The Pirate Party proudly supports the American people in their protests against the troubling treatment of immigrants and refugees to their country. The freedom which allows the people to speak out against cruel and unjust laws is vital to a healthy democracy. The targetting of specific races, cultures or faiths will only divide communities, rather than unite them. It is promising to see that the American people are still willing to welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Even if their government is not.

“We think that Australia has much to learn from America in this matter” said Simon Frew, Pirate Party President. “We do not treat refugees well in Australia. We do not give them a fair go. Amnesty International has called us out on our “Appalling abuse” and “neglect of refugees on Nauru”[1]. Australia has even published the “World’s Harshest Anti-Immigration Ad”[2] in an attempt to alienate us from those seeking refuge.”

The US has agreed to take on the refugees that Australia refuses to accept, and we have been told that Australia will follow the example of Trump on border protection policies[3]. The Pirate Party does not stand for the values projected by Malcolm Turnbull’s government, and asks all Australians to stand and voice their opposition to this government’s treatment of asylum seekers.

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Since reports first surfaced of issues with Centrelink’s new data matching systems linked to Australian Tax Office data, Pirate Party Australia’s social media accounts have been swamped with stories of incorrect debt claims going back many years, including debts from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

It is clear from many reports that Centrelink is automatically generating flawed debts based on algorithms that will obviously produce incorrect results[1], this new attempt by the government to crassly reduce spending on social security has revealed their true policy: to treat anyone who makes a legitimate claim as guilty until proven innocent.

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Yesterday, private, mostly foreign owned, rent-seeking copyright maximalists and distribution monopolists celebrated on the dying corpse of Internet freedom in Australia, joyfully cheering in a censored Australian Internet by blocking torrent sites through major Australian ISPs[1]. Their attempts to control how people access content online will be little affected by their supposed gains because they simply don’t understand how the Internet works at a technical or social level. Their attempts as blocking “torrent” sites are laughable despite these companies trying to paint this as a big win.

“Corporations, some of which pay no company tax in Australia[2], yet pay large donations to political parties[3] are using this decision to paint a picture of despicable internet villans using technology to put the entertainment industry out of business,” said Michael Keating, Deputy President of Pirate Party Australia. “In reality, all Australians want is access to media content at a fair price and at the right time, and this decision does nothing to address this issue. If anything, it reinforces the monopoly these companies hold in refusing Australian’s access to content. This also demonstrates how content distribution companies are willing to twist our legal system in their favour by demanding censorship.”

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The Pirate Party welcomes the news that the Greens have adopted an evidence-based policy on drug use that focuses on harm minimisation[1].

“The Pirate Party’s policy has always been evidence-based, and we support many of the harm minimisation techniques that the Greens have now adopted. It’s good to see that Australians are increasingly seeing the need for policy developed on a firm basis of evidence,” commented Pirate Party President Simon Frew. “Drug policies should focus on reducing harm to individuals and society, not just criminalising recreational users and addicts.”

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In August 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics attempted to run the 2016 Census. The Census was plagued by privacy issues and technical mishaps, in what is potentially Australia’s biggest privacy blunder of the year. For the first time since the Census began, the ABS had decided to not only take down your name and address, but also store these details and link them together with other data sets. The Pirate Party would love to explain which data sets now are intrinsically linked to your information, but it turns out that not even the ABS has the answer to this question.

On Thursday 24 November 2016, the Senate Economics References Committee delivered its report on the 2016 Census[1]. The report shows that the ABS ignored the results of a privacy assessment conducted by an external reviewer in 2005, an assessment which showed that retaining names and addresses had serious privacy implications. Instead, they decided to run their own internal privacy assessment in 2015, which surprisingly came to the complete opposite decision. The ABS then concluded on the basis of this self-run privacy assessment, along with a whole three submissions from the public (all of which expressed negative doubts about the retention of names), that retaining names was definitely a good idea.

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