Pirate Congress 2016/Motions

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Official Party Document
The veracity of this document is ensured by the National Council and editing of this page is limited to members of the National Council.

Formal Motions

FM-1: Position Statements

Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer

Motion

Adopt the following authorisation process, with the title 'Position statements'


  1. Position statements may be drafted at the initiative and under the direction of the Policy Development Committee, or by an individual member.
  2. Position statements expand upon and complement the Party platform and policies by
    1. combining parts of separate policies into a statement on a specific issue, or
    2. applying the principles in the Party Constitution, platform and policies to a specific issue.
  3. Position statements must not contradict the Party Constitution or existing platform and policies.
  4. If drafted by the Policy Development Committee, a position statement must be approved in accordance with the Committee's internal processes.
  5. If the National Council votes to adopt a position statement it becomes an official Party document.
  6. The National Council may refer a proposed position statement to the Policy Development Committee if the National Council deems it necessary.
  7. All position statements adopted between National Congresses must be provided to members in advance of the immediately following National Congress, at which members may raise objections and amendments.


Rationale

The National Council has adopted several authorisation processes in relation to press releases, public inquiry submissions and designs. These are formal rules to ensure that public statements and promotional materials are accurate, appropriate and meet minimum standards. This is a proposed authorisation statement for position statements.

The Pirate Party has only ever adopted one position statement, in relation to electoral participation. This was a response to negative changes to the electoral laws, that our policies had not anticipated at the time those changes were being made. This proposed authorisation process revives the concept.

Under the proposal, there are two kinds of position statements:

  • The first, covered by subsection (2)(a), is a statement that combines parts of separate policies into a single statement on a specific issue. Position statements are intended to be flexible, by allowing the Party to create ad hoc documents which the public can be directed towards if they are interested in a topic that is covered in several policies, and to allow the Party to respond to emerging issues which are not explicitly covered by existing policies, but where the principles and policies point in a clear direction.
  • The second, covered by subsection (2)(b), is a statement that expands upon and complements existing policies by applying the Party's principles to a particular issue.

(2)(a) position statements are simply compilations, so this authorisation process provides that they can be adopted by a vote of the National Council, the democratically-elected executive of the party. They will be recorded in the minutes of the National Council and will be made known to the members accordingly.

(2)(b) position statements are more than a mere compilation. Subsection (7) of the proposed authorisation process provides that they can be adopted by a vote of the National Council, but then must be ratified by the National Congress immediately following adoption. This is a safeguard taken from article 5.2(2) of the Party Constitution, where new policy must generally be adopted at the National Congress, or, if otherwise made by the National Council, voted on at the next National Congress. This makes it clear how the rules apply.

If there is a dispute as to whether a position statement goes beyond being a compilation of existing material — (2)(b) or not (2)(b)-that is the question — these can be resolved using the process elaborated in the Constitution, which may involve referral to the Dispute Resolution Committee.

In regard to the other provisions:

  • Subsection (1) provides that position statements may, like policies, be drafted by either the PDC or ordinary members.
  • Subsection (3) makes it clear that position statements must be consistent with existing materials.
  • Subsection (4) ensures that position statements developed by the PDC are to be developed in a manner similar to policies.
  • Subsection (5) states the effect of adoption by the National Council.
  • Subsection (6) allows the National Council to refer proposals to (or back to) the PDC before adoption.

Policy and Platform Amendment Motions

PM-1: Policy review and update

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Apply the edits contained in this update of the existing policy platform: https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Pirate_Congress_2016/Motions/Policy_and_Platform/Alternate_Structure

Rationale

PPAU runs a uniquely open policy process. Over the past 3.5 years, members have written almost 60 pages (30,000 words) of policy. While that is a great testament to our process and volunteerism, there is a risk that the sheer amount of policy can get overwhelming and hard to keep on top of. Over time, parts of it may get out of date as things change. Other parts may sink without a trace or draw negative feedback. This is valuable, as feedback makes the policies better - but only if we respond to it.

There are also growing issues with the way the policies are laid out. Some policies, like civil liberties, have grown so large and cover so many sub-topics that they're difficult to read. The split between 'civil' and 'digital' issues has also shredded topics like privacy across multiple policies, making it hard to get a sense of our complete stance.

Every few years, we need to run a deep edit of our policy platform to correct all these accumulated issues.

This edit to the platform contains new policies, but it refreshes some of the existing material in the following ways:

  • Splits overly long policies (i.e., civil liberties, tax, environment, foreign affairs) into separate sections (ie, all privacy material has been drawn together and pasted in as its own policy; same with free speech, same with self ownership, etc). Where policies have a link to each other, they have been grouped under larger headings.
  • Joins the policy text together on a single platform document. Previously, it was hard to read because the policies were all on separate pages and readers had to click to get to a preamble, then click again from the preamble to read the policy. This page format will be simpler to navigate.
  • Removes or updates parts that are obsolete, and reviews the rest for expression and readability.
  • Throws in a few more pictures and quotes to break up the 'wall of text'.

Specific changes by policy:

Freedom of speech

  • This is the freedom of speech section from civil liberties, copied out and pasted as a standalone policy. It retains all the existing policy content related to speech. There are edits to the preamble text for clarity and to help it work better as a standalone.

Privacy

  • This merges all privacy-related content from the former civil liberty and digital liberty policies. There are moderate edits to the preamble text to remove duplication and improve readability. Preamble text now covers recent developments (metadata collection laws).

Justice

  • This is the justice section of civil liberties recut as a standalone policy. There is no change to policy content. There are some tweaks to the preamble to help it work better as a standalone policy.

Control over the body

  • This is the relevant material from civil liberties, recut as a standalone policy. There is no change to policy content. There is a slight reordering of policy dot points and expanded preamble to make it work as a standalone policy.

Marriage

  • Comprises the existing marriage policy, now moved up to stand under the broader civil liberties policy grouping. The preamble text is edited for flow; terminology on “same sex marriage” has been changed to make it more inclusive. A new paragraph has also been added to the preamble better explain the connection with our core themes. No change to the policy text except for removal of a redundant line (the ban on forced unions was in there twice).

Digital rights

  • This comprises the remaining parts of the old digital liberties policy. The policy text is unchanged, but the preamble is recut slightly to work as a standalone passage.

Copyright

  • No changes.

Culture and media

  • “and media” added to the heading so people can more easily locate the public broadcasting section. Removed reference to “asset recycling fund” as a funding source, as this no longer exists. Some slight edits to preamble for readability. Policy text is unchanged.

Patents

  • Some edits to the preamble for readability and recent events. Policy content unchanged except for inclusion of more active language and deletion of reference to innovation patents. Deletes reference to innovation patents as these are under review and we should withhold a stance until there is more clarity over their future form.

School education

  • Encompasses the school & early childhood parts from the previous education policy. Some tweaks made to the preamble for readability and to work better as a standalone. Policy point on the funding balance between public and private schools has been made more general, as the existing phrasing ("reduce quantum of funding to private schools to match 1996 levels") is too arbitrary and specific.

Universities

  • Comprises the university section from the previous broader education policy. Small edits to the preamble to improve clarity.

Science plan

  • Comprises the science plan section from the previous broader education policy. Includes updates on funding mechanism as previous policy cited Asset Recycling fund as a source. This source no longer exists, so instead the policy now proposes funding via savings from abolishing drug patents.

Government

  • Preamble changed slightly for readability. Removed some policy sections on election debates, electronic voting and election rego costs as these are non-core issues which have not gotten any positive public response in 3 years.

Basic income

  • This is the basic income section from the previous tax policy. Preamble has been slightly edited to use the basic income terminology more. An unnecessary point about the medicare levy has been dropped. The section on corporate tax has been removed as member & public feedback doesn't seem very supportive.

Housing affordability & land tax

  • This is the state tax reforms section of the previous tax policy. Expanded preamble to work as a standalone (and because there was feedback that this bit needed to be explained more). Slight clarification to policy wording from:
  • Encourage states to apply differential levels based on per-meter land value to produce optimal builds.

to

  • Encourage states to apply progressive rates and different structures to encourage 'competitive federalism' and optimal tax builds.

Distributed digital currencies

  • Tiny edits to preamble for readability. No change to policy.

Fiber to the premises

  • No changes.

Climate change and renewable energy

  • This is the climate change section from the previous environment policy. Slight tweaks to preamble to work as a standalone, and correction of a typo (should read 70,000 and not 70 GwH).

Ecology and land management

  • This is the land management section from the previous environment policy. Slight tweaks to preamble to work as a standalone.

Animal welfare

  • Drops the section on live cattle exports. Cattle exports is a non-core issue and our policy keeps getting attacked (unfairly) by animal liberationists. Based on feedback over the last two elections it is better to be open to ideas rather than overly prescriptive on this issue.

Health

  • No change to policy. Tiny edits to preamble including changes in NDIS section to refer to users as “clients”. This was recommended by people working in the sector.

War on drugs

  • Slight improvements and updates to the preamble (which is nearly 4 years old).

Asylum seekers

  • Readability tweaks. Also time period updates as the older version references the situation as it was 3 years ago.

Treaties and diplomacy

  • Extracted from the old foreign policy. Tweaks to preamble for readability and to work as a standalone. Long paragraph on aid removed from preamble, as it's covered perfectly well in the policy text.

Defence etc

  • Extracted from the old foreign policy. Tweaks to preamble for readability and to work as a standalone. Inserted a clarification on our preferred defence funding level, as this has been requested.

PM-2: Lockout laws

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Insert into the Culture and media policy, the following point under 'Expand funding and venues for artists':

  • Repeal 'lockout laws' and allow venues and pubs more freedom to determine their own opening hours.

Rationale

This issue has become policy-worthy. We should make it clear that we aren't music-hating authoritarians.


PM-3: Federal ICAC

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Insert into the Government transparency policy, the following point under 'Improve transparency and conduct in Australian politics':

  • Establish a Federal anti-corruption authority with powers modeled on the NSW ICAC.

Rationale

This idea has gained prominence over the last 12 months, and seems like a no-brainer for PPAU.

PM-4: Sex work

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Insert into the Control over the body policy the following point:

  • Decriminalise sex work and limit police intervention to cases of exploitation and coercion.

Rationale

We have had queries about our stance. This seems like the logical position for a civil libertarian party.


PM-5: Abuse in detention centres

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Insert into the free speech policy, the following point: under 'Remove counter-productive restrictions on freedom of speech':

  • Repeal sections of the Border Force Act which allow for prosecution of whistleblowers who report abuses in detention centres.

Rationale

We should be clear about opposing horrible laws like this.


PM-6: Recent animal welfare issues

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Insert into the Animal welfare policy the following points:

  • Ban cosmetics testing on animals
  • Ban 'puppy farming' and unregulated high-volume dog breeding.

Rationale

These things are probably going to happen anyway. We should lead from the front.


PM-7: Creative Works Act

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Replace the contents of the existing copyright policy with the Creative Works Act, but keep the title 'Copyright' in the platform and policies.

Rationale

This policy, if adopted, would be the most ambitious copyright policy of any party in Australia, if not the world. This is a radical overhaul of the current copyright policy, making it both more direct and more detailed. It succinctly states the problems with contemporary copyright law, and proposes a replacement of copyright with a new, modern system.


PM-8: Codification

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Insert into the Reform of Democratic Institutions policy the following point under 'Improve transparency and credibility in systems of governance':

  • Codify all federal legislation into an administrative code, civil code, commercial code, criminal code and revenue code, and any specialist codes as necessary.

Rationale

The vast majority of the world has all of its laws in a handful of codes. In the United States, all federal laws are contained in the United States Code, which lists provisions under subject-specific titles. The process of shifting toward such a system is called codification, and is an approach favoured across the world, from Continental Europe to Latin America, and Asia to Africa.

The primary advantages of codification are transparency and accessibility: no more consulting thirty different pieces of legislation to determine what is and isn't legal. One example of this being done well in Australia is the Australian Consumer Law, but perhaps the best example is the corporations legislation, which is now essentially contained in just two pieces of legislation. A similar example is the Australian Criminal Code, which contains most — but for some reason, not all — federal crimes.

Separating laws into a limited number of categories allows them to be organised rationally within those categories, and for duplicated, superseded, contradictory and irrelevant laws to be more easily removed. It follows that codification will greatly assist in leading toward a body of law that is simple, accessible, consistent, modern and certain.

Most countries divide their codes into major areas of law, typically criminal and civil, but specific codes are often used. Latin American countries in particular have a tendency to move from decodification to recodification: specialist legislation appears and is then eventually integrated into the existing codes. Examples of specialist codes include those related to employment, intellectual property and consumer protection.

This policy amendment proposes five specific codes which should be sufficient, but would allow for the creation of additional codes if necessary. These might include an environmental code, evidence and procedure code, land and property code, and so on.


PM-9: Abortion

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Amend the Bill of Rights policy to read:

  • The right to control your body and health, including the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Rationale

Our policy on abortion is to 'Extend protections within the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 nationwide, to provide baseline legal abortion services'. This amendment makes it a constitutional right and brings it to greater prominence within our policy set.


PM-10: Versioning of legislation

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Amend the Reform of Democratic Institutions policy by adding the following points under the heading "Improve transparency and credibility in systems of governance":

  • Make all legislation accessible and searchable online with the ability to compare selected revisions side-by-side to see the differences.
  • Make all bills accessible and searchable online with the ability to view proposed amendments in the context of the legislation being amended.

Rationale

It is currently very difficult to see how legislation has changed over time. This is despite the fact that tools like wikis exist which allow direct comparisons of past and present versions of documents. Although AustLII does provide historical copies of legislation, it leaves a lot to be desired as a free, non-government resource — there is no direct means to compare current legislation with earlier versions. This policy would resolve that issue.

Secondly, as anyone who has tried understanding legislative amendments would know, it is not immediately apparent what changes a bill makes without flipping through the various acts it amends and trying to understand the context. This policy would allow the public to see legislative amendments in context and determine whether representations that have been made about their effect are accurate.


PM-11: Gun Control

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Amend the Civil Liberties policy to add the following sections on Gun Control as detailed at: https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Pirate_Congress_2016/Motions/Policy_and_Platform/Civil_Liberties_Gun_Control

Rationale

It is surprising how often we are asked for our position on this issue. This formalises our stance to support the current laws and status quo.


PM-12: Prison Reform

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

To accept the proposed Prison Reform policy https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Pirate_Congress_2016/Motions/Policy_and_Platform/Prison_Reform

Rationale

As per the policy preamble:

  • Reducing the net amount of crime in our country must be a primary long-term goal of our criminal justice system. Although many would argue that has always been the case, Australia's approach to achieving that goal has historically been based on the notion that fear of punishment will stop people from committing crimes. In practice, fear is a poor motivator. Fear cannot direct good behaviour — it can only compete with the other immediate threats in a criminal's life.
  • Except for the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes, we know that most convicted criminals will eventually be released back into the community. Knowing that they might be your neighbour, would you like them to have experienced years of dehumanising and degrading treatment with limited to no possibility of self-improvement, or would you prefer your new neighbour to have been educated, to have acquired social skills, to be integrated with the community, to have gainful employment and to have a purpose in life?
  • The Pirate Party finds the latter is preferable.


PM-13: Transgender and Intersex issues

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Amend various policies to address transgender and intersex issues as detailed at https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Pirate_Congress_2016/Motions/Policy_and_Platform/Transgender_and_Intersex_Issues

Rationale

See following Position Statement & accompanying motion.

Position Statements

PS-1: Transgender and Intersex issues

Put by: Policy Development Committee

Motion

Ratify the Transgender and Intersex issues Position Statement https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Pirate_Congress_2016/Motions/Position_Statements/Transgender_and_Intersex_Issues

Rationale

The issues affecting transgender and intersex persons, cut a narrow swath across a large number of Pirate Party Australia policy areas. These issues are frequent sources of public enquiry. This policy statement outlines the concerns, followed by a cross reference to related inclusions in other policy statements.