Why call yourselves the Pirate Party?

Our name might seem silly at first, but you have to remember everyone has been called a “pirate” for the last few decades. The movie studios and recording companies have placed their propaganda in front of every DVD you’ve legitimately purchased or movie you’ve watched at the cinemas. We’ve been told over and over that home taping on to cassettes would kill the radio, that recording a TV show on to the VCR would bring an end to free-to-air TV or sharing an MP3 music song with a friend will cause the end of musician’s careers, the list goes on, but the truth is we were misled.

We in the Pirate Party have simply decided that if sharing a love for culture, knowledge and information with our friends and family makes us pirates, then that’s what we are and we’re proud of it. We’ve adopted the very term intended to demonise an entire generation for the completely natural impulse to share discoveries with those around us. We’ve claimed the pirate name in the fight for a free, open and renewed democracy in Australia, we hope you’ll join us.

What issues are important to your party?

Pirate Party Australia sees the new space for discussion and sharing as something worth defending. Democracy benefits from transparency, discussion and participation. We exist to campaign for a free society where civil liberties are respected. We believe in the right to privacy for individuals and the need for transparency for organisations. The government is meant to serve the people and by fighting for these principles we believe it can.

These principles are enshrined in Part I of the Party Constitution and are fleshed out in more detail in our current policy set. Click here to check out our current platform.

Our platform is democratically developed. All members are afforded the opportunity to put forward their proposals for a vote at the annual National Congress where policies may be adopted. Members also have the opportunity to put forward policy ideas to the Policy Development Committee who work hard to develop well-written policy sets from simple ideas.

How did the Pirate Party come about?

The first Pirate Party was founded in Sweden in 2006 by Rick Falkvinge, largely in response to a toughening copyright laws. After the raiding of the Pirate Bay website, membership rapidly increased and soon Pirate Parties had formed in numerous countries.

Winning two seats in the European Parliament in 2009, 15 Seats in its first Berlin state election in 2011, a number of local electoral successes and its first national parliamentarian in the Czech Republic in 2012, the Pirate Party is now active in dozens of countries worldwide.

Pirate Party Australia was founded by Rodney Serkowski in 2008 and has grown from a small group of activists to a fledgling political party in the short time since its inception. We look forward to representing our members and the Australian public at large with innovative and relevant policies to shape a better future.

Do you intend to run candidates for Parliament?

Of course we do! At this stage we are focusing our efforts on the Senate, but we wouldn’t necessarily pass up the chance to take a shot at a House of Representatives seat.

Are there any state or territory Pirate Parties?

There sure are. At this stage, there is one fully formed state party in the ACT. So far, members in Queensland, NSW and Victoria have voiced interest in forming state branches as well.

How are Pirate Party decisions made?

Everybody has a say in the Pirate Party! Everyday we put into practice the open democratic principles that we stand for. We have national meetings every fortnight using online chat. All members are welcome to these meetings which are held publicly and this is where any member can communicate with other members, participating, sharing and learning about the pirate ways.

Aside from our general membership, the main governing body of the Pirate Party is the National Council who are elected at the annual National Congress. This congress is where all members of the party can propose and vote for those platforms, policies, constitutional amendments that the party shall formally adopt. Any member can propose policies and amendments as well as stand for preselection as election candidates and/or for election into party positions.

Wherever possible the party strives to achieve consensus in its decision making processes but of course consensus cannot always be obtained and on such occasions members cast their votes on an issue.

There are also regular crew meetings in some states and areas. If there isn’t a scheduled meeting in your state or area, and you want there to be one, let us know and we’ll assist you in starting a crew.

What about new ways of making decisions?

We strive to increase democratic participation and transparency wherever possible and now that we have the technology to allow people to communicate easily we feel that it’s possible for people to have a greater say in government and the decision making processes, both within the party, and on a grander scale.

We are working on an online democratic system based on “liquid democratic” principles. A run-down of the high level requirements we are trying to enshrine into such a system can be found here.

Why should I care about copyright and patents?

Nearly everything around you is covered by copyright and patent law and these laws create a massive tax our society has to pay. At some point we need to ask the question, are these laws really accomplishing the purpose they were created for? We’re here to warn you, they’re not.

Most people believe copyright and patent laws only exist to reward artists and inventors, but this isn’t entirely true. The first copyright and patent laws were enacted hundreds of years ago with a primary aim to ensure a progressive commons, a cultural centre to our society where everyone has fair access to the latest advances of science, from new inventions to discoveries and also access to the latest works in the arts, music, literature and theatre. These laws were created to increase our access and ensure a reasonable incentive was there to create and share. But over the years these noble ambitions have been almost completely lost to the power, money and greed those laws also created.

The creators of this world have lost their rights to middlemen and the scales of fair and reasonable access have fallen heavily against the public. We are all being denied fair access to the cultural and scientific works of our age. Creators aren’t getting rich, though middlemen are, it’s time for reform and that is what the Pirate Party is here to do.

For a deeper analysis on copyright, download the free book, The Case for Copyright Reform, written by Christian Engström and Rick Falkvinge.

Do you accept Bitcoin for donations and membership payments?

Not at this time. We are awaiting a declaration from the Australian Tax Office regarding the tax implications of accepting Bitcoin. As it stands, Bitcoin is not recognised as a currency in Australia, and converting it into Australian Dollars may attract capital gains tax.

We are also required to be able to determine the identity of the person who donated to meet the disclosure requirements of the Electoral Act in case you donate the equivalent of approximately AUD 11000 in one year.

That said, we are actively working toward a solution that will allow us to accept Bitcoin, and it will be implemented once we have a robust solution with minimal administrative burden.

How can I donate?

Click here!

I have a question that wasn’t answered here!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us with your enquiry.