Australian sex party deregistered
Human rights campaigner, lawyer, pole dancer and Australian Sex Party (ASP) senate candidate Zahra Stardust (aka Marianne Leishma) Getty

Australia's Sex Party has said that it had been deregistered after the country's election watchdog ruled it did not have enough activists.

Co-founder Robbie Swan said in a statement that the party would "vigorously" appeal a decision handed down by the Australian Election Commission (AEC) that removed its official status following a review of its membership.

It is known for its salacious name and election day antics.

Under Australian law a political party must have either an elected representative in the federal parliament or 500 members to keep its registration. The Sex Party has one elected politician in the Victoria state legislature, but none at federal level, reported Reuters.

Swan rejected the AEC's finding that it had fallen below the 500-member threshold.

The Sex Party is primarily comprised of young people who change addresses frequently, do not have home phone numbers and are much more transient than traditional party voters, Swan said.

"They are gaming the system against minor parties," he said on the group's website.

He added: "There'd be many reasons why they wouldn't want to admit to that, some people. You know, a husband with a conservative wife, who joined up at Sexpo, or whatever.

"It's just so dodgy and it's unrepresentative and it's not fair."

The Australian Sex Party, registered in 2009, had its roots in the adult entertainment industry lobby group Eros Foundation, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported.

The group is well known for its energetic performance on election day, where its presence at some inner-city polling stations in Sydney and Melbourne often seem to match those of the major parties.

Young activists sporting shirts emblazoned with cheeky slogans such as "The Australian Sex Party: where you come first" or "We're serious about sex", are known to follow voters for entire city blocks in a bid to secure their vote.

Following the ruling, the Sex Party will still be able to field candidates but will not be able to put its name on ballot papers or receive federal funding available to registered parties.