EXCLUSIVE

Leyonhjelm

Vowed to oppose all legislation: Senator-elect David Leyonhjelm. Photo: James Alcock

The names ''Liberal'' and ''Labor'' would be quarantined for use only by the major political parties under reforms being considered by the Abbott government to prevent micro parties capitalising on voter confusion.

A tightening of the Commonwealth Electoral Act could spell the end for the Liberal Democratic Party, led by NSW senator-elect David Leyonhjelm.

Senator John Madigan

Digging in: John Madigan, of the Democratic Labour Party. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Victoria senator John Madigan, of the Democratic Labour Party, would also likely be in the sights of the ALP if any reforms succeed. Senator Madigan said ''hell would freeze over'' before he gave up the DLP name.

Senior Liberals are behind the push to stop votes bleeding to little-known parties like the Liberal Democrats. Mr Leyonhjelm infuriated the Liberals when he bagged nearly 10 per cent of the Senate vote in September - scooping $1 million in public funding in the process and nearly ending the political career of assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos.

Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane said Mr Leyonhjelm's success was ''almost entirely at the expense of the Liberal Party''.

The Liberal Democrats received more than 400,000 votes in NSW. When the same group ran as the Liberty and Democracy Party in 2007, it drew just 17,000 votes.

Parliament's joint standing committee on electoral matters has been tasked with reviewing last year's election and Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson has signalled potential reforms to prevent preference harvesting by micro parties such as the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, whose candidate, Ricky Muir, snuck into Parliament on 0.5 per cent of the primary vote.

But Fairfax Media understands the matter of name recognition could also become a central issue for the committee to consider.

The Howard government tried and failed to tighten the system after a party calling itself ''Liberals for Forests'' proved a thorn in the side of the Coalition at the 2004 election. The Liberal Party lodged a protest at the registration of the name Liberal Democrats but the Australian Electoral Commission found it complied with the current laws.

Incoming senators have been sounded out on how they would respond to Mr Leyonhjelm, specifically, being affected by reforms. It is understood that the Palmer United group, which includes Mr Muir, said it would not object.

But the government would risk a backlash from Mr Leyonhjelm, who said he would consider voting against all government legislation if it removes his party's name.

''I would have a problem voting with the government if that was to occur,'' he said. ''I've communicated that to some people in the government … It would look about as democratic as something Vladimir Putin would come out with.''

Senator Madigan said: ''Are we going to have a democracy that the major parties want?

''We've been around for 58 years, we're not johnny-come-latelys.''

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