadly Serious Party of Australia, "The Seniors" and, more recently, the Australian Sex Party.

First registered in July 2013, The WikiLeaks Party gained media attention when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced his bid to run for the Australian Senate, and has since run as a minority party in the Senate on a progressive platform of Government transparency and accountability.

It has also come into its share of strife, with its official website going down to a DDoS attack shortly after launching, and two lead members quitting after the party directed voting preferences to right-wing parties. Just two years after forming, The WikiLeaks Party was officially deregistered yesterday.

However, the party alleges that the AEC's review methods are skewed against smaller parties with a young membership base saying, among other things, that the AEC still uses landline phones to for its count.

CNET has contacted the AEC to establish how it conducts membership counts and whether The WikiLeaks Party's allegations of the sole use of landline phone calls are correct.

"While as last count we have over the minimal requirement of 500+ members, the AEC only checks a small sample of this before it decides to put for de-registration using old style phone landline technology many of our young members have long since stopped using," said Deputy Chairman and National Council Director of The WikiLeaks Party, Omar Todd.

"The current electoral system makes it extremely difficult for smaller political parties to exist and will only get worse if the overhaul of the political system happens in the near future."

Todd said the party was still working out its position but could either continue to operate as is, or register again closer to the next election. He added that the party would continue to communicate with members.

"While we are considering our options for the next election we continue to build up the Party's influence via social media, networking and outreach and continue to be a political voice for values the party was founded on."

The AEC has been contacted for comment, but has not provided an official statement.