On Friday August 31st, whistleblower Chelsea Manning was due to fly into Australia on a speaking tour about her experiences and activism.

Chelsea Manning was a key participant in the 2010 video leaks of a 2007 US air strike in Baghdad. Those leaks revealed the killing of two Reuters journalists and multiple civilians, considered by some to be war crimes.[1] However, once her actions were discovered, she was sentenced to 35 years in jail across multiple charges, serving seven of them until her sentence was commuted by Barack Obama. Her convicted charges included espionage, theft, computer fraud and breaches of military regulations. The information was published by Wikileaks.[2]

While some Americans call her a traitor for actions, we in the Pirate Party offer her support for her brave actions in revealing the inhumane actions of the US armed forces in Baghdad. Under official Party Policy[3][4] we have a commitment to offer diplomatic aid to overseas whistleblowers who have acted in the public good; we consider Chelsea Manning to have done so. On the same basis we support aid to whistleblower Edward Snowden who revealed mass US government spying on European and Australian citizens in 2013 and now forced to seek asylum from the US, and to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who has been under indefinite detention in the London Ecuadorean Embassy since 2012 to avoid being extradited to the US.

Party President Miles Whiticker said, “In the face of unjust laws, it is the duty of all moral individuals to agitate for change. We do not advocate breaking the law. However, we do seek the strongest protections for whistleblowers in national and international law, whether they are exposing war crimes overseas or corruption and fraud within Australia.”

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Pirate Party Australia supports moves by Australian Citizens to opt out of the Federal Government’s MyHealth Record System. Many flaws within the system have been exposed by the Australian media since the Opt Out period began on 16 July, 2018.

While Pirate Party Australia supports a national system of electronic health records in principle, the MyHealth Record systems fails to provide the basic privacy safeguards that should be enforced for such a system, combined with a mandatory Opt Out system rather than Australian Citizens being asked to opt in.

“The MyHealth Record system as it was initially rolled out looks like a lazy and poorly thought out IT project,” stated Pirate Party President Miles Whiticker. “This is a continuation of the Federal Coalition Government’s shocking record on IT infrastructure and privacy matters. It should only ever have been an Opt In system,” Miles continued, “and while we understand that the issue has since been rectified, that initially Australian Law Enforcement Agencies would not have required a warrant or court order to access the information held on MyHealth Record is concerning to Pirate Party Australia and should be to all privacy advocates.”

“Pirate Party Australia would encourage all Australian Citizens to opt out of MyHealth Record before the current 15 October 2018 deadline.”

How to opt-out of My Health Record, courtesy of the Australian Privacy Foundation:

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The results of Pirate Party Australia’s July 2018 National Congress are in!

The Pirate Party held its National Congress in Brisbane on July 78. Congresses are the time when members of the party can propose amendments to the Party Constitution, amend and adopt policies, decide leadership positions, and meet andsocialise in person. Congresses conclude with an online voting period to give all members a sayThe results of the now-concluded week-long voting period can now be announced. 

The Party had a turnout of approximately 21% from a pool of 732 participants.

Thank you to everyone who ran for positions and congratulations to those who were elected.

A reminder that election to the National Council is but one of many ways to contribute to the party. We are always looking for people to help on the press team, design team, in policy development, social media, writing submissions, research and so on, or just be an ongoing voice in the party. With an election in prospect, we have a particular opportunity to make a difference and shake things up this year. To get involved, email [email protected]

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While we appreciate the initiative that the Australian Greens have made in putting a version of Universal Basic Income (UBI) forward, Pirate Party Australia long ago developed the idea into a practical and costed policy that is good for Australia.

While some criticisms of the Greens’ approach are valid, our own UBI policy has many fundamental differences. However, many criticisms of the Greens’ UBI policy are unfair and only show the ignorance of the critic, often being based on “intellectual guilt by association”, without any real engagement with the detail.

The Pirate Party UBI policy is not a universal payment to all, but rather part of an integrated taxation and welfare system, where an citizen earning $40,000 a year pays no tax nor receives any benefit. Above this income, they pay tax. Below this income, their income is topped up to a maximum of $15,000 a year, representing an effective UBI.

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