Patricia Petersen claims party sabotage

SERIAL candidate Patricia Petersen has claimed more than 1500 "fake" people have tried to sign up to her fledgling party.

Dr Petersen has taken to social media to attract members for the Australian Independents. However, she may have to change its name just to have it registered.

She said she has been contacting people who like her and her party's Facebook page status to obtain their details for the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Dr Petersen told The QT more than 2000 people had contacted her wanting to be a founding member.

"But the vast majority of people have been fake," she said.

"We've had about 423 people at last check who we've checked out and are rock solid. I suspect a lot of (the fake applicants) are members of other parties. There is a lot of political opposition to us forming as a party."

However, the party may have hit an even bigger snag in its registration as its name appears to breach section 129 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

The section states: "The Electoral Commission shall refuse an application for the registration of a political party if, in its opinion, the name of the party ... or comprises or contains the word 'independent'."

But a spokeswoman for the commission said the party might be allowed with a number of parties including the word independent in their name.

"All applications are considered to ensure they do not contravene the provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act," she said.

"Obviously any use of the term 'independent' would be examined.

"The process, following an initial assessment by the AEC, must include the AEC advertising in a newspaper circulating in each state and territory inviting objections.

"The AEC must then consider any matters raised in objections when determining the application."

However, Dr Petersen said the name had already been approved by

the chief legal officer of

the AEC.

"We couldn't call it 'independent' but we're 'independents' with an 's'. It makes all the difference."

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