The Motorcyclists Australia Party has now achieved the required 500 signatures to get the party started, but it could be stillborn for the lack of committee members.
Founder Paul Keyworth says the Australian Electoral Commission requires 10 committee members before it can confirm party status.
It seems strange in this environment of the Queensland Government’s oppression of bikers and suppression of basic human rights that he can’t muster enough enthusiastic riders to be committee members.
Paul has been trying to establish the party since the September federal election and only achieved the required number at the December 1 Freedom Ride rally in Brisbane.
In an open letter on his MAP Facebook page he says he is “now at the end of the road as to what I can achieve on my own with the MAP”.
“The response to my appeal for committee members has been underwhelming to say the least,” he says.
“Curiously, out of the three people who put their hands up to help, two weren’t motorcyclists and the third has no licence until February.”
The MAP constitution is set out at the end of this article. Paul says he doesn’t think in terms of “left” or “right” in politics but has a social conscience, having worked with people with disabilities.
He has also taught hospitality in jails, worked with the Red Cross, homeless and young people, and has been a vocal agitator against the draconian laws introduced recently by the Queensland Government and the subsequent police harassment of recreational motorcycle riders.
He says the responsibilities of a committee member would be four meetings per year.
“My plan was to incorporate these into a ride on these occasions and have our meetings at different locations,” he says.
“Not too taxing given what is at stake I would have thought?
“However, it appears that there are not a sufficient number of riders in the Brisbane area prepared to step up to the crease for their civil liberties, which is disappointing.”
Paul says he has set a deadline of one more week to establish the party.
Contact Paul at: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0404 285832.
The Constitution of the Motorcyclists Australia Party (MAP)
Preamble: The Motorcyclists Australia Party was formed in 2013 in response to the widespread disenchantment expressed by voters towards both of the major political parties in the Federal election. This was borne out by the election of candidates of small one policy or minimal policies parties. In preparation for the next Federal election due in 2016, the MAP will develop and refine a broad cross section of policies which directly address both the concerns and wishes of a wide section of the Australian public. The glue which binds this party will be the passion for both motorcycles and the individual freedom this pastime embodies.
The title of the registered party is the Motorcyclists Australia Party also using the acronym MAP on official documents.
Functions and objectives of the party:
The aim of the MAP is to change the dynamics of the current political status quo in Australia. The party aims to challenge the theory that these parties have the solution to the myriad issues which confront this country and the ability to make Australia a progressive and forward thinking nation. The policies promoted by the MAP will be released in ample time for discussion and amendment prior to the Federal election. For too long, too many Australians have been indoctrinated to believe that Labor or the LNP are the natural parties of Government. Through fear, intimidation, misinformation and voter apathy, this country has been ruled by the elite who seldom have the faintest concept or empathy for of the day to day existence their constituents. The time for change is upon us.
The MAP intends to highlight the excessive waste of taxpayers funds on continuing the anachronistic and onerous 3 levels of Government in a country with a 2013 population of 23 million people. We seek to abolish the States and establish 2 levels of Government being Federal and Local and thereby do away with over regulation and waste.
The objective of the MAP is to endorse as many quality candidates as feasible for election to both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The MAP will recruit 500 members to the party as part of the Electoral Act requirement for registration. Those eligible to join must meet the minimum criterion of being a registered voter with their names appearing on current electoral rolls. Registered members will be required to pay an annual fee of $75 which will cover the costs of electronic newsletters, attendance and voting rights at the AGM (Annual General Meeting) and the employment of administration staff to manage the demands of a political office and other sundry activities.
Members will have full access via the party website to accounts and expenditure to ensure complete transparency as to where any donations are sourced and how their membership fees are disbursed.
Decision making processes
The party will elect a 10 person Committee comprising the offices of President, Secretary/Treasurer and 8 other office bearers who will be responsible for, among other duties:
Scrutiny of candidates for election and shortlisting eligible candidates. That is ensuring that candidates meet the legislative requirements of elected representatives and are eligible for election to office.
The finances of the party.
Attending quarterly Committee meetings and achieving a Quorum at each of these meetings.
Expulsion/Resignation of members.
Purchase of any substantial items e.g. plant and equipment, rental of premises, purchase of election resources or electronic aids and advertising.
The above is a sample of the role of the Committee and items will be added as they arise. For rank and file members, their obligation is to attend the AGM and vote on the election of Committee members for a period of 3 years. Committee members may be removed on the basis of the following:
Gross misconduct. This includes but is not limited to:
Misappropriation of funds
Receiving a criminal conviction which carries with it a minimum jail term of 12 months,
Slandering or making derogatory comments about the party in writing, verbally or on social media,
Bringing the party into disrepute.
Anything which precludes the member in executing their duties.
Committee members, including the President will be elected on the basis of receiving 60% or more of the financial members’ votes. No directing of preferences will be permitted. Any allegations of vote rigging or illegality will be investigated by the current Committee and if found proven, the members involved will be immediately expelled from the party.
Office bearers of the party
The party leader does not have any direct responsibilities, apart from chairing committee meetings and AGMs. They lead the party. However, if the party does not have a treasurer at any time, the leader becomes responsible for making sure the party complies with AEC and Electoral Act legislation.
The Secretary is responsible for the day to day operation of the Party administrative procedures and protocols, hiring of staff, member services, office management and publicity.
The party treasurer is legally responsible for making sure the finances are in order and accounts up to date. The party treasurer is also the person who will usually be in contact with the AEC regarding party business.
The nominating officer has responsibilities under the Electoral Act. A nominating officer is also responsible for authorising candidates to stand on behalf of the
Each committee member is expected to attend a minimum of 2 meetings per calendar year, vote on proposals, change of or new policies and party procedures. Proxies may be given to another Committee member on 1 occasion per year.
Maintenance of Party Accounts
The Secretary or the designated agent of the MAP shall be responsible for maintaining and updating membership details, responding to enquiries from the AEC and ensuring that all data entry is current and correct.
The Treasurer shall be responsible for the management of finances and accounts on behalf the MAP.
The Nominating Officer or ‘Party Agent’ shall be responsible lodging of disclosure returns with the AEC and the keeping of relevant records according to legislation under the Electoral Act.
Mechanism for changing the Constitution
The Committee shall from time to time seek to amend the Constitution subject to changing circumstances. I order for amendments, changes or additions to the Constitution, a majority vote of 75% of the Committee will vote in favour of said changes for the motion to pass. The rank and file members will be advised of any impending changes to the Constitution via the party website and email.
Establishment of State and Territory branches
The establishment of State and Territory branches will be largely dependent on the number of paid members subscribe to the MAP and any Expressions of Interest from other State and Territory prospective candidates. In the initial stage, the MAP is a Queensland based party, however, this may have changed by the calling of the next Federal election by the incumbent Government.
The MAP has every intention of becoming a national party with candidates in every State and Territory, however this will occur when the party is sufficiently financial and established and possesses the resources to make this possible.
It is the Committees’ role to screen and approve prospective candidates and put these forward to the general members of the party. Any prospective candidates would have to meet specific eligibility criteria to be considered as a candidate. This includes, but is not limited to:
Registered on the Electoral Roll.
Adhering to the MAP philosophy and values.
Approval by a majority of the Committee members.