The sex has been taken out of ACT politics, at least on the ballot sheet, with the Australian Sex Party ACT removed from the ACT’s register of political parties today (1 June).
ACT Electoral Commissioner Damian Cantwell said the registration was cancelled on the grounds that the party did not have at least 100 members who were electors.
The Australian Sex Party was founded by Canberra woman Fiona Patten and her partner Robbie Swan in 2009, focusing on civil libertarian issues and personal freedoms, and with links to the sex industry lobby group the Eros Association, of which Ms Patten was CEO.
It fielded candidates at the state, federal and ACT level, with Ms Patten being elected to the Victorian Legislative Council in 2014.
In August 2017, Ms Patten dissolved the Australian Sex Party, to continue her political career under the banner of the Australian Reason Party.
She told the ABC that the new party would have a broader set of policies to appeal to “reasonable” voters at a time when politics is lurching to the far right and left.
“The extremists are really taking the lead in Australian politics at the moment and unless we fill that vacuum with something else they will continue to take over politics,” Ms Patten said. “So I’m hoping for a voice that is reasonable that represents the community.”
Ms Patten is considered to be an effective member of the Victorian Upper House.
Issues such as voluntary euthanasia and drug reform would remain central to the party’s platform, and she said at the time the Reason hoped to win more seats in the Upper House and contest the Senate at the next federal election.
The Sex Party fielded five candidates at the last ACT election in 2016.
Nine parties remain registered in the ACT. They are:
- Animal Justice Party
- Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch)
- Canberra Community Voters
- Liberal Democratic Party
- Liberal Party of Australia (A. C. T. Division)
- Sustainable Australia (ACT)
- The ACT Greens
- The Community Alliance Party (ACT)
- The Flux Party – ACT