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  • Writer's pictureLincoln Holmes

Family First Victoria vs Family First Victoria: Everything you need-to-know

The story was first covered by 6 News - and Family First has now responded to our questions.

Right now, a battle is playing out between two minor parties in Victoria in a case that's even confusing some political experts.

Two groups are trying to get registered with the Victorian Election Commission ahead of the November election. The only problem? They both have exactly the same name.

This is a story that starts in 2002, when the Family First Party was formed in South Australia. It was labelled by many as part of the 'Christian right', and there were multiple cases of MPs in different states defecting to the party.

Throughout its 15-year existence, it enjoyed some success - mainly in South Australia - and had 3 senators (Steve Fielding from 2005 until 2011, Bob Day from 2014 until 16, and Lucy Gichuhi in 2017).

In April 2017, it merged with the Australian Conservatives. The next month, the Victorian branch of the Australian Christians also merged with the party.

But the Conservatives were itself deregistered just two years later in 2019.

That's where we bring in Family First.

This party was formed in July last year by two former Labor ministers in SA, in an apparent attempt to bring back the original party.

Earlier this year, 6 News exclusively revealed that Family First planned to go national, and wants to run in the Victorian election as Family First Victoria.

And that's where we bring in Family First Victoria.

6 News understands this party was first planned in May 2021 by Lisa Bentley, with no connection to the original Family First.

Family First Victoria had an application for registration received by the VEC in April, while Family First Victoria sent theirs this month.

In a statement provided to 6 News, Family First - the second South Australian one - said they were indeed the original party.

"Family First has been revived with the full support of the original founders of the party and along the same lines."

Despite this, former Family First senator Bob Day - who had since formed the Australian Family Party - has previously said Family First was not the same as the original Family First.

Family First goes onto say that Family First Victoria is an "imposter organisation attempting to gain political advantage by using the good name of Family First."

"We will defend our name and branding. Family First owns the copyrights and trademarks associated with the name and (Lisa Bentley) and FFV are not licensed to use them."

Family First now says they have begun federal court action to prevent FFV from using the name, which is currently ongoing.

The Victorian Electoral Commission tells 6 News that "as party name isn’t registered in Victoria there is nothing to stop the name from being used on 2 different applications," and the party that shows that they have 500 members and complies with all other registration requirements first will be registered first.

The VEC has also confirmed a technical glitch showed an application for Family First Victoria being incorrectly linked to the second Family First Victoria application.

The original Family First last contested a Victorian state election under the name Family First Vic in 2014.

The deadline for parties to apply for registration in Victoria is July 29.

Amazingly, this isn't the first time something like this has happened - a similar case involving Family First played out earlier this year.

According to The Advertiser, Family First South Australia (also called SA Family First) applied for registration with the ECSA after being formed in 2021, before Family First (the one formed by ex-Labor MPs) was registered.

Watch the full report here.

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