Australians have witnessed a shocking erosion in their civil liberties over the last 17 years. The Labor and Liberal parties, working together, have imposed additional restrictions on civil liberties every year since 2001. These have included:

  • Internet censorship and web blocking, with the list of websites rapidly expanding.
  • Criminal penalties for investigative journalists who view documents which government agencies wish to conceal.
  • Laws forcing ISPs to collect metadata for warrantless access by authorities. After promising tight controls, the law has created an open slather, with Australians’ internet histories now being trawled more than 1,000 times a day by dozens of agencies not mentioned in the original law[1].
  • New powers to monitor private communications, retrospective warrants, higher penalties for whistleblowing, extra powers to cover up scandals such as the East Timor bugging, and many more besides.

One of the worst of these laws came along at the end of 2018, when the major parties colluded to rush through the new Assistance and Access Bill.

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Earlier this week, the Copyright Amendment Act 2018 passed both houses of Parliament with members from the Liberals, Nationals, Labor and Greens all speaking out in support. Despite attempts by lobby groups to push the bill through without consultation, a two week period was given for the public to offer submissions. Pirate Party Australia joined with Electronic Frontiers Australia, Australian Digital Alliance, Google, Internet Association of Australia, Digital Industry Group, Communications Alliance and Dr. Matthew Rimmer to criticise this bill. Together we represented a wide cross-section of tech sector and civil society bodies.

We raised multiple critical concerns with the bill, including an expansionary terminology and critical lack of judicial oversight, which will lead to insidious degrees of government-endorsed censorship in Australia by private corporations. Our previous press release covering this amendment can be found here[1] and the full text of our inquiry submission here[2].

We are particularly disappointed by the position taken by the Federal Greens who, while criticising the site blocking provisions, joined with elected members of the Australian Labor Party and Coalition to support passage of the bill. We have consistently endorsed the position of former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam with his support for fair use copyright reform and in opposing creeping surveillance. We hope his resignation does not represent a reversal of the Green’s pro-technology policies.

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In the four years since I began my transition, a year before being Trans was a big public issue, I have searched for a deeper understanding of why I felt like I was in the wrong body since childhood.
Yet to say that it is just a feeling underestimates the overwhelming and profound sadness having to go through puberty as a male and the power of what my body and mind were telling me, that this was all wrong.

But… you deal with it, you suppress your true self so that you don’t get embarrassed, harassed or even killed. That was the 80’s and 90’s for me.

Times have now changed and it seems that everyone has something to say about how Trans people should be treated in society. Much like the recent plebiscite on Marriage Equality.

Being Trans doesn’t make you special, it doesn’t make you rich and it certainly isn’t about drawing attention to yourself. It lowers your job prospects, makes you more susceptible to harassment and the side effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy can be quite profound. So it’s reasonable to expect a safe space to explore your gender if you are questioning it. For me there simply came a point where I couldn’t live a full life without being honest with myself and those around me.

When I came out I was met with love, kindness and compassion. I was also met with hate, bigotry, misconceptions, mental abuse and assault, all of the things I had feared for more than three decades. It felt like nothing much had changed.

What you would hope with being Trans, now with all the public attention around it, is that Trans people would have the freedom and right to explore who they are. However, it’s groups like Binary Australia (formerly the anti-marriage-equality lobby group Marriage Alliance and closely associated with the Australian Conservatives party), who are trying to make this impossible for those who don’t fit into a binary gendered world.

I recognise and understand what they are attempting to do, we’ve seen similar hate groups in our history before. It’s groups like these that use fear mongering and hate to further their agenda, which really has nothing to do with Trans people but serves as a platform to attain power for themselves while suckering susceptible voters into believing that they are standing for a legitimate cause.

Hatred of Trans and Intersex people will never be a legitimate cause. The Pirate Party and LGBTI allies will fight them at every turn.

The Pirate Party’s position statement on Transgender and Intersex issues can be read here:

Sara Joyce
Senate Candidate (NSW)
Pirate Party Australia


Sara Joyce

Our submission has been made to the government on the latest proposed overreaches to a business first copyright lobby legislation.

We made a point of highlighting how our recommendations from previous years have been ignored, and indeed multiple governments for years have been ignoring recommendations from civil society bodies into implementing key copyleft provisions into Australian law. This latest overreach contains serious concerns including the removal of judicial oversight from arbitrary site blocking and expansionary overly broad terminology which carries the threat of insidious corporate and governmental censorship. The full submission [1] can be found on the inquiry web page [2].

Our ideal world is one where fair use provisions are protected, where monopolist IP lockdowns are busted, where all people have access to our culture and media with reasonable remuneration to the creators and not a parasitic industry built off their backs.

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Julian Assange has been charged under seal by the US Government, confirming what has been long suspected.

As the result of a cut-and-paste error [1], the US Government has revealed what was suspected all along – that the US Government has been secretly working to prosecute Assange to the full extent of their available laws. Assange has claimed this all along, and this new evidence shows his concerns were justified.

The Pirate Party supports all whistleblowers. Wikileaks publications have assisted in revealing government crimes, distortions and public lies, where the US Government has been known to hide inconvenient truths under the cover of security.

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