Reason Party (Australia)

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Reason Party
Leader Fiona Patten
Founded 2009 (as Australian Sex Party)
Headquarters 10 Ipswich St
Fyshwick ACT 2609
Ideology Civil libertarianism
Secular liberalism
Drug liberalisation
Political position Centre[1] to centre-left
Colours      Teal
Victorian Legislative Council
1 / 40

The Reason Party is an Australian political party founded in 2009 as the Australian Sex Party. It changed its name in 2017 to the Reason Party. The Australian Sex Party was initially founded in response to concerns over the increasing influence of religion in Australian politics, and the proposed introduction of an internet filter[2][3] and was born out of an adult-industry lobby group, the Eros Association. Its leader, Fiona Patten, was formerly the association's CEO.[4] Patten describes the party as a "civil libertarian alternative".[5] Patten is a veteran campaigner on issues such as censorship, equality, and discrimination.[6][7] Patten was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council at the 2014 state election.

The party was briefly federally deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on 5 May 2015, after an audit found that it could not demonstrate that it met the statutory requirement of 500 members, but was re-registered in July the same year.[8][9] Reason is registered at state level in Victoria, where it has parliamentary representation, and in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory.

In late 2017, the party announced it would be changing its name to the Reason Party ahead of the 2018 Victorian state election.[10] The party then voluntarily relinquished its registration for federal elections in August 2017,[11] ahead of re-registering as Reason Australia in early 2018.[12] On 14 August 2018 the name of the state party in Victoria 'Reason Victoria' was officially changed to 'Fiona Patten’s Reason Party'

Parliamentary actions[edit]

As the party's sole representative in an Australian Parliament, Fiona Patten is considered to be pro-active in pursuing policy objectives. In 2015, Patten put forth a Private Member's Bill calling for a 150-metre (490 ft) "Safe Access Zone" around hospitals, GP clinics and health services that perform abortions, where it will be an offence to engage in behaviour that harasses or intimidates women seeking to access an abortion. The Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zone) Bill 2015 formally passed the Victorian Legislative Council without amendment.[13]

Fiona Patten introduced another Private Member's Bill in 2016, calling for the regulation of ride-sharing apps such as Uber. The Ridesharing Bill 2016 gained support from both the Daniel Andrews Labor government and the opposition led by Matthew Guy.[14][15]

In 2017, Patten renewed calls for a pilot program of a safe injecting room in North Richmond, in response to a large increase of Victorian drug-related deaths in the last several years.[16][17] In the first session for the Legislative Council of the year, she introduced the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill 2017.[18]

History and election results[edit]

2009 Federal by-elections[edit]

The party contested elections for the first time at the Higgins[19] and Bradfield[20] by-elections in November 2009, gaining over three percent of the primary vote in both seats, coming fourth of ten, and third of twenty-two candidates, respectively.[21]

2010 Federal election[edit]

The party contested six of 150 House of Representatives seats and all states and territories (except Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory) in the Senate at the 2010 federal election. Receiving more than 250,000 first preferences, the party won 2.04 percent of the national Senate vote.[22] After the major parties and the Australian Greens, the Sex Party during the vote count were "neck and neck" with the Family First Party for the fourth place in the national Senate vote.[23] The party "outpolled several more prominent minor parties and came within about 10,000 votes of Family First for the Senate in Victoria".[24] After the party's first federal election contest, Patten claimed that the Sex Party was "now the major minor party in Australian politics":

We’ve polled better than the Greens did in their first federal election and believe that our vision of Australia as the most socially progressive country in the world is equal to the Greens environmental messages of 20 years ago.[25]

Whilst the Sex Party did not win any seats, their preferences were substantially beneficial to the Greens who won a Senate seat in every state for the first time.[26][27]

2010 Victorian state election[edit]

The party contested seats at the 2010 Victorian state election on 27 November, and received 1.9 percent of the vote in the upper house.[28] Labor, the Coalition, and the Greens all directed preferences to the ASP in the multimember proportional upper house.[29][30]

2011–13 Victorian state by-elections[edit]

The party received 5 percent and 8 percent of the vote at the 2011 Broadmeadows and 2012 Niddrie by-elections in the absence of Liberal Party candidates. Patten contested the 2012 Melbourne state by-election, coming third out of 16 candidates, receiving 6.6 percent of the vote, in the absence of a Liberal candidate. She says the party preferenced Labor ahead of the Greens on their how-to-vote card at the Melbourne by-election due to the "anti-sex feminist movement" within the Greens,[31][32] but that future preferences may change again.[33] The Sex Party produced a split Labor/Green how-to-vote card[34] at the 2013 Lyndhurst by-election and won 8.4 percent of the primary vote, again in the absence of a Liberal candidate.

2014 Victorian state election[edit]

The party received 2.54% of the upper house primary vote at the 2014 Victorian state election.[35] Fiona Patten was elected to the Legislative Council as a member for the Northern Metropolitan Region.[36]

2015 Victorian state by-election[edit]

President of the Rationalist Society of Australia, Meredith Doig, contested for the party at the 2015 Polwarth by-election, receiving over six percent of the vote in the absence of a Labor candidate.

2016 Federal election[edit]

For the 2016 federal election the Australian Sex Party fielded Senate candidates in every state and territory as well as two candidates in New South Wales and four in Victoria for seats in the House of Representatives. In several states, the Sex Party only fielded one senate candidate, teamed up with the Marijuana (HEMP) Party to share a column on the ballot paper.[37]

2016 Australian Capital Territory general election[edit]

The Australian Sex Party ACT contested the 2016 Australian Capital Territory general election, with lead candidate Steven Bailey receiving 7.9% of the primary vote in the Brindabella electorate.

2017 Change of party name[edit]

In August 2017, the Australian Sex Party announced it would be deregistering and become the Reason Party.[10][38]

In January 2018, the Victorian Electoral Commission officially changed the party's name from "Australian Sex Party – Victoria" to "Reason Victoria".[39] In May 2018, the party application to register for federal elections as "Reason Australia" was announced on the Electoral Commission website.[12] Registration was approved on 30 August 2018.[40]


Party leader Fiona Patten

Reason's policy platform has been described as libertarian.[7] Party leader, Fiona Patten, has described Reason's policy objectives as "socially progressive but economically prudent".[41] It is opposed to internet censorship, and supports the introduction of a national media classification scheme, including a rating for non-violent sexual content. The Australian Sex Party was one of the earliest bodies to call for a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in religious institutions. In 2016, the party renewed its call for religious institutions to pay more state-based taxes, and to overturn long-standing exemptions.[42]

Reason is in favour of legalised abortion, gay rights, voluntary euthanasia, the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use along with the decriminalisation of all other drugs for recreational use.[43] The party is of the view that drug addiction should be dealt with by referring one found with illicit drugs to a treatment centre.[44] Additionally, the party is also in favour of sexual rights for disabled individuals.[45]

Reason supports vaccination to protect public health and reduce the spread of preventable diseases. In a 2016 response to the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network's Meryl Dorey, the Sex Party stated:[46] "Choosing not to vaccinate your children amounts to medical neglect; this is a serious ethical issue".[47]

Reason Party (Australia) supporters with placards at Yes Marriage Equality rally Sydney Town Hall 10 Sept 2017
Fiona Patten Portrait 2013


The Reason Party has close links with the adult industry lobby group, the Eros Association, and was seen by some as the party being its political wing.[48][49] However, since their rebrand, Patten has stated that the party has moved away from the association.[50]

The party has had some involvement in Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance.[51][52]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bennett, Lucy (17 November 2008). "Australian Sex Party launches on Thursday". The Australian. Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
  3. ^ "Sex flirts with politics", Herald Sun, 16 November 2008.
  4. ^ Eros Association - About Us
  5. ^ Gardiner, Ashley (15 November 2010). "Sex Party hopes to make history and win an Upper House seat in state election". Herald Sun.
  6. ^ "People Trafficking, Human Security and Development". Australian National University. 29 August 2004. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  7. ^ a b Syvret, Paul (8 December 2009). "Australian Sex Party a dark horse in federal politics". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  8. ^ "Australian Electoral Commission: Australian Sex Party". 10 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Sex Party Rises Again". Australian Sex Party. 24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  10. ^ a b Willingham, Richard (22 August 2017). "Sex Party to change name to Reason Party, founder Fiona Patten announces". ABC News. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Australian Sex Party Voluntary Deregistration" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2017. Notice under s 135(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Australian Sex Party was registered on 24 July 2015 and deregistered on 29 August 2017. Reason: s 135(1) – voluntary deregistration
  12. ^ a b "Reason Australia" (PDF). Notice of Application for Registration as a Political Party. Australian Electoral Commission. 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  13. ^  This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 3.0 AU licence.
  14. ^ "Uber in Victoria: Sex Party MP holds 'productive talks' on deal to regulate ride-booking service". ABC News. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  15. ^ Kalache, Gloria (22 June 2016). "Uber regulation: Victorian Government strikes deal with Sex Party over ride-sharing legislation". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  16. ^ Oaten, James (21 February 2017). "Heroin deaths prompt renewed calls for Victorian safe injecting rooms". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  17. ^ Preiss, Benjamin; Lucas, Clay (7 February 2017). "No government support for Richmond drug injection room despite community backing". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  18. ^ Fiona Patten, Member for Northern Metropolitan (7 February 2017). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). State of Victoria: Legislative Council. p. 37.
  19. ^ Parliament 'needs a sex party': The Australian 6 November 2009 Archived 9 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ "Pole dancer aims for Nelson's old seat", Sydney Morning Herald, 28 October 2009.
  21. ^ "Virtual Tally Room", Retrieved on 2010-10-21.
  22. ^ First Preferences for the Senate - 2010 federal election: AEC Archived 1 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "Australian Sex Party does well Archived 11 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.",, 24 August 2010.
  24. ^ "Australian Sex Party picks up votes", Herald Sun, 24 August 2010.
  25. ^ "Sex Party Now The Major Minor Party in Australian Politics Archived 27 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine.", Sex Party website, 23 August 2010.
  26. ^ "Greens win seats in every state", Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August 2010.
  27. ^ "2010 election Senate preference flow results", ABC
  28. ^ "Sex Party turns up heat in Vic politics". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 October 2010.
  29. ^ "Sex Party set to sway voters in Victorian election and may take first seat", Herald Sun, 23 November 2010.
  30. ^ "Sex Party hoping to get lucky in Victoria", Sydney Morning Herald, 25 November 2010.
  31. ^ "Greens snub could cost preferences in Melbourne by-election", Herald Sun, 19 July 2012.
  32. ^ "The Melbourne byelection special Archived 24 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine.", 3AW, 19 July 2012.
  33. ^ "Official by-election outcome still days away", Yahoo! News, 23 July 2012.
  34. ^ "2013 Lyndhurst by-election Sex Party HTV card: VEC"
  35. ^ "State Election 2014 - Summary - Victorian Electoral Commission".
  36. ^ "Legislative Council - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News.
  37. ^ "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  38. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (22 August 2017). "Australian Sex Party to become the Reason Party". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  39. ^ Change of Australian Sex Party to Reason Victoria, Victorian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  40. ^ "Registration of a political party: Reason Australia" (PDF). Notice under s 133(1A)(a) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. Australian Electoral Commission. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  41. ^ Butler, Josh (12 March 2016). "Inside The Australian Sex Party: Politics, Progressives And Porn". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  42. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (13 March 2016). "Time to end tax exemptions for religious groups: Sex Party". The Age.
  43. ^ "Australian Sex Party Federal Policies". Australian Sex Party. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  44. ^ Australian Sex Party. "Australian Sex Party - Federal Drug Policy". Australian Sex Party. Archived from the original on 28 November 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  45. ^ ASP. "Australian Sex Party - Federal Equality Policy". ASP. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  46. ^ Kimmorley, Sarah (16 May 2016). "The Australian Sex Party wrote this devastating response to an anti-vaccination campaigner looking for support". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  47. ^ Austin, Darren (May 2016). "ASXP responds to vaccination skeptics". ASP (Press release). Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  48. ^ Tyler, Meagan (31 July 2012). "Political party or lobby group? The dark side of the Australian Sex Party". The Conversation (website). Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  49. ^ Swan, Robbie (20 August 2009). "Industry association forms Sex Party". Third Sector (Australia). Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  50. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (22 August 2017). "Australian Sex Party to become the Reason Party". The Age. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  51. ^ Bormann, Trevor (5 September 2013). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  52. ^ Wood, Alicia (5 September 2013). "Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 1 January 2015.

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