A West Australian minor political party that promotes daylight saving is applying to change its name in a move some experts say is designed to confuse voters.
Many suspect the liberals being behind this move as they have very little chance of winning the WA state election and they are well know to engage in dirty tricks .
The Daylight Saving Party has applied to the Western Australian Electoral Commission for a name change to add "the National Liberals" to the end of its name.
If successful, the party's name would be "Daylight Saving Party — The National Liberals", which would be abbreviated to "National Liberals".
The party's candidates, therefore, would appear as National Liberals on ballot papers at this year's March election.
WA's Liberal and National parties, which received more than 36 per cent of votes at the last election, are not associated with the Daylight Saving Party.
The Federal Government is a coalition of the Liberal and National parties, known as the Liberal-National Coalition.
Opportunity for public comment on the change closed on Monday, with the final decision yet to be published.
While party name changes are not uncommon, WA Electoral Commissioner Robert Kennedy said parties should be transparent.
"If they are true to the democratic principles, then they should be using the name that clearly articulates what their party is about," he said.
Known election strategy.
The ABC's election analyst Antony Green said history showed examples of parties changing their name to mimic a larger, more successful party.
Following the 2007 Australian federal election, the Liberty and Democracy Party changed its names to Liberal Democratic Party, or Liberal Democrats.
Four objections, including one from the Federal Director of the Liberal Party of Australia, were raised, but the change was approved.
The party won its first senate seat with David Leyonhjelm two elections later.
Mr Green said that it was at least in part due to the name change.
"People thought they were the Liberal Party," he said.
State of Flux
Also applying for a name change ahead of the 2021 WA State Government election is the Flux Party, which advocates for citizen participation in decision-making at government level.
It currently has no seats in the WA Parliament and has applied to change its name to Liberals for Climate on the upcoming ballot.
On its website, it said the change, "will increase our chances of getting a candidate elected in the upcoming election".
In WA elections, as in federal elections, voters have the option to vote for a single candidate — a "1" above the line on the ballot — or number each candidate by preference.
"People are looking for a party they know the name of," Mr Green said.
"[Daylight Saving Party and Flux Party] are clearly trying to hope that a few people look at the ballot paper, be confused, give them a 1 and help them get elected."
Voters are being underestimated
However, Mr Kennedy said there was no firm evidence changing names had swung significant numbers of votes, calling it a "belittling" claim.
"The evidence … is rather anecdotal," he said.
"That kind of comment is premised on the basis that voters aren't realising which box they're ticking … [that] they're not making a conscious decision."
Notre Dame University's Politics and International Relations senior lecturer Martin Drum disagreed.
He said the Daylight Saving Party's name change application was a "blatant" way to win votes.
"The intention of a name change like that is to create confusion amongst the electorate," he said.
The Flux and Daylight Saving Party are the only parties that have applied for a name change ahead of the election.
The Daylight Saving Party and Flux Party did not respond to requests for comment.
WA voters head to the polls on March 13.
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