Updated to incorporate figures for Country Labor, and account for multi-year memberships in the Labor Party entities. Some minor errors of transcription since first publication have been corrected without notation, but thank you to commenters. If you have comments or queries, either leave them here or tweet me at @smurray38
While there has been much talk about the decline in party membership over the years, there has never been a sure way of ascertaining the state of play, given the reluctance of political parties to share the numerical health of their parties.
However as part of the funding disclosure requirements for the NSW Electoral Commission, NSW political parties are now required to disclose how much money is raised through membership and affiliation fees.
The following is the reported membership numbers for those parties represented in the NSW Parliament in 2014-15.
The figures are to enable the parties to report the amount obtained from membership in the reporting year, so might not include members who pay for multi-year membership.
Animal Justice Party: Total members – 316.
Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch): Total members – 9,803 (868 Ordinary members; 1,903 waged members; 1,165 members who are members of affiliated unions; 5,658 concessional memberships; 209 “New recruitment” members, paying $5.00 to join), and 291,632 affiliations by virtue of membership of unions affiliated with the ALP.
Country Labor: Since the late 1990s, the ALP has maintained “Country Labor” as a separate identity in NSW. The figures attributed to membership of this branch are: Total members – 2,414 (188 ordinary memberships; 452 waged memberships; 253 members who are members of affiliated unions; 1,499 concessional memberships; 22 student memberships).
This would represent a total Labor membership of 12,217. But …..
Commenters (thank you to @redrabbleoz and @thinkinreverse on Twitter) have pointed out to me that the ALP permits members to pay for 3 years membership. Only those paying for this membership rate in the reporting year would be reported in the figures.
So, by multiplying the number of those paying for 3 year memberships in this year (which are reported separately) by three to reflect the cycle, this would create a total membership of 14,763 in the ALP (NSW Branch) and 3,578 in the Country Labor branch – making a total membership in those entities of 18,341.
(The figures for the Labor entities lack a certain clarity – with half year memberships reported in the figures. To give the benefit of the doubt, all memberships have been counted towards the total figure reported by the entity.)
Christian Democrats: Total Members – 1,261* (Ordinary members: 549; Concessional memberships: 706; Youth memberships: 4; Life members: 2)
Liberal Party (NSW Division): Total members – 10,380 (Basic memberships: 5,349; Concessional memberships: 2,652; Gold memberships: 366; Junior memberships: 19; Party Patron memberships: 94; Platinum memberships: 281; “Previous year” memberships: 132; Secondary branch memberships: 38; Young Liberals membership: 1,449).
National Party (NSW Division): Total membership – 4,466* (1,061 Ordinary single members; 2,088 members as ordinary member couples; 580 pensioner/retiree single members; 518 pensioner/retiree couples; 16 sponsor singles; 32 sponsor couples; 125 Young Nationals concessional memberships; and 46 various/ad hoc memberships.)
Shooters and Fishers Party: Total members – 546 (324 Ordinary members; 222 concessional memberships).
The Greens: Total members – 3,943 (1,423 “salaried” members; 21 “waged” members; 911 “low income” members; 1201 “Consession” (sic) members; and 387 Young Greens.
Interestingly, on their own declarations, the paid memberships for the Animal Justice Party and the Shooters and Fishers Party do not reach the 750 member threshold required for continued registration as a political party in NSW.
(* Both the Christian Democrats and The Nationals offer couples rates for memberships.
As the number of memberships in this category for the Christian Democrats was an odd number, I have assumed this represented the number of couples, and multiplied by two.
The Nationals membership numbers in these categories were even numbers, and roughly equivalent to the number of individual members in each category, so I have left as is. If the couples categories are doubled, the Nationals membership would be 7,702).