COUNTRYMINDED is a new conservative political party that hopes to run candidates in this year's federal election to provide alternative advocacy for rural and regional people.
The new party's national executive president and founder, Peter Mailler, confirmed on Wednesday that the party now had the obligatory 500 members needed to formally register with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).
But he said getting the required members was only half the battle.
The party started life as the Country Party of Australia, but had to be rebranded as CountryMinded in September last year, after the Australian Country Alliance in Victoria altered its title to the Australian Country Party.
A former chair of Grain Producers Australia, Mr Mailler is a farmer near Goondiwindi who ran for the Katter Party in the 2013 election.
He said he hoped CountryMinded would be registered in time to contest this year’s election, but the party would “keep its powder dry”, just for the time being.
Mr Mailler described CountryMinded as a party for everyone who recognised the value of maintaining a viable and resilient regional economy and culture for a prosperous nation, and said it would register with the AEC early next week at the latest.
“We’re taking care to make sure the first application is successful,” Mr Mailler said.
“The AEC can take up to three months to process the application, and we need the registration in our hand before the writs for this year’s election are issued.
“We are mildly concerned that there is talk of an early poll. There’s a lot of speculation, but the reality is, if the coalition goes early, there is a chance we won’t be able to contest the election.”
Mr Mailler said Jamie McIntyre’s 21st Century Party suffered the same setback at the last election.
“So we’re just not crowing too loudly about what we are or are not going to do. We purposely haven’t issued press releases because we know that we can’t get ahead of ourselves on this, but we’re very happy to talk about it.”
Mr Mailler said the party had more than 500 members and the membership was still building.
“Over the Christmas break it’s dawned on people that 2016 is an election year.
“They’ve gotten into politics again and what we’re doing is appealing to a fairly broad group of people at this point,” Mr Mailler said.