Ahoy

Pirate Party Australia has held our first strategy meeting last Wednesday the 13th of January. It was a successful meeting and we aim to hold another strategy meeting on Wednesday February 10 to discuss fund raising and anything else that people think we need to discuss.

We had a good discussion about our relations with other minor Parties and have a better idea what we should do going forward. We also discussed how to set up State branches, with the long term aim of participating in State elections. I will go into further detail below.
Here are the minutes from the strategy meeting: https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Minutes/Strategy_Meeting/2016-01-13

State Election Committees

To get the organisational experience to form State branches we have decided to form State based election committees. The aim is to get potential candidates and anyone else keen to help out working towards the Federal Election this year. It will involve fund raising, campaigning to spread the word about our general awesomeness and getting materials ready for the Federal Election. After the election we plan to use the State Election Committees as the basis of emergent State Councils.
The draft terms of reference for State Election Committees is here: https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/State_and_Territory_Election_Committee

If you would like to participate in these Committees and maybe enter the election as a Pirate Party candidate please email the National Council as soon as possible at: [email protected]

Membership Database System

Late last year we put out a tender for a new membership database system. The winning submission was from ThoughtWorks, who are providing a massive discount due to their belief in what we are trying to build. The initial cost will be $10,500 (including Pozible fees) with a stretch goal of $21,000 for a membership database system with all of the trimmings. The completed system will be open source and useful to political Parties and non-government organisations well beyond our own Party.

We have approached the Alliance for Progress and plan to speak with NGOs and other minor parties to help raise the funds. We are also launching a Pozible campaign to assist in raising the money and we will need your help to contribute directly and to help spread the word on social media. We will link to the campaign in the next member mailout.

CS:GO

We held the Counter Strike: Global Offensive Tournament against r/CircleJerkAus last Sunday night. Sadly we were defeated, but we helped raise $609 for the Fred Hollows Foundation and had a good time. We’d like to thank everyone who donated and participated. Despite not winning the funds, it also resulted in some good publicity for the party. You can find links to more information about the tournament and the video replay in our discussion forums.

Treasurers Report

We’ve wrapped up an interesting year on the financial front – with highlights including an epic battle with paypal and a post-election submission to the AEC.
Read all about it here: https://pirateparty.org.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Financial_report_Congress_2015_Final.pdf.
This report is later than usual – we have changed to a Xero accounting system and things should faster and easier in the long run. (This report is an updated version of the interim report submitted at congress)

Now we’re gearing up for another intense year, with an election to contest and lot of funds to raise. Big thanks to every past and future donor!

This announcement has also been posted in our discuss forum here:
https://discuss.pirateparty.org.au/t/party-update-jan-2016-pirate-party-australia/650
If you wish to discuss this announcement, please feel free to do so there.

Happy New Year!

As proposed in the monthly update for December, we are holding a strategy meeting this coming Wednesday, January 13 at 8:30pm AEDT in IRC:
https://pirateparty.org.au/irc/

There are two proposed topics, relations with other Parties and the formation of State branches.

I have written posts on Discuss to give some background and inform debate. They are here:

Relations with smaller Parties:

State Branches:

Please come along and share your thoughts or add them to Discuss, particularly if you can’t make it.

In other current news for the party:

Work is now well underway on our membership management software system, expect more news about that in the near future.

We also have the Counterstrike Global Offensive Fundraiser this Sunday, against r/CirclejerkAus. There is over $600 in the kitty and if we win it will help fund our next election.
If you are an ok CS:GO player and wish to raise your hand to join the pirate team, there is still time.
There is more info here: https://discuss.pirateparty.org.au/t/counter-strike-global-offensive-fundraiser/619

There has been some media attention of the event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs9w-GxWcQM and “Posty” from r/CirclejerkAus has made a hype video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJjLYQnWiWM

To ensure you stay up to date with future monthly updates and other announcements, please make sure you subscribe to the Party Announcement mailing list here: http://lists.pirateparty.org.au/

Kind Regards,

Simon Frew
President
Pirate Party Australia

The Pirate Party welcomes the long-anticipated release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (‘TPP’), available from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.[1] However, the Pirate Party remains firmly opposed to the agreement itself and calls on the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties to recommend it not be ratified.

“After years of secret negotiations the text has been revealed, and it should be deeply concerning to all Australians,” said Simon Frew, President of the Pirate Party. “Most concerning of all are the investor-state dispute settlement (‘ISDS’) provisions which create a two-tiered legal system in which foreign-owned businesses gain special rights to sue the Australian government if policies or regulations hurt their interests. These cases are run through international tribunals which have none of the accountabilities and appeal mechanisms which operate in domestic courts.”[2]
Continue reading

In less than a year, Pirate Party Australia will be contesting its second Federal election. With data retention having passed, a fifth wave of security laws in the works, further censorship proposals for the internet, and more copyright restriction in the wake of the TPP, there’s a lot to push back against. Our political system is rotten, monopolistic, and in desperate need of renewal.

But elections are expensive — it costs $24 000 in nomination fees just to contest each state. Our estimate assumes that the major parties will not jack up the price as they did right before the last election!

Our current bank balance is approximately $8,000 which is only enough to cover candidate fees in two states.

Basic election materials such as how to vote flyers and corflute signs cost thousands of dollars more. At the last election we contested in four states (not counting the WA re-run).

Below is the list of our main expenses from the last Federal Election campaign:

Candidate nomination fees: $16,000
Corflute sign printing: $2,546.50
Advertising in MX Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne: $6,593.40
How to Vote flyer printing: $2020 (4 designs. 20,000 for each of 3 states and 6,000 for 1 state)

With so much at stake, we have to prepare in advance so that we can run the best campaign possible. Given the risk of an early election, we need to start building a warchest now with a target of $40,000 to ensure we can cover nomination fees and produce essential campaign materials.

While every donation makes a difference, we urge those who can afford it to set up regular transfers. A regular stream of funds could facilitate us also reaching our goal of hiring a paid staff member to lighten the bureaucratic burden on the (entirely volunteer) National Council members, freeing us up to campaign harder on issues which define our Party. This is a goal which we will pursue with vigour once we have enough money in the bank to contest the next election.

For more information on how to help, go to our “Election Warchest Campaign” page at: https://pirateparty.org.au/warchest/

Thank you again for all your support.

Kind Regards,

Simon Frew
President
Pirate Party Australia

Mandatory data retention is set to come into effect on 13 October 2015. Despite the certainty of this date, there remains considerable uncertainty within the communications industry as to what data needs to be retained to comply with the law. Among this confusion the Attorney-General’s Department has advised the industry that exemptions to the data retention regime will be revoked if their existence is publicised[1]. This is despite the legislation not specifically requiring exemptions remain confidential. The Department has argued that this is to “prevent exposing gaps in data retention legislation to be exposed to criminals”.

“The Government and the Attorney-General’s Department would have the communications industry lie down and accept its fate,” commented Michael Keating, Deputy President of the Pirate Party. “The fact is that the industry has been ignored in the Government’s push to involve itself in every individual’s and business’ communication in Australia. Not only are they dismantling the right to privacy, they want to silence anyone who challenges them, while at the same time expecting everyone to pay for the ‘privilege’. There should be no room for attacking transparency in Australia, but the Attorney-General’s Department seems willing to do this on the flimsy excuse provided.”

With the commencement of the mandatory data retention regime just around the corner, both Kmart[2] and David Jones[3] recently experienced online data breaches resulting in unauthorised access to customer details. These breaches raise serious concerns around the storage of individual’s data once the data retention regime is in operation. Internet service providers have already indicated that they would have no hesitation in storying the data overseas[4], but there is little information about security measures to prevent unauthorised access. With the stored data being capable of exposing individual’s day-to-day activities (as ABC reporter Will Ockenden’s social experiment demonstrated in August[5]), it is the perfect target for hackers wishing to access and abuse that data. The Government appears happy to use smoke and mirrors to cover this issue.
Continue reading