Pirate Congress 2014/Minutes

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Meeting Minutes
This document is a record of a meeting. Do not edit this document without contacting the relevant group first.


Day One: Saturday, 19 July 2014

[Timestamps relate to the audio recordings which are this stage are not publicly available due to size and other considerations. The recordings may be provided at a later date]

President opens Congress, housekeeping and adoption of standing orders [18:15]

  • Welcome
    • A lighter agenda than other years, which gives us an opportunity to include discussion topics
    • Administrative comments regarding voting procedures etc
    • Attendees at Congress vote on whether things then go to full membership for vote
      • If, for example a policy, is voted down at Congress, then it will not progress to the membership-wide vote
  • Mozart reads standing orders:

PROCEDURAL MOTION: standing orders

  • MOTION: Accept the standing orders as written.
    • Put by: Simon Frew
    • No objections, motion carried unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 11 (George, CAPT-Irrelevant, tserong, David, Wendy_MsGator, Rundll, Aaron, unraveled_SamB, jscinoz, JoeMilesMob, hanrahan); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

Outgoing National Council reports [26:45]

Simon Frew (President)

  • Last 12 months quite a good year for Pirate Party Australia
  • Ran in several elections.
  • Very good results, in Senate election in some places more than 0.5%
    • between 0.3% and 0.5% in places where running agains Wikileaks party
  • Got in the top half of all political parties in Australia
    • considering first election, very small budget, little media profile it was a really good effort - be proud
    • a good foundation from which to go forward
  • The delay in getting registered (barely missing 2010 election due to issues with AEC) was actually very useful to help the party mature
    • Gave us more time to develop our policies/platform, get more organisational experience and solidify our direction & methods
  • Good to see that other parties are adopting our policies or similar.
    • regardless of getting elected or not, we aim to influence society and improve how the government works and if our existence results in that happening, then that is great
    • good to see we have had some progress in that regard
  • Pirate Parties are needed now more than ever in the current political environment.
  • With a government seemingly addicted to secrecy, transparency is essential. Especially in light of disappearance of refugees and proposed draconian copyright reforms, secret TPP negotiations etc
  • With repeal of Carbon tax, assaults on refugees etc, it is good that we have been expanding our platform into these areas.
  • Expanding the platform working quite well and helps us develop a broader appeal, ie with people who care about things beyond our core issues
    • Without this broadening we'd always be limited to a small subsection of society
    • Policies widely supported with the lowest pass percentage being over 80%
  • Need to prepare for future possible double dissolution votes etc and to run in future elections

Daniel Judge (Secretary) [30:35]

  • Increase in memberships
    • Last year was over approx 750 members
    • This year has seen increase of over approx 350+ people
    • Memberships now at approx over 1100
      • Note that an audit needs to be done to ensure any potential duplicates are removed
    • Resignations less than a dozen
  • Number of successful Pozible campaigns run by Brendan for the party
    • FOI's and WA election funding
    • a useful activity for fundraising and achieving goals

Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer (Deputy Secretary) [33:00]

  • Running in elections, while important, is very distracting from our other tasks and activities
  • Been very busy and a lot of work is done by people like Brendan. We need to bring in and engage other members to take the pressure off the core group and generally share the workload
  • The main challenge is how to engage more people than those who can be in front of computer all day

Brendan Molloy (Councillor) [35:30]

  • Round of applause & congrats for all our candidates
  • especially Mel, who ran twice and smashed it in Griffith with 1.5% vote coming fourth
  • also Fletcher for the running in WA at short notice with less ground support due to distance

Melanie Thomas (Deputy President) [37:00]

  • Only minor party to reach 1000 votes in Griffith by-election
  • need to keep the momentum moving
  • developing state branches is important, especially in regard to local/state issues

Financial report

  • arrived late, but not as late as previous years
  • add to agenda for later in the Congress
  • emailed to the announce list
    • due to said lateness, add to the 7day voting period so people have time to look over it
    • if there are issues can hold a special general meeting on IRC to discuss

PROCEDURAL MOTION: Nomination deadline

  • MOTION: Procedural motion: all nominations must be in before the close of the meeting today.
    • Put by: Brendan Molloy
    • No objections, motion carried unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 10 (tserong, Aaron, unraveled_SamB, JoeMilesMob, jscinoz, CAPT-Irrelevant, MalcolmW, David, Rundll, George); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

Guest Speaker: Birgitta Jónsdóttir

  • Birgitta Jónsdóttir: The importance of Pirate Parties in 21st Century Lawmaking
    • Delayed until tomorrow due to a probable timezone confusion

Motions (constitutional, formal and policy) [42:00]

CAP-1: Non-profit clause

Questions and comments

  • Would members with expenses still get reimbursed, or would this potentially cause people to be out-of-pocket?
    • Yes, everyone gets reimbursed for out of pocket expenses, and this explicitly says that continues.
  • Does this impact on Party's ability to sell merchandise for fundraising purposes?
    • No, it does not prevent the Party from generating income, only limits what can be paid for with that income.
  • Note that this also has already been enacted as an operational amendment and has not caused any issues.
  • When something has already been added like this, should there be two votes, one to say that what was done was okay, and then another to actually accept the proposal going forward?
    • If it wasn't approved it would be rejected here at the Congress and any objections or motions to say "it was okay this once, but not again' etc could be raised as motions at the Congress.
    • Also if accepted now, but objected to later, then can be motioned to reject as a new amendment at the next congress.
  • If objecting to the amendment, or want to put a new amendment to this motion, how does one do that considering there is a deadline of 28 days prior to Congress for constitutional amendments?
    • The 28 day period is so that motions put to the Congress aren't randomly edited by the person proposing it in the lead up to congress, but anyone can put an amendment to any of these motions from the floor at the Congress.
    • The 28 days gives you notice to prepare objections to raise form the floor on the day, while what you are objecting to (or attempting to amend) remains consistent.
  • Possible edge case scenario: What happens if someone runs a t-shirt business and the Party procures shirts from them? Do they need to run as non-profit?
    • No. They'd not be acting as a member. Not reimbursement, the party would be purchasing from the business, as a standard business transaction. The business is not a member of the party and is separate. This does not prevent the party from purchasing goods and services from members where the transaction is genuine and legitimate.
    • Same situation if they ran an ISP and hosted our website, they wouldn't have to 'donate' and be reimbursed, we just purchase the service form them.

MOTION: Accept CAP-1

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-1 as worded.
    • Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer, on behalf of the National Council
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 9 (JoeMilesMob, Aaron, CAPT-Irrelevant, tserong, jscinoz, MalcolmW, unraveled_SamB, Rundll, George); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion Carries

CAP-2A: Extend time between National Congresses & CAP-2B: Fix National Congress dates and National Council terms [52:40]

  • There are two competing motions:
  • CAP-2A was passed by NC and the Party Constitution requires that it is formally put to the Congress.
    • CAP-2B may be the preferred option and it was refined later by Brendan.
    • The intent of CAP-2A was to add up to a month between Congresses so the date can be set flexibly.
    • 13months was the smallest change possible to give enough leeway
    • CAP-2A was a temporary measure necessary for this Congress, and not necessarily intended to be permanent
  • CAP-2B solves the same problem in a different way.
    • CAP-2B is the better solution.
    • Fixes the date of the National Congress to during July.
    • Means that the National Congress is unlikely to shift, as CAP-2A could potentially see it shift by up to a month each year so that Congress 2015 would be held in August, Congress 2016 in September, etc.
    • If there is a spill and an emergency National Congress occurs, the new National Council term is fixed to end in July at a new Congress, rather than to go on for a full 12 months and further offset the Congress date.
    • NSW regulations require meetings be in July or thereafter due to End of Financial Year.

Questions and comments

  • Is the seven day voting period considered to be part of the Congress itself?
    • Yes.
    • Should we then change wording to congress must begin in July rather than "be held in July"? Current wording could cause issues if the voting period spilled into August.
    • This needs to be put as a formal amendment.
  • Would it be better to have fixed terms and just say that Congress has to happen prior to the termination of that fixed term (ie fix the term to 1 August)?
    • That's essentially what it says, except that amendment proposal would create a week or two where there is the ambiguity of having no National Council
  • What if the term was fixed from1 August to 31 July and that the Congress should happen prior to the 1 August?
    • Put in a written amendment to propose this.


  • Motion for a 10mins break
    • No opposition

Constitutional amendments (continued)

CAP-2A: Extend time between National Congresses & CAP-2B: Fix National Congress dates and National Council terms (continued) [1:15:30]

  • CAP-2A & CAP2-B tabled for later discussion so that amendments can be written and proposed.

CAP-3: Amend Principles to include evidence-based policy, and deliberative and open government

Questions and comments

  • Can 'evidence-based' be considered broad enough to be interpreted to include the act of gathering evidence in regard to possible policies from a 'what if' standpoint
    • Yes this is the intention of the wording (ie the energy policy is not clear on whether private or public option is better, so let's do research to discover the answer).

MOTION: Accept CAP-3

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-3 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 10 (Rundll, Aaron, jscinoz, JoeMilesMob, unraveled_SamB, David, CAPT-Irrelevant, tserong, MalcolmW, George); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-4: Minor Corrections

Questions and comments

  • Could you please read the full sentence where changed from "should" to "must" as this is more than a grammatical change?
    • https://pirateparty.org.au/constitution/#5.1(1)
    • "Policy development should occur with the maximum possible interaction with the party members - the party should engage in as a participatory process as is possible, and outcomes should be reached through consensus."
  • Now that we've changed to a must, all this is good, but just adding a must on a piece of string like that just makes it a longer piece of string.
    • The (Party) Constitution is all a long sad legalese piece of string ... but this at least eliminates 'weasel words' (such as "feasible" instead of "possible" as well, more strict).
    • "Must" is always a better word than "should" for compelling an action.
  • Is it possible to have a clarification of the difference between 'possible' and 'feasible'
    • Examples given that possible refers to all things that could be done, feasible means all things that could reasonably be done within the context.
  • Regarding Article 6.3(5), does Brendan agree this creates an issue with regard to preselection?
    • https://pirateparty.org.au/constitution/#6.3(5)
    • Specifically relating to the possible short notice of elections etc
    • Being prefaced with "as far as is practicable" provides significant leeway
      • If not able to be done, it won't be done, but if it's able to be done then it must be done.
  • Is that ever really possible with not knowing when elections will always be?
    • It's probably not ever really possible — last time we needed to call special preselection meetings.
    • We retain the ideal and aim to achieve it, but in practical terms, again, the 'as far as is practicable' is the escape clause
    • If we feel one is coming, we can organise in advance.

MOTION: Accept Cap-4

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-4 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 11 (sunnyk, tserong, Rundll, Aaron, unraveled_SamB, heifer, jscinoz, MalcolmW, George, David, JoeMilesMob); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-2A: Extend time between National Congresses & CAP-2B: Fix National Congress dates and National Council terms (returned) [1:34:30]

MOTION: Allow CAP-2B to lapse

  • MOTION: Accept that CAP-2B is the motion that will be put to members if the Congress chooses to accept it, and allow CAP-2A to lapse.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 8 (MalcolmW, Aaron, sunnyk, tserong, unraveled_SamB, heifer, Rundll, jscinoz); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-2B: Fix National Congress dates and National Council terms (continued)

  • Justin Clacherty moves an amendment to CAP-2B to alter the text to replace Article 9.1(1) with:
    • "The positions enumerated within Article 3.3 will be appointed by election through a vote of the Full Members at the National Congress to be held in July, for a term that shall begin August 1 of that year, and will all end July 31 of the following year."
    • Brendan's proposal was a floating fixed term, while Justin's is a constant fixed term.

Questions and comments

  • The change to Congress being fixed to begin in July may affect voting outcome as the results may not be decided until sometime in August
    • This would essentially include a backdating
    • Justin: begins 1 July, ends 31 August, but that could move to be 8 August and 7 August
    • Brendan: part of why it was floating to begin with is because then would it would be closer to the intent of this in practice because it always resulted in it ending in July and beginning as soon as the ending of Congress had occurred. Whereas understanding the intent of the fix term amendment here would be a formal changeover period
    • Justin: Yes, reasoning is to have a transition period in order to avoid difficulties moving between incoming and outgoing National Councils.
      • New intent is a formal changeover period/to have a transition period
      • Gives opportunity for the outgoing NC to enact changes passed at Congress before giving up their roles
    • Brendan: this could be possible either way, but we have a problem if we have an NC that is benevolently trying to enact things before an incoming NC that is opposed to those things takes up their roles.
      • If in practice the NC goes against the will of the Congress, the Dispute Resolution Committee provides recourse.
  • The congress trumps the NC so the NC should be enacting the stuff passed at the Congress regardless
  • The duty of the NC is to enact that which is decided upon at Congress
  • Note: Clarification that it's open to anyone to propose constitutional amendments, it's just that in practice it tends to be NC because the NC raises issues it experiences.
  • Perhaps as a compromise, there would be a benefit to having a formal handover time clarified in.
  • Decision to further table CAP-2B for further amendment
    • No objections

CAP-5: Clarify and remove unnecessary examples from Article 2(1) [1:44:00]

Questions and comments

  • Is it acceptable under state legislation for a state branch to be a subordinate organisation of a federal party?
    • Unaware of any legislative prohibition. State branches are free to do what they want, so long as it isn't in contradiction to the federal party's constitution, policies, etc.
    • Most policy etc should be discussed at a federal level on an equal footing and trickle down. In regard to state issues they can do their own thing. The main purpose is to avoid conflict between federal and state party policies. Certain state issues shouldn't conflict anyway as they are state issues, but a state branch shouldn't contradict a core federal level policy (eg copyright)
  • Can the federal branch dissolve a state party?
    • While we are sure there may be cases where they'd like to, in legal terms they cannot actually do this.
    • A state will actually be an independently registered organisation under the various state laws with own bank account, structure etc etc.
    • This includes that the above is technically an honour bound rational agreement, in legal terms they cannot actually overrule, but this clarifies our intended behaviour
      • In reality the state branch is agreeing to let the federal party overrule it.
      • Constitution states that members must be members of both the state and federal parties, so members of both anyway. People cannot be members of JUST the state or federal branches, unless the party has really fragmented in which case we have many more serious problems.

MOTION: Accept CAP-5

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-5 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan Molloy and Tim Serong
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 13 (SamKearns, Aaron, tserong, sunnyk, Rundll, MalcolmW, mandrke, unraveled_SamB, David, JoeMilesMob, hanrahan, jscinoz, heifer); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-6: Clarify Article 2(5) [1:52:30]


  • Should there be something about automatic referral to the DRC if that happens because clearly there would actually be some kind of dispute?
    • The purpose of DRC is only if they don't agree with the decision, ie if conflict/complaint happens.
      • The state could pass something that unintentionally conflicts, the Federal party could then point it out, ask them to change it, the State branch may then agree to do so; or then if disagree refer the matter to the DRC.
      • Automatic referral forces a dispute where there may not be one, ie the state could happily accept the overruling
  • In that case, then... do we need something where there is a guidelines for when things would be suitable, should get referred to the DRC
    • Further reforming of the DRC is a bigger issue and is on agenda for future discussions, but too big a change to deal with here and now.

MOTION: Accept CAP-6

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-6 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 10 (JoeMilesMob, tserong, sunnyk, Aaron, Rundll, MalcolmW, unraveled_SamB, heifer, mandrke, David); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-7: Update membership requirements and powers in Article 4.1 [1:57:30]

Questions and comments

  • If a person is a member of another party and gets accepted in this one, are there actually remedies for kicking them out?
    • Yes, the Constitution already states that your membership is void, so the NC has the power to terminate your membership
  • Could this affect who is counted as a member for purposes of being registered?
    • No, not in any way. This only affects the requirement for actually joining.
    • If someone joins but is discovered they are not enrolled they can be dropped to associate member if they can't or refuse to enrol
      • Associate members aren't counted for registration purposes
  • But if someone's "not a valid member" then how can they be counted?
    • They aren't
  • Does the NC's discretion allow or include waiving fees for all members for declared periods of time? To allow for recruitment campaigns etc
    • Yes, in addition to financial hardship, this was the intent of this motion. While we've already done such campaigns this formalises our ability to do this and handle situations when they arise
  • It says at the end of first dot point, after the 'membership period has expired'. Should that also include signing up for first time? Do you then have 90 day period to pay upon signup?
    • Yes
  • There seems to be ambiguity on that point.
    • The intent is that your membership doesn't begin until you've actually paid, whereas at the moment you are a member once you join, regardless of payment.
    • Until you've paid your first period you aren't a member. Whereas if you are a member, and it lapses, you have 90 days to pay plus the 30 days.
      • Clarifying: If you are currently not a member, you aren't a member until you pay. Once you pay, you are a member.
      • For current members, once the membership period has lapsed you have 90 days. You are still a member for those 90 days. It is on that 90th day that it permanently laspes (provided 30 days notice is given during that 90 days).
  • Being as it was previously 2 years, this will affect a lot of people in the '2 year' period. There are a lot of people who haven't paid yet.
    • Yes, there are a lot of members who haven't paid yet. Partly because we haven't been able to handle the payment process effectively at all yet.
      • Not having a process to handle this is not a problem for the members, it is a problem for the National Council (ie Brendan needs to finish the join form software)
      • The people who haven't paid are not the issue, the issue is moving forward from this Congress.
      • There could be an amendment for a phase in period of 6 months or something
  • How would I know when my join time was and the period expires?
    • There's a protection in there that states, if the NC fails to tell you, then you still have another 30 days, even if it takes years to for anyone to notice.
      • This will take effect in future once the join form is finished and sorted, so at this stage it makes no material difference
  • Could it be amended from 90 days from point of notice?
    • Yes, but 30 days seems reasonable enough.
    • No amendment put.

MOTION: Accept CAP-7

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-7 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 14 (sunnyk, Rundll, mandrke, MalcolmW, Aaron, JoeMilesMob, unraveled_SamB, hanrahan, George, heifer, David, tserong, SamKearns, VJmes); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-8: Clarify ambiguity of Article 6(6)

Questions and comments

  • How is the meeting facilitator determined?
    • It is determined by the context of the meeting. It would usually be the President or committee chair, or specified by the terms of reference or appointed by the National Council, etc.

MOTION: Accept CAP-8

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-8 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 12 (sunnyk, Aaron, mandrke, David, VJmes, Rundll, JoeMilesMob, heifer, tserong, unraveled_SamB, MalcolmW, jscinoz); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

PROCEDURAL MOTION: Lunch [2:13:00]

  • One hour for lunch.
    • No opposition, passed

Constitutional amendments (continued)


  • To return to CAP-1 for an amendment.
    • no opposition

CAP-1: Non-profit clause (returned)

Questions and comments

  • Wouldn't it make more sense instead of hardwiring it to those dates, to instead match it to the legislation it's required for? This would combat the slim possibility that the legislation may change
    • Specifying the relevant legislation should not be necessary so that if there are any other acts we have missed, this covers it as well, rather than tying it specifically to a certain act
    • It just says we need to specify WHEN our financial year ends, in conjunction with our requirement to have the GM within 6 months of that date, but nothing in regard to what the dates should be
      • Note David Campbell is the Public Officer as defined in accordance to the NSW Legislation (hence why he is speaking on this)


    • MOTION: Amend CAP-1 as follows: Insert the following as Article 1(3): * Pirate Party Australia's financial year shall begin on 1 July and end on 30 June the following year.
    • Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer and David Campbell
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 14 (mandrke, Aaron, JoeMilesMob, tserong, MalcolmW, Wendy_MsGator, David, unraveled_SamB, Rundll, SamKearns, VJmes, hanrahan, heifer, thesunnyk); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-9: Create Article for National Congress Online Voting

Questions and comments

  • Should there be some words around required authentication for online voting to ensure Member identity?
    • If you wish to offer an amendment feel free
    • The intent was to take the original wording and clean for grammatical reasons rather than expanding it


  • Tabled for later discussion so that an amendment can be prepared.
    • No opposition

CAP-10: Correct Ambiguity for Article 11(1)

Questions and comments

  • According to Article 9.1 of the party constitution officers are elected for 12 months; the DRC is a two year term. Is there a conflict?
    • https://pirateparty.org.au/constitution/#9.1(1)
    • Wording is not ideal and should be clarified, but it does state: "and shall form the National Council.".
      • DRC is not part of the National Council so does not apply.
    • This is just a stop-gap measure until such time as the whole section can be properly fixed.
  • Suggestion for a floor motion that a working group is formed to look at fixing the DRC article of the constitution.

FLOOR MOTION: Article 9 Working Group

  • MOTION: Form a Working Group for the purposes of clarifying the contents of Article 9.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 12 (hanrahan, mandrke, SimonJCoyle, JoeMilesMob, Aaron, unraveled_SamB, Rundll, heifer, David, MalcolmW, jscinoz, Wendy_MsGator); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 1 (thesunnyk)
      • Motion carries.

Questions and comments

  • Still seems unclear in the wording: still says 3 to be elected at the congress
    • What happens if someone drops out... should be something there to 'bring the number up to three'
    • That would be a major change, hence the working group (this current amendment a stop gap for now til that group can fix properly)
    • So while this is less than ideal, better to pass a stop gap measure now and spend the time with a working group to address the issue properly
  • In reference to an issue raised with the National Council shortly after the previous National Congress: the wording still says three members of the DRC are to be elected at Congress.
    • What if someone were to resign, should there be something regarding the process to bring the number back up to three?
      • That would be a significant change, and something for the working group to work on.

MOTION: Accept CAP-10

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-10 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 12 (Aaron, SimonJCoyle, Rundll, JoeMilesMob, thesunnyk, mandrke, Wilson, MalcolmW, VJmes, heifer, hanrahan, unraveled_SamB); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-11: Move Article 3.1.1 ["Refusal, Suspension and Expulsion"] to become Article 4.5 ["Membership"]

Questions and comments

  • It doesn't say what to do in regard to the numbering, could we leave the section in there, for numbering, and leave a reference in there with a line to refer people to the new locaton
    • Could be an annotation, rather than keeping it there to retain the current numbering (presentation layer change)
    • Not necessary to put a reference in there as it wouldn't be referred to from anywhere else or externally like legislation for instance, so it would just be retaining a title for now reason.

MOTION: Accept CAP-11

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-11 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 14 (tserong, JoeMilesMob, Aaron, hanrahan, VJmes, SimonJCoyle, Wendy_MsGator, thesunnyk, Rundll, unraveled_SamB, Wilson, heifer, mandrke, David); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-12: Standardise Election of Registered Officer

MOTION: Accept CAP-12

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-12 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 10 (tserong, JoeMilesMob, Aaron, Rundll, SimonJCoyle, thesunnyk, mandrke, David, unraveled_SamB, heifer); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.


  • That next break be at 2:30 or whenever what is being discussed at 2:30 finishes.
    • no objections, carried.

CAP-13: Requirement for National Congresses to have online participation (3:57:00)

Questions and Comments

  • The word "feasible" in that statement; move it to the start to make EVERYTHING as feasible
    • Use of 'and' as introducing ambiguity
  • See proposed Amendment:
    • Every feasible effort must be taken to ensure that there is some accessible and equitable mechanism available for remote participation at the National Congress.

MOTION: Amend CAP-13

  • MOTION: Amend the proposal text in CAP-13 to read: Every feasible effort must be taken to ensure that there is some accessible and equitable mechanism available for remote participation at the National Congress.
    • Put by: ?
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 14 (hanrahan, SamKearns, SimonJCoyle, mandrke, heifer, Wilson, tserong, unraveled_SamB, JoeMilesMob, Rundll, Aaron, David, Wendy_MsGator, thesunnyk); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 () aye
      • Motion carries.

MOTION: Accept CAP-13

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-13 as amended.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 13 (Wilson, Aaron, SimonJCoyle, JoeMilesMob, Rundll, hanrahan, tserong, thesunnyk, David, heifer, Wendy_MsGator, unraveled_SamB, SamKearns); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
    • Motion carries.

CAP-14: Announcement criteria for National Congress (4:03:50)

  • Mozart: proposed amendment to insert "and financial report" after "agenda" since the financial report is also quite important.

MOTION: Amend CAP-14

  • MOTION: Amend CAP-14: insert "and financial report" after "agenda".
    • Put by: Mozart
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 12 (JoeMilesMob, SimonJCoyle, Wilson, Aaron, unraveled_SamB, Wendy_MsGator, mandrke, Rundll, thesunnyk, heifer, tserong, hanrahan); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.
  • Penalty for not doing this is really that it should count against the NC for re-election, because they are expected to have had this done.

MOTION: Accept CAP-14

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-14 as amended.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Ayes: 12 (Rundll, Aaron, Wendy_MsGator, SimonJCoyle, unraveled_SamB, JoeMilesMob, mandrke, Wilson, hanrahan, tserong, heifer, thesunnyk); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-15: Insert a new part: Definitions

  • Typo, missing "to" found in CAP-15:

MOTION: Amend CAP-15

  • MOTION: Amend CAP-15 where "for it carry" appears to read "for it to carry".
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 13 (Aaron, SimonJCoyle, thesunnyk, unraveled_SamB, JoeMilesMob, heifer, mandrke, Wilson, Rundll, tserong, Wendy_MsGator, VJmes, SamKearns); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 1 (hanrahan)
      • Motion carries.

Questions and Comments

  • Some clarifications as to the maths with the remainder handling explained
    • Eg, if you had 101 people, half of that is 50.5, you drop the 0.5 to equal 50 then add one to make a majority needed of 51.
    • ensures no confusion over whether any existence, after division, of half a person or count should be added
    • Less ambiguous than just rounding up to the full one, ie making it super explicit so that there are no arguments over what to do with remainders in future.

MOTION: Accept CAP-15

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-15 as amended.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 15 (mandrke, Wilson, Aaron, heifer, tserong, thesunnyk, hanrahan, SamKearns, Rundll, unraveled_SamB, SimonJCoyle, Wendy_MsGator, MalcolmW, JoeMilesMob, David); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-16: Clarify some references to majorities and quorum (04:14:45)

Questions and Comments

  • Should the para in 6(5) just be removed since we never tend to in IRC go through this member checking process. Should it just be a simple majority to remove any non-members if we choose to identify members etc
    • Note that the motion changes proposed are just to clarify the majorities outlined in them. The paragraph could use amending since it is a bit silly as we never put this one in practice, but again, just looking at the minimal change. Probably something to consider for next year.
  • The quorum for any motion to accept the minutes of a previous meeting is set at the number of Councillors who attended that meeting. - Does that mean that ALL Councillors who attended the previous meeting need to be present at the current meeting to accept the minutes of a previous meeting?
  • No. That is why it was added there, as currently that is the case. This changes it to be that if there are sufficient people present in the next one then they can accept it and move on.
    • If there is need to add correction in the future it can be added in the minutes of the next meeting. This allows us to pass and move on and state 'official' as far as people are concerned and NC takes responsibility for any errors.
  • With the bit about quorum, and majorities, the bit 2/3 or 5; how does that work out if you find yourself with a much reduced council for some reason?
    • You have to call an immediate National Congress.
    • If NC drops below 5 members, you cannot call a quorate meeting.
    • Can arise in certain weeks in situations of sickness etc, if enough are absent you cannot hold that meeting.
  • How to we call an emergency congress without enough NC to pass motion to call an emergency congress
    • Checking constitution: seems unresolved
      • Suggestion to pass a floor motion to require that we look into resolving this problem.

FLOOR MOTION: NC Quorum issues Working Group

  • MOTION: Floor motion: a working group is to be created for the purposes of solving the problem of mass resignations of the National Council or otherwise being unable to become quorate for a set period of time, resulting in no ability to call a formal National Congress.
    • Put by: xxx
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 12 (SimonJCoyle, hanrahan, Rundll, Aaron, thesunnyk, JoeMilesMob, tserong, unraveled_SamB, Wendy_MsGator, Wilson, heifer, MalcolmW); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

MOTION: Accept CAP-16

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-16 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 14 (hanrahan, SimonJCoyle, Wendy_MsGator, unraveled_SamB, Aaron, Wilson, VJmes, heifer, tserong, Rundll, mandrke, thesunnyk, JoeMilesMob, David); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

  • As passed in earlier motion, time for a break - with return at 2:50

CAP-2B: Fix National Congress dates and National Council terms (Continued with further Amendment)

  • Amendment put by David Crafti and supported by Justin and Brendan
    • The members who are elected to positions on the National Council at the National Congress will take up those positions seven (7) days after the result is announced.
    • The outgoing members of the National Council must hand over and communicate as much relevant knowledge as is feasible.

Questions and Comments

  • Is there a requirement to how soon results are announced after the vote
    • This could also be an item considered by the working group
    • We could solve this today by convention, at congress, by stating that the election must occur within a reasonable time from conclusion of congress?
  • It would be good to include a 'care taker' style paragraph for that period
    • Can put an amendment, but at the moment we do this by convention already
  • No amendment at this time, happy to proceed


  • MOTION: Insert the proposed amendment text to the last proposal text item of CAP-2B.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 13 (Wilson, thesunnyk, Aaron, unraveled_SamB, tserong, dotnetdave, VJmes, Rundll, SimonJCoyle, JoeMilesMob, Wendy_MsGator, MalcolmW, mandrke); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.


  • MOTION: Accept CAP-2B as amended.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 14 (JoeMilesMob, Wilson, Aaron, SimonJCoyle, mandrke, Rundll, MalcolmW, hanrahan, thesunnyk, Geoff, dotnetdave, tserong, VJmes, Wendy_MsGator); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-9: Create Article for National Congress Online Voting (Continued with Amendment)

  • 'Voter Authentication' amendment:
    • Insert as paragraph (3) to the proposed text: "The online voting system must ensure that only Full Members can vote, and that each member can only vote once per poll."
    • Clarification: we do already do this.


  • MOTION: Amend CAP-9: Insert as paragraph (3) to the proposed text: "The online voting system must ensure that only Full Members can vote, and that each member can only vote once per poll."
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 15 (VJmes, SimonJCoyle, Wilson, Aaron, tserong, Wendy_MsGator, unraveled_SamB, Geoff, MalcolmW, Rundll, thesunnyk, hanrahan, mandrke, JoeMilesMob, David); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

MOTION: Accept CAP-9

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-9 as amended.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 13 (hanrahan, dotnetdave, Wilson, Aaron, Rundll, unraveled_SamB, thesunnyk, VJmes, Wendy_MsGator, MalcolmW, mandrke, David, tserong); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-17: Make "Pre-Selection of Candidates for Election to Federal Parliament" a top level Article (4:50:00)

Questions and Comments

  • This will automatically enumerate the following articles, correct?
    • Correct, numbers will adjust

MOTION: Accept CAP-17

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-17 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 14 (Joe_Miles, Wilson, thesunnyk, Wendy_MsGator, tserong, Aaron, Geoff, VJmes, dotnetdave, Rundll, unraveled_SamB, David, mandrke, SimonJCoyle); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-18: Clarify policy formulation

MOTION: Accept CAP-18

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-18 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 16 (hanrahan, thesunnyk, VJmes, SimonJCoyle, mandrke, Rundll, Aaron, MalcolmW, Joe_Miles, Wendy_MsGator, unraveled_SamB, Geoff, David, SamKearns, dotnetdave, tserong); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-19: Consistent references to numbers

Questions and Comments

  • Does that include section numbering?
    • No, Section number styling was handled by a different amendment last year and does not apply here.
  • Should "Digit" be "Digits" Plural?
    • Yes. Shall correct the text of the motion (which can just be done since it is not wording of the constitution here changing)

MOTION: Accept CAP-19

  • MOTION: Accept CAP-19 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 17 (dotnetdave, hanrahan, SimonJCoyle, Geoff, JoeMilesMob, thesunnyk, VJmes, Rundll, Aaron, Wendy_MsGator, unraveled_SamB, heifer, jscinoz, SamKearns, mandrke, Wilson, David); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

CAP-20: National Congress Quorum clarification


Questions and Comments

  • If there was a year where people weren't interested, there is a risk that the party could become paralysed if for some reason not enough people did show up
  • Is this necessary as party is growing and we've always reached the goal. especially in light of the congress now being a more set date.
    • This was put as a stop gap measure just in case this was needed as a result of other things not being passed etc (eg fixed terms/dates), Brendan has no particular feelings on this motion either way
    • Up to Congress to decide if we move forward with this.
  • Comment: If we cannot get 20 members to a National Congress, we should probably disband.
  • Comment: Given that we have online representation a minimum of 20 should not be too difficult
  • Comment: Cannot actually disband the party without a postal vote (usually they just die)
  • How many people RSVP'ed for this congress?
    • 52 people (both physical and online)
  • I worry that this particular thing is quite game-able by any National Council were it to not want to have the Congress... Could this amendment result in a National Council gaming the system by making it awkward for attendees to show up thus making the Congress into a non-Congress if the National Council didn't want one.
    • This proposal stops the National Council from gaming it by making a secret meeting. Eg without this amendment a two person National Congress secretly organised by two NC members would still be quorate.
    • Another solution: working group about "busted shit in the constitution" shall endeavour to fix these issues as well, could be called the fail case working group
  • Another amendment already voted positively for, is to do everything we can to ensure online participation, but if something went wrong and the online couldn't show up; we are close to that quorum limit right now...
    • Yes, this would be intentional, you'd have to pause proceedings, since it keeps more 'reasonable minds' present to consider issues
  • Nothing that a secret NC could pass can take effect until it is voted on by the membership anyway.
  • Maybe without quorum you would have a provisional National Congress where the first vote has to then approve what occurred at the provisional congress
  • Note that the proposal is under possession of the congress so cannot be withdrawn and must be voted upon
    • Need someone to formally speak for it or against it to have the debate
  • Andrew, putting a procedural motion to postpone until the next national congress and have the relevant working group look at this issue
    • Proposed motion text: Postpone CAP-20 until the next National Congress, and have it considered by the relevant working group

MOTION: Postpone CAP-20

  • MOTION: Postpone CAP-20 until the next National Congress, and have it considered by the relevant working group.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Ayes: 16 (thesunnyk, JoeMilesMob, SimonJCoyle, Aaron, tserong, Rundll, VJmes, hanrahan, unraveled_SamB, David, Wilson, heifer, SamKearns, mandrke, MalcolmW, dotnetdave); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 2 (Geoff, Wendy_MsGator)
      • Motion carries.
  • CAP-20 postponed to next congress.

PROCEDURAL MOTION: 10 min break (5:08:39)

  • Motion for a 10mins break
    • No opposition

Formal Motions

FM-1 Conditional withdrawal from Pirate Parties International (5:21:20)

Questions and Comments

  • What's the current voting method in PPI?
    • It's not specified in the statutes but they usually opt for approval voting
    • In theory this sounds nice, but in practice what occurs is there's a requirement for the board to have X amount of members; X amount of members is not meeting their threshold; they revote and revote and revote, which tends to become random, whereas same result can be achieved with Schulze Condorcet that we use, but much quicker. (ie one round rather than 15 rounds)
  • What do we lose if we leave, vs, what do we gain if we stay
    • Not for lack of effort; we've been attempting to participate remotely for years with very minor improvements if they can be called that, but in practice we have very limited capacity to make ourselves heard or otherwise interact with other parties. It seems that in a lot of cases, PPI is unable to act in interests of own members for various reason (eg board dysfunction, lack of clarity within the statutes, either saying they have no power, or refusing to limit their power
    • What we lose is possibly that we get some brand confusion. Ultimately the Pirate movement is not defined by PPI. The Swedish founding Pirate Party is not a full member, only recently joined as an observer within last two years.
    • We are not the only ones with trouble, concerns or considering leaving
      • Pirate Party UK voted least year on whether to stay or leave, and they opted to stay conditionally and this is what we are doing now with this motion.
    • These proposals here are what we see as bare minimum within the organisation for it to have future and if not then we gain nothing by staying as we see it
    • We have had informal communications with other english speaking parties, quite informally
    • We worked with Pirate Party Netherlands on our Liquid Democracy project(Polly)
    • Effort has been put into group meeting with the '5 eye patches' (ie NZ, UK, Canada and chunks of the USA).
      • Arising from this, for example, New Zealand growth may benefit from our experiences and even adopt some of our procedures as we have similar legislation.
    • These tasks was what PPU was intended to fulfil but has failed to do so.
      • The make it very difficult to take part online, including active hostility to people taking part online in the past
    • Cannot ultimately answer what we would gain by staying
      • Hence this proposal which amounts to what we would like to gain from staying
      • If the minute things can't be met to give some stability to the organisation and see it move forward, then we lose nothing by leaving
      • It's not leaving the movement, we continue to be Pirates, but we are not putting up with a failed bureaucracy
  • How likely is a withdrawal to occur?
    • I'm not a betting man, couldn't say.
      • But please be clear, this not a personal, this is a bureaucratic issue
      • It is big, majority of our members have voted to say this is a problem, it is an organisation saying that it's umbrella organisation is not working for them, so they should take action on this.
  • Would PPI be able to comply by 31 Jan 2015 ?
    • I say they can, otherwise we wouldn't have given them this timeframe
    • Mozart states that he would assume that if the first point is achieved, then the National Council would likely consider staying in, because that has been a major hurdle (online GA)
    • If there is progress on these things being done, then we would probably stay our hand in light of progress
      • This motion gives us flexibility to stay if progress is happening
  • I get that we wouldn't gain much by staying, but what would we lose by staying? Wouldn't like to pull out resulting in media saying 'pirates in disarray'.
    • Only time it's even been on the radar in Australia was in regard to a blog post by Mozart, it's really not on the radar.
  • Wouldn't wan't it to come onto the radar as a result of this withdrawal etc.
    • There is a potential that it could make us look bad; But in fact we will be continuing our international engagement even if that results in an alternative organisation.
    • We never really needed to formalise PPI, it was formed very quickly, opening several bank accounts which have now been closed frozen of considered to be fraudulent
      • So currently no bank accounts accessible to PPI
  • I believe I remember reading PPI passed motions requiring membership fees from national parties such as PPAU, can you clarify?
      • They just voted to accept member fees, but in a way that was in breach of the statues... But no-one has challenged it since no-one trusts that the court of arbitration has the power to fix it.
    • Layers upon layers of disenfranchisement due to failings of the statutes.
  • Why are we even bothering to try to reform this organisation and what would we lose if we left it now?
    • What we get by staying is wasted energy and time as we continue to try and contribute in a positive way but are met with bureaucratic nonsense and hatred
  • It almost sounds like it is something cant really be fixed; if there are statues that aren't really being followed...
    • The culture of the organisation is toxic to the extent that may not be able to be repaired, and this is a last ditch effort to see if it is repaired to the extent that the board actually has responsibilities to its members, if the said issues go away.
  • Assuming that stuff just isn't going to happen, could an action be tied to that which is pull out of PPI and form a new one drawing on the 'eye patches' etc
    • Yes, but did not want to specify which actions a future National Council might take in this regard.
    • Can't see into the future, maybe the whole movement dies, but in the meantime we can send a message to the rest of the movement to say 'but we can step back and throw away what fails and try again'
      • That's what makes us good. If it breaks and it can't be fixed, throw it away and go again. Waste all energy on fixing broken thing.
  • Could there be an action of creating a list of 'this is how to set up a functioning new system'
    • This is the point for what was listed... these are the bare minimum things todo.
    • Some of the statutes etc there are really good, but they have no way to be triggered, these are the trigger mechanisms that cause the rest to fall into place (at least in the meantime)
  • Can they fix their own constitution
    • Yes, but can they fix their culture?
    • There are sections of the board that are just dismissive of online participation.
    • In last month and a half, Brendan was threatened by a board member; escalated quickly. 5:34:00
    • Brendan can be blunt etc, but Brendan had ensured other National Council eyes read emails prior to sending... Suggestions that are not personal, result in being attacked with a personal attack.
      • Despite being super careful to keep the suggestions devoid of reasoning for this, coupled with having things read by fellow members before sending etc, insisting can we discuss the issues.
      • Just arguing for an online GA has had some odd reactions
      • Private emails... possibly bordering on harassment? Rapidly cycles and escalates to a point of absurdity.
    • Frew was last delegate at PPI congress... becomes stressful and insane enough to drive him to drink
      • Worse than NUS student politics
    • Language barriers are an issue, especially in communicating complex concepts
    • There was a ballot for the election of Board members and they closed the ballot prior to our ballot being known and chose not to count it.
      • There are no rules with ballots etc, nothing specifies opening and closing times, nature of secret ballots. Proposal about clearing up these things.
        • If you cant get election of the board correct, how can you have trust in the board when you were disenfranchised from having your say
  • What do PPI even do?
    • It doesn't do; Nothing.
    • They have tried to get PPI on WIPO etc, but it got knocked back due to US pressure.
      • Note that we never got a say or option insofar as who the delegate to WTO would be or how chosen. Just someone on the board.
        • Said person then came into our IRC channel and was extremely rude and combatitive while asking for english language advice on a poorly written submission, and became rude and offensive in response to constructive advice they had come to request.
  • Can see there are a lot of very strong ongoing feelings in regard to this and initial questions have been answered by discussion. Seems that initially PPI was considered a positive but proving to be bogged down in bureaucratic issues, but PPAU would, in general, like to see an effort at international coordination ongoing
  • Obviously there's been attempts in the past to reconcile the issues of bureaucracy; Has there been a formal effort such as an international relations style working group to attempt to reconcile these issues and redirect the PPI towards their original goal?
    • Yes, but rather than a separate working group, it had been handled by the National Council; Often in past when other parties have set up such a group it doesn't end well as they seem to have used it as a means to farm out people they don't like and have them deal with internationals instead. We preferred to represent ourselves as democratically elected representatives on the board of PPAU. We have been attempting for last few months to get a online GA arranged so that we could be on an equal footing and actually put these proposal forth.
    • Have been asking for this for several years to no avail and so have started organising outside PPI (eg '5 eye-patches) towards formally organising a motion undersigned by these 5 parties with these requirements.
      • It's not a threat, this is the endgame as we cant play by the rules anymore because you keep ignoring the rules.
  • So is it the intent of this motion to present it as an ultimatum to PPI?
    • Yes*
  • Clarification: this position is not endorsed by the National Council nor the National Congress,
    and was the personal opinion of the member who stated it
  • So I would like to put an amendment to propose that a working group be formed to present it as an ultimatum but to attempt to work with PPI in order to meet the conditions as listed.
    • Yes, but we have already taken measures to do all that, and this is the result
    • A lot of the problems with PPI came about as there was a rush to form it (there was lots of general good will, feeling etc, despite reservations - can fix later) but then problems people got in power and nothing has fixed and has gone bad
      • There is a 5 eyepatches mailing list, working with the other english speaking parties to put these motions internationally so it's not just coming from Australia, but from a collective group of international parties. Would also likely be backed by other European parties who also have issues with PPI, especially with disenfranchisement.
  • Miles likely happy to be involved in the working group especially as it could be productive with fresh eyes etc
    • This this has been done a lot
    • Note, Mel was opposed to this until about two weeks ago until their email exchange two weeks ago, in regard to the contact details
    • I would be more concerned with the media getting a hold of what their internals etc are like and how non-transparent they are
      • to clarify, the NC requested contact details of party reps from the PPI board but was refused, suggested we use the mailing list... but list not closed and goes widely to randoms.
      • Eventually said, up to the board to decide: however, another message within 5 mins - not polite: passive aggressive - we should accept lack of transparency by board
  • Has leaving and rejoining as an observer/associate Party been considered? If so, thoughts?
    • Yes, but impossible under the statutes. Observer status not a practical option
  • Practically speaking, what changes for the PPAU if we withdraw from the PPI?
    • already answered
  • Why are we even bothering to try to reform this organisation and what would we lose if we left it now?
    • already answered
  • Observation: I've not been able to shake the feeling PPI's "skills" "helped" PP's in the recent EU elections (ie, none at all)
    • fair assessment , however, it was PPEU and not PPI for most part there... they have their own issues unrelated to us
    • Note that we work great with all the other parties, but not PPI itself

FLOOR MOTION: International Relations Working Group

  • MOTION: Form a working group specifically for the purpose of handling international relations going forward.
    • Put by: Miles
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Ayes: 16 (Geoff, tserong, dotnetdave, thesunnyk, VJmes, Aaron, JoeMilesMob, SimonJCoyle, heifer, mandrke, SamKearns, hanrahan, Wilson, Rundll, unraveled_SamB, David); Nays: 1 (Wendy_MsGator); Abstains: 0 () *** Motion carries.
  • Should we have a motion just to leave regardless, and just work with that working group to get it to a point to rejoin.
    • we need to be constructive and not just withdraw without putting in effort - for the better of the wider movement
    • so far our efforts have been informal, this is now a more formal effort which is worth doing first.
    • this motion is not just 'you must do this' but that we will work with you and help to do this, but also gives us our own deadline to draw the line somewhere.

MOTION: Accept FM-1

  • MOTION: Accept FM-1 as worded.
    • Put by: Simon
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Ayes: 17 (thesunnyk, hanrahan, SimonJCoyle, Rundll, David, tserong, VJmes, JoeMilesMob, SamKearns, heifer, Aaron, Geoff, Wilson, Wendy_MsGator, mandrke, dotnetdave, unraveled_SamB); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 1 (MalcolmW)
      • Motion carries.

Day Two: Sunday, 20 July 2014

  • Change to Agenda out of necessity: Nominations now, Guest Speaker at 11am and Policy Motions at Noon.

Nominations (00:16:00)

  • There was some debate around the topic of QLD Voter ID laws arising from QLD co-ordinator nomination speeches (content to be transcribed to minutes at earliest convenience)
  • Some questions to candidates, to be transcribed asap. (1:01:30)

PROCEDURAL MOTION: Break (1:04:30)

  • Take a 10 mins break and resume at 11:10am
    • No objections

Guest Speaker: Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Policy Motions (1:53:05)

Introduction from Mozart as Policy Development Officer

  • A number of policies and amendments to existing policies
  • Disappointed in amount of output, primarily a result of the distraction of 3 election campaigns.
    • may also have taken on a bit more than he could chew time-wise
  • Looking forward to handing over to Andrew Downing as new PDC Officer
  • Proposed Agenda change of PM-6 to first as it is potentially the most controversial
    • no objections
  • Note that name of motion will be the name of the policy

PM-6 Tax and Welfare

  • Working document, not a fully finely detailed costings due to limitations of access to data etc
  • Data and statistics taken from ABS data (eg re Fulltime employed, Parttime employed & not employed).
  • An issue where we have to calculate the number of people who are unemployed vs the number who have some form of income (eg superannuation).
    • eg a conservative estimate would be that perhaps 20% of people have an income despite not being employed
  • Three main sets of recipients:
    • Let's pessimistically assume that we have to support up to 80% of unemployed (with a basic income). This is one set of recipients.
      • People with no income comprise the vast bulk of people/costs/the policy
      • This equates to $83billion
    • Next set of recipients: Fulltime minimum wage is $32,000 per year, this would be topped up by $2,800 (a measure to help the working poor)
      • equals approx 500,000 people (earning full time minimum wage).
      • assume for purposes of policy that we need support all of them, but not the case in reality as many do work additional hours/extra jobs etc
      • Cost of $1.4 Billion per year
    • Also need support part time workers under this policy.
      • ABS average weekly earnings part time wage: approx $29,000 per year
      • this results in average supplement of $3,850 per year
      • Budget cost of just over $13billion per year
  • Aggregate cost of all three groups equals: $97 Billion dollars
    • all based on reasonably solid ABS data
  • Also need to look at top-up costs for aged pensioners, carers and people on disability pensions etc
    • Top-up equates to about $210 per week (includes Centrelink pension supplements, clean energy supplements, some study allowances)
    • Total Cost to top up to pension level: $31 Billion
    • This is additional to the other costs above
    • also solid data from "National accounts"
  • The struggle (in relation to data) is in working out the costs of child support
    • easy to calculate the number of persons under 18
    • rough proportions of first-born, second-born, third-born needed extracting over the phone from Australian Institute of Family Studies
      • Important because rate of support varies
    • Calculating based on these proportions, total cost of childcare supplement equals approx: $24 Billion
    • This is additional to the other costs above
    • Gets a little "sketchy" here, as these payments taper out as income rises, ie they are only paid when needed, not to everyone.
    • We are unable to cross the data on number of first-born, second-born children etc, with data on household income.
      • This data does not exist, so we have to presume an effect that we cannot guarantee
      • We say that the tapering will reduce the cost by about 25% (likely a pessimistic figure)
      • Adds about $18billion more to the cost.
  • Additionally, we supplement Volunteers.
    • we know the number of volunteers, but not the number of people who would qualify as a volunteer for the purposes of our policy (ie commitment per week etc)
    • Assume 1.5 Million
    • This generates a cost of $3billion
  • Add all these costs together and total costs equate to just under $150 Billion per year.
  • From this figure we should deduct the costs of all the existing social security allowances
    • This, taken from budget papers, is $138 Billion
    • This gives us an excess cost of $11 Billion
      • From this we can deduct costs due to the administrative savings that result from having a policy like this.
        • ie 20 different allowances with their own gradients, enforcement, help, admin etc
      • Budget papers list cost of this administration at $4Billion, this would no longer be necessary and could be cut
  • This all equates to a total rough overflow cost of about $8 Billion for the policy.
    • worthwhile as that extra cost goes to people who actually need it.
  • USA has a form of negative income tax ("earned income tax credit")
    • one of the few successful social policies of the last few years
    • It gives the working poor a breathing space helps break cycle of poverty, and allows them to make long term decisions etc
      • being poor is actually quite expensive (being on the edge financially can result in necessity of making a lot of sub par choices)
      • by giving the working poor a bit more support can improve health and training opportunities. (initial support to get training leading to an overall improvement)
      • a little bit of extra cost, pays off as an investment in people, social mobility, fairness and future tax revenue
  • Our tax policy does cut income tax across board, including, nominally, people at the top of the scale.
    • but it also closes a lot of loopholes that those same people also currently have
      • Cost of these loopholes (eg private school fees exempt, private health insurance rebate, negative gearing, capital gains, etc) is approx $60 billion per year - all closed by this policy
      • So while there is a tax reduction for high income earners at first look, most of it is clawed back from those high income earners via the closure of these loopholes.
      • a shift away from income tax in general - towards tax based on land, consumption tax etc
  • Beyond the shift in tax, there is also a shift in philosophy embodied in this policy.
    • It should not be the case that the state can forcibly tax everybody, but when someones income collapses and they need support in return, that same state can then shame them. (ie put them through such demeaning processes)
      • There is really no need for this disempowerment in service of a fallacy that if you are mean enough to unemployed, then you would reduce the number of unemployed. This is not true.
      • If the population exceeds available jobs by 500,000 then you must either support those 500,000, or put them on the street.
      • You may cajole some of those 500,000 in front of others of the 500,000 for available jobs, but it doesn't reduce the pool.
      • It is just a punitive approach that doesn't serve a legitimate need.
  • Under our proposed system, if your income collapses, there is an automatic social insurance that immediately kicks in.
    • This policy is an allowance that is easy to get onto, but also easy to get off it because there is no bureaucracy at either end & does not destroy the incentive to become self sufficient
    • It minimises the poverty traps and situations where getting into a low paying job does not eliminate several benefits at once. Less likely to get stuck on welfare.
    • Such poverty traps and being victimised and dehumanised is a recipe for an underclass.
  • negative income tax would never exceed 35% on people, so there is always an incentive to work.
  • encourages people to be entrepreneurial as there is less risk (no baggage to the social insurance, so can take a risk, very important in a digital economy)
    • an associated risk in a digital economy is the pace of automation could destroy jobs faster at the low end scale but higher end pay-scale job creation wont keep up with this and this policy will help mitigate this risk
    • supports and encourages those at the lower end of the pay scale to increase their training and thus opportunity to improve their lot & mitigate risk of being made unemployed by technological advances
    • a society with a basic income is better placed to handle these ups and downs.
  • enables options to engage in creative, cultural and artistic activities; without being micromanaged by bureaucrats
    • promotes peoples participation in culture and study (of their choice, in ways that maximise their own potential)
    • promotes liberty

Questions and Comments

  • Comment on why it has been placed at this point in agenda.
    • it has been on agenda well in advanced, proposed well in advance with plenty of time for comment, adheres to principles in our constitution and due to its size and complexity was put first so that we could actually get through it
    • this also doesn't expand the policy platform, we already have a tax and welfare policy, this is a revision of it.
  • Would you get paid once per year at tax time?
    • No, you pay tax out of every paycheck you get, so you would receive negative income tax in the same frequency
    • ie those on low pay would have their paycheck supplemented
    • people with no income would receive it fortnightly, same way as current welfare
  • Why hasn't it been modelled?
    • Tax modelling systems owned by Treasury department, and we cant access those. Not even other departments can access those.
      • Although there is a University of Canberra minor simulation software option (built on SASS) that could potentially be a non treasury option.
      • Mark did enquire, but because of this policy's degree of change our policy would make to the tax system, this software would need to be largely recoded at a cost of anywhere from $2-10k (to pay a programmer)
        • A custom niche code, supposedly 8 people in Australia that can use the customised code that this software uses?
        • If we do did this we would be the first political party to present a properly modelled tax policy since 1993.
  • Why not tax wealth?
    • What is wealth? Wealth is in part land (we tax that in this policy)... shares (this policy already increases tax on shares by abolishing capital gains tax break)... much more tax there makes share ownership unviable
      • To much of this would distort the economy and drive people to hide shares overseas.
    • Tax improvements to land (ie house)? This would discourage people from making improvements to land, such as housebuilding etc
      • This would undermine other parts of the policy such as house building being something we are trying to encourage so as to improve housing affordability. A risky thing to do.
    • Value of someones goods? - requires people to itemise their wealth (privacy implications)
      • Tax insured value? - would amount to an insurance tax which would also not be good as it would discourage insuring adequately.
      • One of the most damaging taxes and one the policy would seek to avoid
    • Wealth accumulation among generations over time grows inequality - so best time to tax wealth is at time of inheritance (ie at time of bequeathment, where the tax on bequeathment comes from)
      • The only way to tax wealth without all the negative side effects, thus at very least stopping generational inequality from accelerating over time
    • A concern that taxing inheritance is unfair. Maybe?
      • Perhaps a tax free threshold on inheritance (ie first $400k of such income in that year or something?) - someone could put an amendment to this effect if need be
    • Business owner loopholes, where their income is the profit from that business(eg via company tax levels being 20%)
      • This reprises a debate in the 80's where company tax and income tax were the same, but there is an elasticity effect in that taxing labor doesn't distort peoples work habits so much; but taxing capital is distortionary (capital flight).
      • 80's debate, equal tax, or tax that does least damage to society? Least damage to society won out (ie lower company tax).
      • We retain this concept. But we have increased tax free threshold on personal income tax so that you pay no tax til you reach 40k. Whereas company tax is paid from the first dollar, so its a lesser loophole.
      • Also remember that other higher income loopholes get closed.
  • Supposed research showing that Basic income leads to family breakup?
    • Seattle and Canadian trial showed this effect, people went back later and reopened the data.
      • turns out that it was largely women reliant on partners income, who now had independence to escape from abusive relationship, so this is actually a beneficial outcome.
    • Also note that there is an anti family bias in our current system because when you are on welfare as a couple, benefits get cut due to assumed combining of expenses
      • Our policy abolishes this treatment & discouragement of couples staying together
  • Is the basic income too low?
    • maybe, but there are less costs being imposed upon 'welfare recipients' - less transport to Centrelink, less requirement to stay on phone for hours on end etc etc
    • plus couples are better off (systemic bias as above is removed)
    • people under 25 better off as not stuck on Youth Allowance
    • What about singles over 25 on Newstart and Rent assistance?
      • If they are on no rent assistance then they are better off, low to mid levels of rent assistance about same
      • Singles, over 25 on Maximum Rent assistance people could take a hit (and notable as rest assistance went up at start of July)
        • Possibly policy needs adjustment to keep pace with the CPI change (which is what had contributed to 'better offness' via rent assistance indexing)
    • Also could add $2k and some also possibly add 1-2 thousand dollars extra to the volunteer levy (so that anyone who wishes to volunteer would reach the ACOSS poverty line)
    • Also could remove the rent assistance from the replaced assistances (ie keep current rent assistance)
    • These could be possible amendments to the policy
  • What about those who would just do nothing, never come off it and not invest in themselves?
    • Sure such people may exist, but most people are not like that
    • do you want to base your whole social support system around finding and punishing these rare minority cases
      • This is often futile, creates a huge bureaucracy etc and impacts everyone adversely - makes unfairly harder on those who really are trying to get work
    • A suggestion that maybe if someone on basic income for X amount of time and isn't studying or training then you could convert to volunteer levy (ie their whole basic income is a volunteer levy) and so they must then have to do something to receive it
      • But for many the key ideology behind basic income is that basic income should be universal and unconditional. ie that is part of the whole point of it
  • Could we perhaps allow the tax on an inherited primary dwelling to be deferred until sale?
    • Yes, that is a good idea
  • Is there still a need for some kind of recognition of regional pricing disparities (ie money may go further in different areas, or rents disproportionally different in different areas)
    • postcode based welfare is a tricky path
  • Rent differences an issue, trigger for this question is the rent assistance aspect
    • This is an argument for keeping rent assistance intact
    • Would not want to generally change everything regionally as petrol prices also differ etc, but for rent it is potentially worth addressing.
  • 1. Can the year that the threshold and basic income was determined be noted, so that the intent of the policy remains clear over time?
    • sure thing... there is a recognition that over time numbers in policies may be changeable over time
    • Perhaps PDC could have power to change variables over time, as they change... but also anything can come up yearly for amendments with congress approval (ie a lot of changes are financial year based)
    • Motion it at adoption of policy (ie when motioning policy add caveat that can change variable figures over time etc)
  • 2. Why adjust the threshold twice per year when everything else about the tax system is done on an annual basis? It adds extra complexity for little benefit.
    • No firm position, it could be once per year
    • An implementation detail
  • 3. Why keep a health services levy at all instead of rolling it into a higher tax bracket? We don't separate out funding for other services with private options, such as schools, into levies.
    • It adds progressiveness and allows abolition of private health care rebate while while fulfilling the same job of taking pressure off public system
    • And it provides it the right sort of price signal, which is an important job for tax codes.
  • 4. Can it be noted explicitly how the 'top up' items will be carried out? The way it is worded currently suggests some form of means testing, even though all the changes could be accomplished more efficiently in a similar way to tax deductions.
    • The data is a bit shaky in that area, so we should ideally be a little vaguer so as to keep us out of trouble/too locked in (prevent explosive costs based on untrue guesses)
    • if wanted to set deferral level, can work it out based of the point when tax reaches zero, but would be auto adjusted in peoples tax returns anyway
  • Considering position of employer of Part time or minimum wage workers, what stops them from over time absorbing benefit by not raising wages?
    • It is a risk, but set against benefit of those people being more empowered to be able to risk improving themselves and thus get away from employers like that
  • Has there been substantial discussion for the potential of abuse by people in cash based industries, where income cannot be easily assessed. If so has there been discussion of methods to regulate that risk?
    • A risk we already have, this can happen in current system
    • If we make system simple as possible, some bureaucratic resources could be shifted to enforcement of these issues
    • A simpler system with fewer loopholes meaning these loopholes could be better chased.
  • Why are we decreasing the amount of tax at the top end? Is there evidence that the wealthy actually do own more land?
    • Plenty of evidence of that
    • Dont accept that it is overall really decreasing tax at the top end due to closure of loopholes and higher tax on land
  • Cash in hand stuff may need some more consideration, as in this policy anyone earning cash in hand is actually saving 35%, as opposed to 18% or less in current practice, so there is a bigger incentive to not declare and a bigger impact etc
    • not convinced this is an issue... It's just as easy to apply this same argument to existing welfare
    • the current propensity for abuse is just as great as what the potential policy would enact, not likely a bigger potential.
  • Yes but impact of the change could be greater? ie people being paid cash in hand now loses the government 18% tax, whereas with our policy avoiding 35% the government loses much more money.
    • Yes but if the government knew about that income (taxable at 18%) then the government would also be withdrawing welfare payments (ie monies in addition to the 18% lost revenue)
    • several tradeoffs, but not a directly 35% vs 18% difference in government income position.
  • Wouldn't they just sell land and invest in stock.
  • Land is a fixed resource, fixed quantity... if land costs goes down that is good anyway (feature not bug) - improved housing affordability
  • Does the land ownership tax apply to things like long-term leases, from the commonwealth, for example?
    • Good question, will have to think about that one.
    • Although probably not, it's a tax on ownership of land. If you renting off commonwealth, then that is just sort of a big tax anyway.
  • What about Migrants under this system?
    • They get the basic income, including people accepted via refugee programs & boat people
  • Great, but also what about migrants who are not refugees (students etc, all kinds)
    • It is universal, Everyone will get it
  • How was the $14k decided? ie the actual number.
    • The $14k is Centrelink plus what was at the time the average level of rent assistance
      • But since then Centrelink payments and rent assistance have risen, so it's slipped back slightly and is certainly below the level of Centrelink payments plus maximum rent assistance.
    • Could adjust it to the tax threshold of about $42k and increase the volunteer levy to $3k; that would address the potential inadequacy of the allowance.
    • Someone pointing out that current figure of Newstart + rent assistance is about $16,500 per year (but not a fixed amount as rent assistance varies)
  • I'm much better off under your plan, I should be worse off, why is that?
    • Hard to answer without more detail
    • It appears that people with decent incomes are actually better off, but what it comes down to is closing off loopholes and other taxes cleaned up.
      • ie more people paying the tax that is decreed, rather than those who are currently better able to manipulate things to avoid and minimise.
    • Overall the primary beneficiaries are low income and also indirect or secondary beneficiaries are those on benefits
      • especially for those who now get to live with a bit more freedom and dignity and a better path for social mobility into work and better work
  • Should we then equalise the longterm lease rate, from the Commonwealth, to the equivalent tax amount for ownership, to avoid tax evasion via longterm leases? eg longterm Commonwealth leases at a lower rate rather than buying the land
    • The level you choose to list the land at could fix this... this could be worth considering in more detail(write an amendment - or commit to PDC for next congress or intervening policy meeting)
      • Note above question from a non member, if wish to make amendment, can either join or member can sponsor amendment/motion on their behalf.
  • Loopholes closed doesn't make up for a $27,500 pa tax cut for your average merchant banker, senior lawyer, and top tier public servant?
    • Question likely looking at nominal rate of tax, and assuming that bankers actually pay that.
    • These guys get paid various ways, through commissions, capital gains, golden handshakes, bonuses, investment income etc all of which are taxes at half that rate.
    • Effectively, on those, their tax rate is 21%, but under our policy that would go up to 35% with no loopholes.
      • Overall in real terms they are likely to end up paying more tax, not less.
  • So that addresses merchant bankers, what about those earning income actually at a greater base salary
    • yes they get a cut but a lesser real cut than lower income folks and also more is recouped through tax on higher value land etc
      • Don't forget our land tax is also progressive, so higher value land taxed at higher rate
      • also basic income benefits (eg child support) all taper off as income rises so less benefits for higher income that way as well
  • Some of these taxes etc are actually State taxes such as land tax? As a federal policy how to resolve this?
    • The federal govt offered GST income for abolishing state taxes, replicate that model for these reforms, ie influence, encourage and rewards the states for doing so
  • Note that in regard to charitable organisations, religious no longer automatically tax free.
    • They would now need to qualify under other charitable status etc to get it and only be tax free on the charitable activities
  • What impact on current income minimisation strategies that non profit NGO groups etc like where salary sacrificing is used to minimise income
    • Wouldn't effect, the forms of income that are being taxed are listed in policy and doesn't include that.

PROCEDURAL MOTION: Table PM-6 for later discussion [2:45:35]

  • Table for later discussion, look at it again after lunch, time for amendments
    • No objections
    • coming back to it after lunch.

PM-1 Constitutional reform [02:46:01]

  • Recognition of indigenous peoples & prohibition of discrimination - Mozart wrote article on this and dealing with why we don't have a Bill of Rights
  • In the late 19th Century there were several constitutional conventions and one proposal was clause 110, (Modelled on US amendment 14)
    • The key part of this was that a state shall not make or enforce any law abridging and privilege or immunity of citizens of the Commonwealth or shall a state deprive and person of life, liberty or property without the due process of law or deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws.
    • Quite a nice thing to put in to prevent deprivation of life liberty etc.
    • But in its full version it doesn't appear, was rejected, for two reasons:
      • 1. people debating this thought it would be a reflection on our civilisation to include protections from laws that deprive people from life, liberty, property etc, that by needing such a protection it would be an indictment on Australia (ie why would we say there should be no law legalising murder?)
        • They assumed that any parliament passing such laws that would take away peoples rights would be inconceivable (hah)
        • This is also the reason why the US protections are amendments, and weren't included originally
      • 2. Also a darker aspect to that. Dr Cockburn argued that the 14th amendment to the US Constitution had been inserted to 'inflict the grossest outrage upon the southern planters' by saying 'you shall not forbid the negro inhabitants to vote' and insisting on them being place on an equal footing in regard to franchise.
        • Telling the focus on the unfairness to the planters rather than the prior abrogation of black american rights.
        • Sir John Forrest the Premier of WA stated at 1897-98 conventions:
        • "It is of no use for us to shut our eyes to the fact that there is a great feeling all over Australia against the introduction of coloured persons. It goes without saying that we do not like to talk about it, but still it is so. I do not want clause 110 to pass in a shape which would undo what is about to be done with regard to mining licenses in most of the colonies, and what has already been done in Western Australia, in regard to that class of person."
        • Also Henry Higgins future justice of the High Court said that the proposed amendment Sect117 would "allow Sir John Forrest to have his law in regard to Asiatics not being able to obtain miners rights in Western Australia. There is no discrimination there based on residence or citizenship, it is simply based on colour and race"
  • This backdrop very much fits in with pirate principles of an equitable society and against discrimination on arbitrary grounds.
    • including lots of stuff about indigenous people's ability to vote (not til late 1960's, got the vote)
    • this is what has informed the constitution and the constitution has not changed much in last 100 years and that discrimination still enshrined in constitution
  • That was one motivation for this policy another motivation is:
    • the proposal for a referendum coming up that Gillard committed to. But Abbott has suggested a changed position to not go into it too hasty (Why trust an expert panel!??)
    • politically significant at this time, good to support it beforehand so we aren't appearing to jump on a bandwagon at the time it arises. It is good to already have a position when/if it comes up.

Questions and Comments

  • In order to be consistent with dictionary definitions, can "indigenous" be replaced with "aboriginal"? Indigenous means "originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country", and the majority of Australians have qualified for that for a long time. Aboriginal means "earliest known inhabitants of a region or country" and that is the desired meaning.
    • have seen them in Australian context used interchangeably... but no objection to do so
    • happy to take motion to do so if people keen too, for amendment
    • Mozart will sponsor
  • Everywhere says indigenous:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to replace "indigenous" (capitalised)
  • Also PDC to review this policy over the next 12 months
  • Brandon wished to discuss some possible issues with PM-1 with Mozart over lunch

PROCEDURAL MOTION: postpone until after lunch

  • Postpone PM-1 to after lunch
    • No objections

PROCEDURAL MOTION: Treasurer's Financial Report

  • Returning from lunch
  • Do Treasurer's Financial Report before continuing with Policy motions
    • No objections

Treasurer's Financial Report

  • https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/File:Pirate_Party_Financial_Statement_2013-2014.pdf
  • a big year given it was our first federal election
  • spent roughly $50k in course of elections
    • combination electoral materials + higher than expected electoral fees (fees doubled just prior to election)
  • retained $23,765 cash on hand at end of last financial year (2012/13)
  • $10,810 on hand in cash now (but this report is for last financial year)
  • We reformed banking in course of year, everything now linked with Xero, a more transparent, simple and accountable
    • Xero makes it easier to keep members more regularly updated
  • moving to formalise status as a non profit org
  • There is breathing room as the finances currently stand to fund a modest campaign but Ben notes that low cost campaigning would be key to future success
  • It is proposed that the National Congress vote to consent to the waiver of the requirement for an auditors report, waived... as usual
    • Note that we have always waived this auditors report, as the cost of doing auditors report is substantial, ie would use 3rd to half our cash

Questions and Comments

  • Xero: who has access?
    • Treasury initially. But will publish regular updates. Xero also grants ability to readily publish reports
    • Note, Brendan had pushed a motion in the NC to have monthly reports (as this is much easier now with the new bank)
  • Who gets these reports
    • These reports would occur at the NC meeting and be included in the NC meeting minutes (ie accessible for all) for scrutiny
    • While there would still be an annual report, there will now also be monthly reports.
  • What was that about not needing an auditors report?
    • we are putting a motion as per Article 7.1(5) to waive the need for a Report
    • historically we have always done this, the clause is more there for when we are large enough to need it
    • at the moment the cost of doing an auditors report is prohibitive. A substantial amount compared to how much money we actually have.
      • estimated that it would take a third to half our cash to get such an auditors report done.

MOTION: Waive Auditors report

  • MOTION: The Auditor's report as per Article 7.1(5) is waived by this Congress.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on floor
    • Ayes: 10 (Expie, Wendy_MsGator, Hasimir, tserong, thesunnyk, unraveled_SamB, hanrahan, George, SamKearns, David); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 1 (Rundll)
      • Motion carries.
  • Note: at such time as we do require auditors report, speak to Brandon in regard to this to assist in sourcing an auditor
  • Note: that the treasurers financial report goes to a 7day vote (lateness)

Policy motions (continued)

PM-1 Constitutional reform (Continued)

  • https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Pirate_Congress_2014/Motions#PM-1:_Constitutional_reform
  • Brandon raises some issues:
    • how implemented and effects it would have; could have adverse effects on delays etc on legislation getting passed
    • agree with policy in principle for now ok, but should look at fixing up these issues at later date
    • policy would need to be looked at again in the future, but nothing at the moment to prevent moving ahead with it.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues should be run by these communities and should have a say in this
    • This part of policy was based off a report by an expert panel that included numerous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, so it derives from them in some capacity
      • but PDC can look at further consultation [03:56:00]
  • The last two bits were originally going to be part of a larger section in regard to shifting towards a republic
    • Decided not to tackle republic as yet, mostly due to PDC being divided on need for one, and further divided on type of republic should we have one
      • Issue needs to be raised at a policy meeting later down the track
  • There is a recognition that some decisions should be reserved as decisions to be made by Parliament.
  • The content about war decisions and treaty decisions is important enough to put through now
  • The second one quite important for us as party at the moment
    • Executive power should be removed with regard to international legal instruments, such as treaties and trade agreements.
    • Granting Executive power relating to treaties etc to Parliament
      • Partly a response to Australian governments recently deciding to sign & ratify a range of new treaties etc, Parliament doesn't need to consent
      • Major issues, such as regarding AUSFTA: Howard govt accepted and ratified, but then had to put through a range of amendments in Parliament
        • Parliament pretty much obliged to pass them due to the treaty obligations. Means Senate doesn't have much choice but to pass them
      • Also opposed to the secrecy inherent in many of these agreements and the time given to JSCOTT is not enough to really assess these treaties & agreements properly
      • This issue is also more pressing due to recent dramatic increases in the number of these agreements being negotiated by the Dept of Foreign Affairs, eg FTAs with Japans, Malaysia, Korea etc, all within last 12 months and working on others.

MOTION: Future PDC Review of PM-1

  • Motion to policy development committee to review in the next 12 months.
    • Mozart/PDC accepts so is carried

MOTION: Adopt PM-1

  • MOTION: Adopt PM-1 as worded.
    • Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer, on behalf of the Policy Development Committee
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Ayes: 13 (tserong, David, Hasimir, thesunnyk, hanrahan, unraveled_SamB, George, Expie, Rundll, mandrke, JoeMilesMob, jscinoz, SamKearns); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

PM-6 Tax (continued with amendments) [04:03:22]

  • Two amendments to tax policy:
  • Amendment put by Justin Clacherty (ooasvc)
    • That PM-6: Tax and Welfare be returned to the policy development committee for further work and amendment until adequate modelling can be done to ascertain the impact to the budget bottom line, and that the policy meets the party's intent to reduce wealth inequity.
  • Rationale:
    • There are considerable notable problems with the policy, including that wealthy people will be much better off under the policy, and many aspects of the policy are unclear; particularly additional benefits for disadvantaged classes. Despite arguing that the intent of the policy is to simplify, the policy text adds numerous additional payments and complications that are not clear. Many aspects of the policy, such as the land tax which is supposed to fill the enormous fall in revenue are entirely in state jurisdiction that would be seemingly impossible to enact without referenda or COAG agreement. There is also some discord between the preamble and the policy text.
  • MarkG response
  • PDC spent 10 hours revising policy prior to congress, and had 9 people working on it.
  • Also, it was up for membership review for the past few months
  • if there are issues outstanding then those should be addressed individually
  • If policy had to do something about state taxes, then if it's implied state branches would be pushing these at state level (as was discussed by PDC prior)
  • Supposedly favouring the wealthy: this policy brings in inheritance tax (not seen in Australia since the 1980's) == wealth tax
  • Lowers income tax across the board, both lower and higher incomes, but recoups more tax from the wealthy by closing gaps on super, investment income, health insurance, housing etc, these loopholes are substantial (a non trivial change)
    • Benefits taper out for the wealthy, eg a 3% health levy on the wealthy
    • This is a more progressive policy than what exists now and is less exploitable
    • just because it's not soaking the rich 'enough' in some opinions, doesn't mean all the other benefits of the policy should be thrown out
    • On that point, the benefits of the policy from a Pirate Principles perspective:
      • has a safety net which encourages small scale enterprise and individuals to reach their potential
      • has a practical means to improve and encourage the creation of free culture (which we don't have in Australia at the moment)
      • Social equality in the way it treats poor people
        • deregulates the poor, as opposed to deregulation for just the rich
      • creates transparency inherent, as more easy to understand and combines tax and welfare system
        • also note that this adds transparency at the level of govt that most people deal with daily most regularly (ie Centrelink/Dep Human Services etc)
        • and saves millions of hours of unproductive tax work every year, that energy can then be directed creatively
    • if it turns out there is an issue of the wealthy not being taxed enough then happy to review that can address in response but don't feel that that is the case at this stage
    • not worth pushing whole thing and all of its benefits to ones side just due to this one issue, even if true (but don't feel it is true)
  • PDC does not accept the amendment, therefore it must go to a vote

Questions and Comments (upon the amendment)

  • It was mentioned before that proper modelling would cost a lot of money or need rare expertise at the programming level - is it possible to do a less comprehensive modelling? Perhaps some 'in between' way to at least get some possible projected numbers
    • That would be tricky but could look into it as a possibility to at least look into it, not bank on it, but could be looked at.
    • could maybe make some assessment based on assumption, at least able to be looked into
  • What kind of timeframe for that?
    • Over next 12months or so, before next policy votes etc
  • Note: The motion is not to dump it, but to wait until you can actually perform some level of modelling before making it official policy.

MOTION: Postpone PM-6

  • MOTION: That PM-6: Tax and Welfare be returned to the policy development committee for further work and amendment until adequate modelling can be done to ascertain the impact to the budget bottom line, and that the policy meets the party's intent to reduce wealth inequity.
    • Put by: Justin (ooasvc)
    • Floor: 1 aye, 3 abstain, 7 nay
    • Remote: Ayes: 7 (oaasvc, mandrke, Hasimir, hanrahan, David, George, SamKearns); Nays: 4 (thesunnyk, Rundll, jscinoz, Wendy_MsGator); Abstains: 4 (tserong, Expie, unraveled_SamB, JoeMilesMob)
    • Totals: 11 nays, 8 ayes, 7 abstains
      • Motion Defeated; Does not carry

MOTION: Amend PM-6

  • MOTION: Within PM—6, Delete 'rental assistance' from the line: "The basic income will replace existing welfare programs including Newstart, Age Pension, Austudy, “Family Tax Benefits parts A and B, School Kids Bonus, Rental Assistance, Income Support Bonus, Low Income Super Contribution, the Disability Support Pension, and Carer Payments.”
    • Put by: Brendan
    • passed in the room with two abstentions
    • Ayes: 7 (thesunnyk, jscinoz, Rundll, unraveled_SamB, hanrahan, Wendy_MsGator, George); Nays: 1 (Hasimir); Abstains: 3 (tserong, JoeMilesMob, oaasvc)
      • Motion carries.

MOTION: Amend PM-6

  • Motion: That tax on an inherited primary residence be deferred until sale of the property.
    • Put by Tim Serong
    • accepted by MarkG on behalf of PDC
  • David Crafti speaking against
    • should be more substance to that, otherwise someone keeps inheriting property ... there should be some limit on that, ie up to 5 years lest it just keeps getting passed on
    • Brandon: basic survivorship clause should eliminate the issue in the short term
  • Not talking about rapid fire deaths - indefinitely deferred, what if a family always acquiring property and keeping it in the family to never pay tax
    • There are thresholds in the policy that should counter this
  • countered by thresholds, speaker against withdraws objection.
      • Motion carries.

MOTION: Amend PM-6

  • Motion: That a tax free threshold is set on an inherited primary residence
    • Put by unraveled
    • makes it more difficult for new home buyer to get in market and older people who had taken advantage of earlier prices lower) and negative gearing etc
      • mark: that was referencing capital gains tax, whereas this is inheritance
    • accepted by MarkG on behalf of PDC
      • Motion carries.

MOTION: AcceptPM-6

  • MOTION: Accept PM-6 as amended.
    • Put by: Mark Gibbons, on behalf of the Policy Development Committee
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 11 (thesunnyk, Expie, Wendy_MsGator, Rundll, tserong, Hasimir, unraveled_SamB, hanrahan, mandrke, David, jscinoz); Nays: 2 (oaasvc, George); Abstains: 1 (JoeMilesMob)
      • Motion carries.

[Need to return to this to get clarification on where certain amendments are to be included.]

PM-2 Copyright amendments

MOTION: Accept PM-2 [04:25:20]

  • MOTION: Accept PM-2 as worded.
    • Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer, on behalf of the Policy Development Committee
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 15 (mandrke, jscinoz, tserong, Rundll, Expie, thesunnyk, JoeMilesMob, unraveled_SamB, hanrahan, George, CAPT-Irrelevant, Wendy_MsGator, Hasimir, oaasvc, David); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.
  • thesunnyk would like to thank the PDC in regard to this motion
    • This motion arose from motions put by Sunny at the last Congress

PM-3 Education


  • request for postponement to allow time to put an amendment
    • no objections

PM-4 Energy, Environment and Climate Change & Animal Welfare

  • Clarification, this is two policies
    • Energy, Environment and Climate Change Policy
    • Animal Welfare Policy
  • This policy replaces to a degree an earlier energy policy.
    • Previous policy was a good, epic, eye-catching policy about building a large renewable energy grid with government money.
    • a good policy for an election year.
    • It was very transparent in that it identified what technology was to be used, site locations, modelling attached etc
      • The problem is that it is at greater risk of becoming rapidly outdated over time as technologies change, some become less feasible, prove less effective, whereas others improve become more feasible
      • The more specific, the less longevity as a relevant policy, especially in regard to such technologically literate policies.
        • Eg, old policy stated a battery technology that has now been superseded by a new technology.
  • This new policy more technology agnostic, not advocating specific technologies to the same extent
    • Some feedback from renewable energy owners is that their key desire is for stability
      • work within existing levels to make more effective
    • Solar energy is very important in a Pirate Energy policy as it is a democratising technology and allows a more participatory model, instead of being just consumers
    • this policy is more self funded than previous policy
      • funded by a levy on coal exports
        • Australia exports 200million tonnes of coal per year so that is a significant potential revenue source
      • Likeliest effect is you'd get a lot of funds in early years when coal tax was low, but as coal tax crept up, the funds would slow eventually to a stop
      • Intent is that the money be given to relevant body (eg Climate Change Authority) with a view to structure the relevant tariffs but with the knowledge that the money would eventually dry up.
        • long term effect of the levy would be to eventually shut down coal exports
    • Don't believe when people say Australia only contributes 1% of global emissions, it's 5% when you factor in our the contribution made by our exported coal. So 5% for 0.3% of worlds population means we are a bad global citizen in regard to emissions.

Questions and Comments

  • Missing Comma
    • PDC is able to fix spelling and grammar in policies as needed
  • No problem with policy, but is Animal welfare in the same section? Size considerations.
    • No, Animal Welfare will be on its own, separate.
    • Issue is Animal Welfare was part of the old "Environment and Animal Welfare" policy, but Mark wanted to propose a new Energy policy, so these Animal welfare changes are the ones necessary to break it out on its own as its own standalone policy.
  • The preamble suggests the pirate party is in favour of a carbon tax instead of an ETS. If so, could "restore a carbon tax" be changed to "institute a carbon tax"? The repealed clean energy act more accurately describes an ETS.
    • This was written prior to abolition of Carbon Tax, so perhaps now it should be "institute"...
    • But using "restore" implies we are bringing back that specific carbon price model as it was in 2014, useful because it saves us designing our own new carbon tax. If we restore it, we are bringing back that specific model that existed and linking it to price increases as detailed.
    • the original pricing scheme was going to convert to an ETS after time, 'restoring' would mean we go back to that stage of the process and eventually switch to an ETS.

MOTION: Amend PM-4 [04:47:04]

  • Motion: Under "Accelerate investment in renewable energy".
    • Currently: Where properties are rented, vouchers for solar hot water or energy efficiency upgrades will be provided to landlords.
    • Amend to: Where properties are rented, vouchers for solar hot water or energy efficiency upgrades will be provided to landlords for use only on the subject rental property.
    • Put by: Wendy MsGator
    • Accepted by the PDC
      • Motion Carries
  • Don't see anything about changes to infrastructure to allow feeding back into the grid. Was that discussed at any point?
    • It was discussed on the forum, a lot, angrily by some.
    • If someone wants to put a motion, feel free, however:
      • Skeptical about nationalising the grid since a lot of it is about to become worthless. Buying it back would be socialising the loss of private industry.
      • Nimbler way would be to set up a fund to manage grid transition.
  • Whenever government provides vouchers or subsidy, prices often go up (eg first home buyers of $14k caused an increase in house prices of up to $50k), Can we implement some safeguards like price controls so that ACCC can smack down any predatory behaviour
    • Can do something at some stage, write an amendment?
  • Whole package was intended to move to an ETS in 2015 anyway, so restore may not be accurate.
    • Well, it restores it at a point in time, policy reads pretty explicitly, should be fine.
  • Andrew Downing comment in support of the policy:
    • Note how marginal the coal driven power industry has become recently. Currently not profitable.
      • Base load tends to mean most profit gained in middle of the day, historically. Since Solar, the result is middle of day power profit timeframe is being elimination. Recently in QLD price of coal power in middle of the day hit $0, nobody wanted to buy it.
      • By advocating development of new infrastructure emphasising distributed power, this is a positive, industry building policy.
  • Note: Another amendment to the same section (as above amendment) to add the line:
    • "The ACCC would have authority to ensure that prices are not increased for the purpose of receiving voucher money without providing equivalent products and services in good faith."
    • This amendment was received at some stage electronically via IRC or messenger or pad, however it was never formally read, approved or put to Congress on the floor.
    • The PDC will consider this line in consultation with David Crafti and determine if it should be added as a motion at next congress or policy meeting.

MOTION: Accept PM-4 [04:55:40]

  • MOTION: Accept PM-4 as amended.
    • Put by: Mark Gibbons, on behalf of the Policy Development Committee
    • Passed unanimously on floor
    • Ayes: 14 (unraveled_SamB, tserong, mandrke, oaasvc, thesunnyk, Rundll, jscinoz, David, Expie, Wendy_MsGator, jbevear, George, hanrahan, Hasimir); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

PM-3 Education (continued with amendment) [04:56:25]

  • https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Pirate_Congress_2014/Motions#PM-3:_Education
  • The change that has been made is a consequence of feedback from teachers saying that the way the private school system has been set up over the past 15 years is actually bad for education.
    • it creates a denominational issue of different denominations operating alongside one another
    • inefficient, with some private schools under-utilised while there are public shortages in same area
    • violates separation of church and state
    • stops the rush toward giving money to increasingly unaccountable private schools
    • allows us to do a proper job of Gonksi
      • accountability reforms bring more choice and dynamism to public system
  • The scientific part of the policy is in reference to fact that about half of present day GDP is a result of research done by the previous generation, so scientific research is important, even without immediately recognisable outcomes.
    • Important for future economy as well as knowledge for its one sake
    • Use of vouchers in regard to this is it increased research funding but allows the priorities of that funding to be determined by industry.
      • a needs-based research scheme to accompany a needs based school funding scheme

MOTION: Amend PM-3

  • Motion:
    • Amend PM-3: Education to strike "Progressively withdraw funding to private schools over 10 years, with allowance for private schools to transfer or sell land and assets into the public system." from the policy text.
  • Rationale:
    • Reducing government support of large and well-funded independent schools is a worthwhile idea, however more thought needs to be put into how this should be done, and whether Gonski, or modified Gonski reforms will achieve this anyway. There are a number of small independent schools that require government support to exist; however while there are legitimate reasons for these schools to exist. For example, while it is agreed that public schools should not promote or teach religion, this should not mean that parents wishing their children to learn religion in schools should not be supported by the government.
  • Additionally, some states (Qld) are moving to have public schools to become independent schools. How will these be affected by this line? Are they considered "private schools", how do we distinguish?
    • MarkG responds with;
      • intent is not destroy private schools but return them to 1996 funding model
    • Should go to a vote, members should decide on the ideology of whether there is any place in schools for religion
  • Note from Brandon separation of Church and state not codified in our Constitution
  • MarkG on behalf of PDC accepts the above line strike.
      • Motion accepted and carries
  • Similar to PM-1, can references to "indigenous" be changed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander? I believe in the policy text it's only in one line, near the bottom of "Increase public access to education outputs".
    • Yes, accepted, and also go to same working group as the PM-1 to determine best wording.

Questions and Comments

  • Policy states that research should be released to public domain. Is there a reason we don't automatically release results without applying for patent, ie bypass patent system. As well as restrict use of such patents to be similarly freely released.

PROCEDURAL MOTION: Postpone for amendment

  • Move on to PM-5 while awaiting Education amendment
    • No objections

PM-5 Tort of Privacy [5:06:20]

Questions and Comments

  • Worry that "intrusion into seclusion" is not broad enough as this would not cover the collection of things posted publicly without knowledge etc
  • Seclusion means it only covers stuff specifically hidden (as opposed to miss-set settings etc)
    • Aust Privacy Foundation prefers a single tort for both those things so it can be treated holistically
  • Covers stuff that may be public but not intended to be used that way
    • a problem of disclosure?
  • Can't be determined just via 'disclosure' as private information can be misused without disclosure (eg gathering of info in drinking habits from social media by health insurance companies and factoring that information into premiums)
    • FOI could attain that info?
  • But that would require that you knew the information was gathered, the above could be done without your knowledge
  • DavidC and LiamP may collaborate on an amendment to rectify the above


  • 10 min break while awaiting on amendments
    • no objections

PM-3 Education (continued with new amendments withdrawn) [0524:35]

  • Amendments on patents withdrawn
  • First was to force a skipping of patents and go straight to just published papers
    • Turns out that going to a patent helps protect as it stops others from patenting it as well as assisting in disclosure
      • Having a patent better than just a paper, more formal, better able to find
  • Second was to mandate a 'patent pool' where if you use this free patent, your results but also be added to this 'freely usable' pool
    • would cause private industry to not use these patents and stifle investment, or if used end up with a balkanised technology
  • Happy with original policy

MOTION: Accept PM-3

  • MOTION: Accept PM-3 as amended.
    • Put by: Mark Gibbons, on behalf of the Policy Development Committee
    • Passed unanimously on the floor
    • Remote: Ayes: 15 (jbevear, thesunnyk, David, jscinoz, unraveled_SamB, Rundll, Expie, hanrahan, oaasvc, George, SamKearns, Hasimir, tserong, mandrke, JoeMilesMob); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

PM-5 Tort of Privacy (continued) [5:06:20]

  • Decided not to pursue amendment at this stage instead
    • Develop a working group to develop a policy on 'corporate stalking'
    • PDC requested to explore this new policy
  • MOTION: Accept PM-5 as worded.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • Passed unanimously on floor
    • Remote Ayes: 15 (Rundll, Wendy_MsGator, tserong, jscinoz, hanrahan, David, jbevear, oaasvc, JoeMilesMob, mandrke, thesunnyk, Hasimir, unraveled_SamB, George, SamKearns); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

Discussion Topics

Freedom of Speech: what are acceptable limits

The why of the Pirate Party

Civil liberties in an online world

Closing motions

  • MOTION: create a permanent committee to consider the outcomes of the process of the last National Congress, and make recommendations and suggestions for improvement.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • passed by floor
    • Ayes: 13 (CAPT-Irrelevant, Hasimir, David, Expie, Wendy_MsGator, Rundll, JoeMilesMob, hanrahan, jbevear, tserong, unraveled_SamB, SamKearns, thesunnyk); Nays: 0 (); Abstains: 0 ()
      • Motion carries.

  • MOTION: Next National Congress to be hosted in Sydney.
    • Put by: Brendan
    • passed by floor
    • Ayes: 10 (jbevear, Rundll, thesunnyk, Expie, David, SamKearns, CAPT-Irrelevant, unraveled_SamB, Wendy_MsGator, mandrke); Nays: 1 (hanrahan); Abstains: 3 (tserong, Hasimir, JoeMilesMob)
      • Motion carries.

Closing remarks

  • Productive
  • Good with discussion topics, new for us
  • Thanks to Brisbane for hosting
  • Thanks for all for coming, and all those online for taking the time to attend