The results of Pirate Party Australia’s July 2016 National Congress are in!
The Pirate Party held its National Congress in Hobart on July 23—24 for the purposes of amending the Party Constitution, amending and adopting policies and deciding leadership positions, and as an opportunity for members of the Party to socialise in person. The results of the now-concluded week-long voting period can be announced. The Party had a turnout of approximately 21% from a pool of 1,316 participants.
Despite the serious privacy concerns first raised by the Pirate Party in March, and now shared by thousands of Australians as well as the Greens, Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has continued to forge ahead with the invasive 2016 Census. For the first time the ABS is planning to keep names for four years, linking very personal information asked by the Census questionnaire. Like many, the Pirate Party has raised objections to the collection of identifying information, and now calls on the ABS to declare the giving of “Name” and “Address” optional.
“The ABS has not properly consulted with the Australian public on this new, more invasive version of the Census,” said Simon Frew, President of the Pirate Party. “Names are not required by law according to former Australian Statistician Bill McLennan [PDF], and it is difficult to see how names could help with statistical analysis. Collecting names does, however, increase the danger of privacy breaches for Australian citizens which, given the ABS has been subject to 14 data breaches in the last three years, is particularly concerning. A simple way for the ABS put many Australians at ease is to make it optional for people to give their names and address.”
The Pirate Party’s commitment to privacy and digital rights is reflected by it topping the election scorecards of Electronic Frontiers Australia, Digital Rights Watch, and the Australian Privacy Foundation. As the closing arguments of the first website blocking case under section 115A of the Copyright Act was heard in the Federal Court, the Pirate Party seeks to put digital rights and freedoms of the 2016 federal election agenda.
“This is precisely the type of court case that the Pirate Party was formed to try to stop,” said Victorian Senate Candidate Lachlan Simpson. “Censorship of the Internet is not something that should be tolerated in a free society regardless of threats to media business models. We now live in an information rich world, and it is incumbent upon media organisations to adapt to the technology rather than try to lock it up behind court-enforced website blocking that is, in practice, largely ineffective. Censoring the Internet to try to limit access to content is akin to scribes wanting to ban the printing press to ensure their jobs.”
“Pirate Party Australia is pleased to announce our basic income policy,” said NSW senate candidate Sam Kearns. “Technology is going to impact on work in many ways, abolishing many jobs that currently employ thousands of people. Work will become increasingly uncertain and many people will find themselves without the means to survive. We have a choice as a society, do we want to create an antagonism between workers and the machines that are replacing them? Or do we want to ease the social cost of automation by ensuring everyone has a solid economic foundation that reduces the economic and social damage of people losing their job?”
“The current welfare system is woefully inadequate to deal with these coming changes,” Mr Kearns continued. “Where other parties support people languishing on the dole, barely able to keep their heads above water, we propose granting all Australians a basic income regardless of situation. This will reduce the labyrinthine bureaucracy running our social security system and provide certainty for anyone unfortunate enough to lose their job.”
Pirate Party Australia has completed its initial member ballot for our preference orders for the 2016 federal election.
These results will inform the parties and voting order we suggest on our How to Vote materials and will influence any possible deals made with other parties.
In keeping with the Pirate Party’s commitment to transparency and participatory democracy, last election the Party pioneered a form of preferencing unprecedented in Australian politics. We have continued to use that process for subsequent elections and this election.
We sent all full members of the party an electronic ballot in which they could rank all registered parties* in order of how they should be preferenced. The ballot allowed for equal rankings and to leave parties with no vote to rank them equal last.
Should any party offer us deals that result in changing this order we are able to run subsequent ballots state by state to approve any such deals.
A final decision on how many parties we list on our How to Vote materials will be made soon.
The resulting order of party preferences are as follows: