Katter's Party loses appeal

Friday 9 March 2012

Katter's Party loses appeal

Katter's Australian Party will appear as "The Australian Party" on ballot papers for the upcoming State election.

Queensland's highest court yesterday ruled against the constitutional arguments of Katter's Australian Party, prohibiting them from using the party's full registered name on the ballot paper.

The three judges in the court of appeal are likely to explain their decision sometime next week.

In a statement, the Party says the decision causes confusion for voters.

"The Australian Electoral Commission has written to the party and advised that if the party prints the name "The Australian Party" or allows it to be printed, promoted or even publically discussed during any Federal election period, then members of the party will be committing a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 6 months gaol.

"Furthermore, senior members of the party have received advice that using the term, even outside a Federal election period, could still put its Federal member of Parliament Bob Katter and other members of the party at risk of criminal conviction.

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Following the judgment, Federal Party Leader Bob Katter said the decision was terrifying.

"Queenslanders now live in a State where the registered name of a political party has been prohibited from use on a ballot paper.
"Additionally the Queensland Electoral Commission is forcing us to do something that on the face of it will breach Federal laws. All Australians should be terrified by this decision. It is a massive blow for our democracy."

The party is waiting to review the judges reasoning before it rules out a high court challenge.