Rod Culleton and Wayne Glew teamed up as candidates for the right-wing “Great Australia Party” (GAP) in the 2019 Federal Election. Based in an ideology of constitutional conspiracy and popularism, they ran on the platform that they were going to “restore the Commonwealth”. 29
The Great Australia Party (GAP) was formally registered by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on 7 April 2019, 1 initiated by former senator Rod Culleton, to stand candidates for the Senate at the 2019 Australian federal election. Rod Culleton had previously been elected in the 2016 Australian federal election as a senator for Western Australia, but subsequently found to have been ineligible and was disqualified. 2
The party fielded two Senate candidates in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. Policies of the party include the removal of personal income tax, nationalization of the Commonwealth Bank and abolishment of the Family Court of Australia.3 The Party also proposes to implement trials by jury only in criminal matters, naming of young criminals who are serial offenders and the restoration of the “true” Constitution of Australia. 4 The Party further proposes a policy that criminal offenders would have sale of their property used as a possible deterrent. 5
Party Leader Rod Culleton has on numerous occasions declared the Australian legal system is invalid and thus so are Australian Courts, 6 refusing to co-operate on numerous occasions by refusing to hand over documents or attend public examinations. Creditors were advised there was no prospect of recovering any of their money. 7 Culleton continued to refer to himself as a “senator-in-exile” and sought to appeal his disqualification to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. 8
What Rod Culleton understood as the current “unconstitutional” issues, and the path forward in the “restoration of the Commonwealth” were outlined in Rod Culleton’s Prayer to the UK House of Lords 7 November 2018 (PDF 6 pages) see also Rod Culleton’s letter to Queen Elizabeth II 18 January 2019 (PDF 4 pages)
On 24 April 2019, the AEC referred Culleton’s Senate nomination form to the Australian Federal Police “to examine if a false declaration has been made under provisions of the Criminal Code Act 1995, relating to his status as an undischarged bankrupt and the prima facie disqualification of such persons to be chosen or to sit as a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives under section 44(iii) of the Constitution”. 9 The AEC stated that, while it did not have power to reject a fully completed nomination form or to make its own assessment of a candidate’s eligibility, it had been aware from a High Court judgment that Culleton had been a declared bankrupt and, upon checking the National Personal Insolvency Index, had found that he was currently listed as an undischarged bankrupt. 10
On 2 May 2019, the AEC confirmed that Culleton’s Party controversially may be eligible for public funding just for appearing on the ballot paper. This is despite a bankrupt being “incapable of being chosen” as a member of parliament, pursuant to section 44 of the Constitution. 2 The AEC also stated they did not have the power to decide if a candidate is ineligible. 11
The Party’s other Senate candidate in Western Australia is Wayne Glew, a former police officer who is a “self-proclaimed expert of the constitution”. Glew has been a claimant, defendant or appellant in at least 16 Court proceedings in which he has argued against the validity of the Australian legal system. Glew has not been successful in a single proceeding to date. This resulted in Glew being declared a vexatious litigant by the Supreme Court of Western Australia and being prevented from initiating any further Court proceedings in Western Australia.
On 23 December 2011 Glew was convicted in the Geraldton Magistrates’ Court of one offence of assaulting a public officer and one offence of obstructing an officer in the execution of his duty. 12 Glew provided legal advice to Heather Glendinning, who later killed herself and her two daughters in a murder–suicide in 2011. He subsequently told The West Australian that she had been murdered, and that “I spent 17 years in the police and you can make anything look like anything”. 13 In 2012, Glew was ordered to pay $2 million in damages to an investor in his fuel vaporiser system. The Supreme Court found that his invention “offered no benefit over existing fuel systems” and that he had engaged in “deceptive and misleading conduct”. 14
The Campaign Trail
On 8 May 2019 a group of intoxicated Great Australian Party supporters campaigning outside a polling booth in Cockburn, WA verbally abused a 70 year old woman and her husband.
One of the group of approximately eight Great Australian Party supporters, wearing a high-visibility vest displaying a Great Australian Party logo, was observed being drunk and aggressive and taunting voters to fight him.
Police were required to attend to intervene. In a later statement Culleton denied the supporters were registered with the Party.
This contradicts the reported statements of bystanders, voters and members of other parties who had observed Great Australian Party supporters spruiking AEC approved materials and wearing high-visibility vests displaying Great Australian Party logos. 15
2019 Election Results
As of 20 May 2019 with 53% of votes counted, the ABC News states that the Great Australia Party will not gain a seat in parliament, 16 with the party’s first preference vote in the senate ranging from 1.07% (6,971 votes) in South Australia to 0.14% (2,281 votes) in Victoria, while in Culleton’s home state of Western Australia they have received 0.21% (1,789 votes), 17 less than one percent of the votes required for election.
- 1. The Great Australian Party” (PDF). Registration of a political party. Australian Electoral Commission. https://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/party_registration/Registration_Decisions/2019/the-great-australian-party-notice.pdf “Barrels and blindfolds: candidates declared”. The Canberra Times. https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6088498/barrels-and-blindfolds-candidates-declared/ “Federal Election 2019: Meet The Great Australian Party”. https://catespeaks.com/2019/04/23/federal-election-2019-meet-the-great-australian-party/ “Prime poll position isn’t keeping far right micro parties out of trouble”. 7NEWS. https://7news.com.au/politics/prime-poll-position-isnt-keeping-far-right-micro-parties-out-of-trouble-c-7809 “Anti-Muslim, anti-vaxxers and pro-men: Your guide to the new micro parties”. SBS News. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/anti-muslim-anti-vaxxers-and-pro-men-your-guide-to-the-new-micro-parties
- 2. Blackshield, Tony. “Incapable of being chosen”. AUSPUBLAW. https://auspublaw.org/2017/02/incapable-of-being-chosen/
- 3. “Policy – Law and Justice – The Great Australian Party”. https://www.greataustralianparty.com.au/justice/
- 4. “GAP Constitutional Standing”. https://www.greataustralianparty.com.au/party-constitutional-standing/
- 5. “Former senator Rod Culleton’s plans for political comeback”. The Australian. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/nation/former-senator-rod-culletons-plans-for-political-comeback/news-story/f42fbf08e67a18c8f34e2937618d02fb
- 6. “‘Senator in exile’ Rod Culleton pens bizarre letter to PM claiming Western Australia ‘not part of the Commonwealth'”. The Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/senator-in-exile-rod-culleton-pens-bizarre-letter-to-pm-claiming-western-australia-not-part-of-the-commonwealth-20170329-gv8z0j.html “Restoration of the Commonwealth”. Great Australian Party. https://www.facebook.com/greataustralianparty/posts/991258251080346 “The Constitution of Australia [sic] Has Been Hijacked with Wayne Glew”. Great Australian Party. https://www.facebook.com/greataustralianparty/posts/962439180628920
- 7. “Rod Culleton’s creditors have ‘no prospect’ of getting their money”. The West Australian. https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/rod-culletons-creditors-have-no-prospect-of-getting-their-money-ng-ya-122397
- 8. “Culleton’s plan to fill the GAP” The Australian https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/nation/former-senator-rod-culletons-plans-for-political-comeback/news-story/f42fbf08e67a18c8f34e2937618d02fb
- 9. “Former One Nation MP Rod Culleton’s Senate election bid referred to police”. ABC News https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-24/rod-culleton-senate-candidacy-referred-to-federal-police/11044480
- 10. . “Disqualified once, Rod Culleton referred to police over ‘false declaration’ for Senate”. Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/disqualified-once-rod-culleton-referred-to-police-over-false-declaration-for-senate-20190424-p51gwz.html
- 11. “Electoral commission accused of failing to investigate Palmer candidates”. The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/may/02/electoral-commission-accused-of-failing-to-investigate-palmer-candidates
- 12. Re Glew; ex parte the Hon Michael Mischin MLC, Attorney General (WA)  WASC 107 http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/wa/WASC/2014/107.html
- 13. “Ex-cop helped mum fight law”. The West Australian. https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/ex-cop-helped-mum-fight-law-ng-ya-339095
- 14. ). “Inventor to pay $2m damages to investor”. The West Australian. https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/inventor-to-pay-2m-damages-to-investor-ng-ya-333653
- 15. “Great Australian Party supporters hurl abuse at 70yo”. The West Australian https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/elderly-woman-verbally-abused-by-gang-of-great-australian-party-supporters-outside-polling-booth-ng-b881193305z
- 16. “Senate Results”. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/elections/federal/2019/results/senate
- 17 “First preferences by Senate group”. Australian Electoral Commission https://tallyroom.aec.gov.au/SenateStateFirstPrefsByGroup-24310-WA.htm