Clive Palmer deregisters United Australia Party but his only senator may continue using the name

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has voluntarily deregistered the United Australia Party in a surprise move that leaves his only senator without a registered party.
A notice published by the Australian Electoral Commission confirmed the UAP had been deregistered on 8 September.
Despite the move, election and opinion poll expert Kevin Bonham said it may be possible for UAP’s only elected member, Victorian senator Ralph Babet, to continue to sit in parliament as a representative of the UAP.
“As I understand it, what the Senate recognises as a party and what the party registration system recognises as a party are two separate things,” he told SBS News.

“So if the Senate choses to keep calling him a United Australia Party senator, then they can.”

Senator Ralph Babet (right) with UAP leader Craig Kelly (centre) UAP candidate for Bruce, Matt Babet. Credit: Matt Babet Facebook

Mr Bonham pointed out Mr Palmer, who is leader of the UAP, made a similar move in the past, and acknowledged there could be some “procedural burdens” linked to having a registered party he may be choosing to avoid.

In 2017, the former Palmer United Party was deregistered and then re-emerged as the United Australia Party in 2000.
But Mr Bonham said the Palmer United Party did not have any members of parliament at that stage and so the previous situation was a bit different.
Deregistering the party also means the name United Australia Party will not be able to be used again at the next election.

“There’s a section of the Electoral Act that says when a party voluntarily deregisters you can’t register the same party name, or a name that is very similar to the same party name before the next election has passed,” Mr Bonham said.

A man stands at a lectern

Clive Palmer in front of a Palmer United Party banner. The party was later deregistered and then re-emerged as the United Australia Party.

Senator Babet was reportedly surprised when informed of the deregistration by the Sydney Morning Herald but later said he had known about the move done for “administrative reasons” but had forgotten about it.

“I don’t know what the technicalities are. But trademark-wise, I will still be calling myself a member of the United Australia Party,” he said.
He said the party had not spilt despite the party being deregistered.

SBS News has contacted Senator Babet’s office for comment.

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