With fresh moves afoot to remove the words insult and offend from section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act[1], the Pirate Party calls upon Parliament to get serious about supporting free speech.

“Pirate Party Australia is well aware of the risks around state censorship of opinions,” said Simon Frew, President of Pirate Party Australia. “We fought the Internet censorship laws of the Rudd Government and we opposed the Gillard Government’s attempt to extend section 18C in ways that would have banned causing offence on the grounds of religion and political opinion.”

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“Pirate Party Australia is proud to announce that digital rights are central to our campaign in the 2016 Federal election. Campaigning under the slogan ‘Transparency Liberty Digital Rights,’ or TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read), we aim to reverse the trend of governments operating under an increasingly dense veil of secrecy, whilst subjecting citizens to increasingly intrusive surveillance.” said Lachlan Simpson, Pirate Party candidate for the Victorian Senate.

“The Internet has been under attack from successive governments. The Abbott/Turnbull government has passed a mass surveillance regime and legislation to enable Internet censorship, with the support of the ALP,” continued Lachlan. “We pledge to fight tirelessly for Internet freedom. Pirate Party Australia has an extensive platform on digital liberties[1] and was formed precisely to oppose such attacks on our rights.”

Since 9/11 Australia has passed more than 40 different terrorism related pieces of legislation. These have generally been passed with bi-partisan support and include many attacks on basic human rights[2]. We are now under warrantless mass surveillance[3], journalists can be jailed for reporting on investigations[4], citizens can be detained without charge[5] and ASIO can theoretically hack the entire Internet under a single warrant[6]. Continue reading

Ahoy!

With the success of previous strategy meetings, we have decided to call an open Strategy meeting to discuss the urgent topics of defeating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the first piracy website blocking cases.

This meeting will be held on Tuesday 23 February 2016 at 8:30pm (AEDT) in the #ppau IRC channel, which can be accessed here: https://pirateparty.org.au/irc/

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Today the first test of Australian website blocking laws is being launched. These laws were passed by the Abbott Government last year, and are now being used by Village Roadshow in an attempt to block the free movie streaming site SolarMovie.

"It took them long enough," said Simon Frew, President of Pirate Party Australia. "They have spent years campaigning for these laws, and 'donated' hundreds of thousands of dollars[1][2] to both the Coalition and ALP in an attempt to put the Internet genie back into the bottle. It then took them over six months to launch their first case."

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The Pirate Party condemns the passage of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 through both Houses of Parliament. The legislation means that Australia now joins a list of countries that allows individuals and companies to seek orders to censor websites they allege infringe copyright.

“Today we saw the payoff for rights holders such as Village Roadshow, who have poured over half a million dollars into the coffers of the major parties over the last financial year[1]. These donations show the influence of money on the direction of Australian politics, where censorship will now be employed to prop-up failing business models,” said Simon Frew, Deputy President of the Pirate Party. “This is at best a misguided attempt to protect rights holders from the ‘menace’ of piracy.

“This legislation does not address the underlying reasons why Australians are at the top of the list for online infringement,” Mr Frew continued. “Content for Australian audiences is often released weeks or months after other countries, and often at a higher price, in formats that make access inconvenient, or locked to devices they do not want to use. File-sharing websites provide timely access and often in high-quality formats that consumers can easily use.

“Most Australians are willing to pay if the price is reasonable, and access is both convenient and timely. You only have to look at the rapid uptake of Netflix since it became available in Australia two months ago to see this in action. Giving consumers what they want, when they want it, and at a reasonable price is the most effective way to tackle online copyright infringement.”

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