X marks the spot for a political brouhaha on Monday morning, with the Australian Sex Party and colourful senator Nick Xenophon embroiled in conflict over the South Australian politician's new logo.
Independent senator Xenophon recently announced the formation of his own political party, the Nick Xenophon Team, or the NXT. Changes to Senate voting rules will allow party logos on the ballot paper for the first time, and the NXT's logo is a large letter 'X' in a square box.
The Australian Sex Party -- based in Victoria and based on the values of civil libertarianism, with a platform including anti-censorship -- says it has lodged an official complaint with the Australian Electoral Commission over NXT logo, which it says breaches intellectual property, will lead to confusion at the ballot box, and possibly take votes from the Sex Party.
Logos recently registered with the AEC, including the NXT logo
Sex Party co-founder and registered officer, Robbie Swan, claimed the X "infringed the Commonwealth’s intellectual property by using the classification symbol for the most explicit film classification in Australia – the X classification."
Swan also said that, since some people will mark their ballot paper with an 'X,' that the logo would be confusing.
"Given that some people will mark their ballot paper with a cross, often in vague or unclear ways, such a vote is more likely to be taken as a vote for Team Xenophon, under the savings provisions of the new electoral laws. It is tantamount to using a tick and neither ticks nor crosses should be allowed," he said.
The Sex Party's third objection was that they claimed their supporters had assumed the 'X' logo represented the Sex Party.
"When the story about the new logo first appeared in the national press on [April 6], many people left comments saying that they assumed the X logo represented the Sex Party. Team Xenophon would have been aware of the fact that the Sex Party was founded as a result of Senator Conroy’s 2009 internet filter that would have banned the X rating. The Sex Party’s leader, Victorian Upper House member, Fiona Patten, campaigned heavily on the issue," Swan said.
"Nick’s an old parental guidance man from way back and a good supporter of the nanny state. He just got the wrong rating. PG is the logo that is much more likely to win him seats."
In a response to The Huffington Post Australia, a spokesman for the NXT said they were aware of the Sex Party's objections but would not be changing their logo.
"The X logo has been used by us for some time, and indeed the media also frequently use it to describe Nick and the team. Logos can only be refused if they meet the criteria for refusal detailed in Section 129A [of the Electoral Act]. We will address any objections if and when the AEC writes to us," the spokesman said.
"We ensured we met all requirements under... the Act."
Section 129A sets out that the Electoral Commission can refuse to register a party's logo if it "is the logo of any other person" or "so nearly resembles the logo of any other person that it is likely to be confused with or mistaken for that logo" or "is one that a reasonable person would think suggests that a connection or relationship exists between the applicant and a registered political party if that connection or relationship does not in fact exist".
The Australian Electoral Commission has been approached for comment.
Speaking to ABC radio on Monday, Swan was asked whether the objections were tongue-in-cheek.
"It's a bit in one cheek but in the other cheek it's not in there at all," he said, saying Xenophon had "made a bad call here".
"It's a funny issue but in one sense it's not funny because it threatens to rob us of votes."
"[The logo] is almost exactly the same as it appears on the spine and cover of x-rated films. He's trying to fall in on our territory, the Sex Party's natural territory, of anti-censorship."