HEMP hopeful of making election
THE Nimbin-based Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party is one small step away from running in the next election.
The Australian Electoral Commission has processed the small party's application to register as a political party and now the 1400-member party is only a month away from being fully registered.
A notice of registration has been advertised which invites objections to HEMP becoming a registered political party to be voiced over the next month, and if there are no objections the party's registration will be set in stone.
HEMP party secretary Graham Askey is confident HEMP will receive no objections.
“We have been notified that we have passed their considerations and our notice of registration is being advertised for a month,” he said.
“If there are no objections to the registration, or the objections aren't valid, then we will be registered.
“We are pretty confident. We had no objections last time.
“There are lots of bureaucratic hurdles put up against small poorly-funded parties.
“We think it is unfair, but that is the way it goes.”
The party has overcome a number of hurdles since it was first registered in 2004.
HEMP contested the 2004 Federal election before it was later deregistered as part of a government overhaul of the small party system.
“All small parties were deregistered before the 2007 election and the process was still going on when the election was called,” Mr Askey said.
Despite being deregistered during the 2007 election, the party held an election forum where actors dressed up as political candidates who were unable to attend the forum, and people were invited to bring their pets to trial hemp seed dog biscuits.
Now on the brink of being registered again, HEMP has plans to run for a Senate seat in NSW at the next election.
“Many people get the wrong idea about HEMP,” Mr Askey said.
“We oppose the legal response to the use of recreational drugs, in particular marijuana. We are not supporting the use of marijuana in a way, but we think there should not be a criminal sanction.
“The prohibitive approach is counter-productive. When I was young, when someone told me not to do something I thought maybe I should do it.
“Having a law against it gives criminals a way to make money, corrupt officials a way to make money, and does not affect actual usage.
“We intend to offer a green alternative in the next election.”
In the meantime, HEMP is working on who they will select to lead the party in the next election, as well as try to exert its influence interstate by finding a candidate in a metropolitan area with more exposure.