Pirate Congress 2021/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.

The raw text-chat log may be found here: Pirate_Congress_2021/Minutes/Log


Day 1 2021-07-31

Start of Day 1 10:10

Miles Whiticker, Party President. declares the meeting open at 10:14 AEST.

  • Welcome to Congress
  • Explanation of Agenda
  • Acknowledgement of Country

Adoption of Standing Orders 10:26

  • Explanation of remote participation procedure:

MOTION: To accept the Standing Orders for National Congress 2021

  • Put by: Miles Whiticker
  • Ayes 13; Nays 0; Abstains 0;
  • Motion carried 10:38.

Outgoing NC Reports 10:40

President's Report (Miles Whiticker) 10:40

  • "Hopefully you've seen me around."
  • COVID-19 impact greatest since 2008 recession
    • luckily public-health-oriented approaches usually winning out
    • Australian government effectively ended poverty for 9 months: COVID supplement as UBI
  • Our UBI policy has been a huge winner for us
    • To continue to thrive we must continue to adopt innovative policy for a utopian future
  • In my time as President I've sought to modernise the way we do outreach
    • I'm so proud of everyone who put effort into the 2019 election knowing it may be our last
    • Special shout-out to our amazing candidates, and also to Mark Gibbons and Andrew Downing
    • Nonetheless we don't have the numbers for boots-on-the-ground campaigning
    • So how do we compete?
    • Obama 2008 campaign showed the way:
      • Face-to-face engagement
      • Direct communications
      • Indirect communications
      • Trouble is, this needs a heavy
    • So we don't have many people or money to buy ads? What can we do?
    • Traditionally we run in the Senate, not locally
    • Compare the Qld Greens strategy:
      • still not much money, but plenty of people for doorknocks
      • Do interesting events, promote them on Facebook... let the algorithm do the work!
      • This pulls people in
      • Important to try this with a heap of online events
      • desired end result: engaging content
      • I wasn't just inspired by the Greens for this, but by our own approach with fully-remote National Congress
      • Contrast the Lib Dems which have pretty much always had an exclusively in-person Congress equivalent
    • So we continue to be leaders in online engagement
    • "Meet the candidates" streams instant success
    • Post election videos went well too
    • Online video efforts continued since
      • Desirable features include interactivity, having a real person presenting, be on a solid theme, and linking to a real-world event
      • Usually met at least two of those criteria
      • Special shout-out to John August as our most prolific video presenter
      • Recent Cryptocurrency discussion performed very well (extra happy to not be a presenter)
      • "probably my favourite livestream was the one with the three European Parliamentary members"
      • those guys are straight-up winning, with multiple elected members
    • Special mention also to Bryn "mandrke" Busai who's been the technical backbone
    • I hope to develop this strategy further in the coming year

Secretary's Report (Alex Jago) 11:58

  • This year has been in many ways productive, but also disappointing.
  • The key events relating to my portfolio were the triennial AEC registration-eligibility review and consequently the Party’s voluntary deregistration in autumn 2021.
  • With our formal membership numbers at just over half the required 500 in September 2020, we sent a “please renew” email to remind people that their membership might’ve lapsed. About 50 of you renewed in the following few days: thank you!
  • We also spent big (by previous standards) on online advertising to attract new recruits. I estimate that this largely paid for itself in terms of new member donations, though (as we try to avoid tracking people extensively) I don’t have the tools to measure conversion scientifically.
  • Since emails are easily ignored, the National Council even took the unprecedented step of calling up lapsed members to ask that they renew their membership, something that required a minor change to the Party’s privacy policy to permit me as the Secretary to divulge member details for this purpose.
    • As the Secretary I am responsible for safeguarding the privacy of our members’ personal information. Thus, I took effort to ensure that contact details were handed out only in small time-limited batches to individual National Council members, by the use of the Party’s pastebin server.
  • However, the AEC deadline (twice extended) still eventually came, and we still were about 100 members short. The National Council opted to voluntarily deregister rather than have it forced upon us. We hope to seek re-registration at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • This past year, I’ve also done most of the graphic design work for the party, much of its social media, and I am also running the Congress voting.
  • As always, this report contains a request to you, the ordinary party member reading this report.

We need you to step up, seek out something to do that interests you, and then do it.

10 minute break 11:10

  • by unanimous procedural motion 11:06-11:09

Treasurer's Report (John August) 11:22

  • A few years ago, the excellent Mark Gibbons was Treasurer, stepped down mid-2019
  • Alex Jago effectively acting Treasurer 2019-2020
  • John August has been the Treasurer this year, but there have been online banking access issues.
    • Looking to resolve these post-Congress
    • The Party has three accounts. Presently $11044.90 in them collectively as of July 19th
    • Presently owing about $1070 to Alex Jago for social media advertisements, so about $10K in the bank
    • This is enough to stand a couple of candidates! Albeit being careful of overreach. A proper campaign needs $30K minimum.
    • Approximately $5000 gain over the past year.
      • Membership donations of about $6000, including some multiple-hundred donations.
      • IT expenditure of about $1000.
  • A fraudulent direct debit of $999 was initiated against us at the end of FY1920 - this is since recovered.
  • Question from Dave regarding deregistration impacts - our name not on the ballot paper
    • Note from Alex that you need 100 signatures per candidate to run independently, so re-rego practically an easier task
  • Some discussion on who PPAU banks with (ANZ) and the relative merits of other banks
    • Liam Pomfret notes that many other civil society orgs bank with Bendigo
  • Notes from Miles:
    • $10K is our usual bank balance leading into an election year, so pre-election fundraising always required.
    • $2K/candidate times two candidates per ticket = $4K / state minimum to hav our own ticket
  • Some discussion on the impact of increased prepoll and postal with COVID
    • Alex thinks it's a wash: being at booths is really helpful, but we have never been able to do many
    • Pre-election brand awareness more critical than ever
  • Discussion on member engagement and retention in the post-MemberDB era
    • People... don't always remember to renew
    • Weeding out not unhelpful, but there's collateral damage
    • Need for positive growth rate!
    • All goes back to engaging online content

Councillor's Report (Fred Gerner) xx:xx

Formal Motions

FM-1 11:50

  • Alex Jago explains the motion.
    • Seeking party endorsement for the NC to negotiate joint tickets and co-campaigning, as we haven't campaigned
    • This could save half our candidate fees
  • Question from Jesse Hermans about timing of deals re preference poll
    • Clarification that poll comes before negotiation
  • Question about distinction between FM-1 and FM-2
    • "FM-2 extends FM-1" - Alex
  • Some clarification still required, amending motions to FM-2 incoming.
  • Andrew Downing raises that the party constitution states:
    • "The National Congress has the exclusive right ... to allow the Party to merge with, affiliate with or disaffiliate with any other organisation"
    • Miles asserts a narrow reading
    • Roger Whatling reads the statement as implying a specific organisation.
    • Alex: "Andrew, would you accept FM-1 as a delegation of the right under certain circumstances?"
    • Alex also asserts a fairly narrow reading of affiliation in terms of generally being formal, legal relationship
    • Andrew: "If we're expecting our members to campaign for another party, it's hard to interpret that as anything other than affiliation"
  • Alex asks Andrew if he'd accept joint tickets only as not counting as "affiliation" for this purpose
    • Andrew says the key feature is the two-thirds membership approval
    • Alex amenable to this. FM-1 amended. FM-2 to be withdrawn.

MOTION: approve FM-1

    • Put by: Miles Whiticker
    • Ayes 17 (Sean O, Liam P, Matt R, Fred G, Morphs, John A, Alex J, David K, Miles W, Andrew D, Roger W, Peter S, Bryn B, Jesse H, Simon M, Mark G, Jed B)
    • Nays 0
    • Abstain 0
    • Motion carried 12:55 AEST; proceeds to online vote.


  • Miles Whiticker proposes an amendment to FM-2 during FM-1 discussion:
    • "Any joint ticket or campaign deals negotiated by the National Council [under FM-1] are automatically ratified by the party, and do not need a specific membership referendum."
  • Further discussion on FM-1 to add the approval poll makes FM-2 redundant
  • Alex withdraws FM-2 at 12:49 AEST.

Lunch 13:00

  • MOTION: Break for lunch for 1 hour
    • Put by: Miles Whiticker
    • Carried without dissent; lunch from 13:00 to 14:00

Guest Interview with Jpeg 14:10

  • Runs the Studio 9001 project, almost 7 years old now
  • Brisbane activist photographer with a focus on human rights and the environment
  • "So you're a regular sight at rallies and protests and such in Brisbane - would you describe yourself as political?" - Miles
    • Well, being apolitical is a stance in and of itself, but I've always considered myself more of an artist than an activists. I think Bill and Ted summed it up well: "Be excellent to each other".
  • Why do you do what you do? - Miles
    • I look to provide a megaphone via my photography for people, from there it's up to everyone to love, hate, share it
  • Do you ever have notable interactions with the police?
    • I try to keep my nose clean, but I've had more than my share of interactions with the police.
    • First one that comes to mind, I was on the way to a protest. Admittedly I was fare evading, and playing cat-and-mouse, so I got slammed a bit when they got me. Cop said he thought from the way I was running that I was wanted for murder. They went through my bag, gave me a bit of shit for my Anonymous mask... sassed them back and the temperature dropped real quick
    • During G20, at the tent embassy, I was taking photos to get a feel for the atmosphere, really something to behold. I get to the eatery at SB TAFE, swarming with cops. Took a few photos and got a pat-down and going through my gear for the trouble. Most of the cops were pretty pleasant but there's always a couple who are salty and accusing me of trying to get through the rent-a-fence.
  • Miles explains the context of the G20 (Brisbane, 2014) and the KP120 (refugees detained in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane for 8 years - like hotel quarantining but even less fun)
    • Jpeg recalls an older gentlemen trying to shake down a barricade at a KP120 rally and then get dropped by a cop
  • You're well known for turning up at protests in a V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask, tell us more
    • Yeah, so I got into the Anonymous thing, it was the perfect outlet
    • This one friend of mine referred to Anonymous as "gateway activism"
    • The idea was to try and maintain some anonymity - I didn't want the fame for it
    • Tends not to wear that mask any more, but still a mask
  • So it all goes back to G20...
    • So we'd set up shop around from Musgrave Park, protestors are coming along, there's the big bang and everyone runs towards me and I got this incredible shot of everyone pissed off and running at me. Don't think I've topped it since.
    • Dethroning Campbell Newman was a great time, I've got a picture of myself flipping him off
    • I've met the Veronicas (speaking at a gay marriage rally), Richard di Natale and Pauline Hanson, quite a mix
  • "Where do you think Australia is heading the next 10 years
    • Well, I certainly wouldn't have expected today's situations two years ago
    • Everyone's wearing a mask now which is certainly a change
    • So now I don't make predictions - I just want to go with the flow and be the best human I can
  • Check out facebook.com/Studio9001 and instagram.com/jpeg.studio9001 for more work from Jpeg!

Policy Motions

PM-1 Gene Patents 14:39

  • Updating the Gene Patents section of our patents policy
  • Turns out the High Court of Australia effectively ditched them in 2015, so our policy should reflect that to instead of saying "remove them", say "disallow them"

MOTION: accept PM-1

  • Put by: Roger Whatling
  • Ayes 13 (Sean O, Fred G, John A, Alex J, David K, Jed B, Matt R, Peter S, Bryn B, Miles W, Roger W, Andrew D, Simon M)
  • Nays 0
  • Abstains 0
  • Motion carried at 14:47; PM-1 proceeds to email vote.

PM-2 Marriage 14:48

  • Sean O'Farrell speaks to the motion
    • Much of the rationale is already in the motion text
    • There is no long-standing reason why marriage should be limited to two people; many cultures have had marriages of three or more people
    • I've been on poly relationships myself; they are no less legitimate than any other
    • If everyone's OK with it, who are we to regulate what consenting adults do with each other?
    • We'd like to cover the cases where these unions - already legal, just unrecognised - fall into the legal cracks
    • (Also, looking forward to PM-3, this could give us some more progressive cred). Media can hyperfocus on areas where we diverge from the progressive parties - so let's assert our progressivity
  • David K would like a small clarification to ensure that we don't commit to recognising overseas marriages involving minors.
    • Alex J proposes "Adults in legally recognised unions from overseas will be recognised under this Act, provided such unions meet Australian standards"
      • Agreed to by all four proponents

MOTION: advance PM-2 as amended

  • Put by: Sean O'Farrell
  • Ayes 13 (Sean O, Roger W, David K, Alex J, Jed B, John A, Miles W, Matt R, Fred G, Bryn B, Andrew D, Liam P, Mark G)
  • Nays 0
  • Abstain 0
  • Motion carried at at 15:13 AEST; PM-2 proceeds.

PM-6 Right to Repaid 15:13

  • Motion to adopt a Position Statement rather than amending the Platform
  • John August speaks to his motion
    • making progress in Australia
    • really fits into our overall framework regarding intellectual property, unlike in e.g. other parties where it might be a more idiosyncratically or opportunistically adopted position
  • Minor copy-edit amendments

MOTION: advance PM-6 as amended

  • Put by: John August
  • Ayes 16 (John A, Fred G, Jed B, Matt R, Bryn B, Sean O, David K, Roger W, Peter S, Morphs, Miles W, Alex J, Mark G, Andrew D, Liam P, Simon M)
  • Nays 0
  • Abstain 0
  • Motion Carried at 15:34 AEST; PM-6 proceeds.

PM-3B 13:38

  • Andrew Downing states the rationale for 3B
  • Liam P questions whether the position statement needs to be repealed at all, as all 3A/B/C propose
    • John raises that it doesn't necessarily require that
    • Sean O raises that 18C potentially derives from Australia signing up to the International Convention on eliminating racial discrimination, so looking to amend the law's more problematic parts is a good middle ground
    • Jed B (in regard to 3A): PPAU shouldn't trouble itself with tribal issues, and anyone who would call us racists for it are silly
    • Liam P
    • Sean O: "hard to take 'reform 18C' out of context in comparison to 'repeal 18C'"
    • Alex J outlines his position: adopting a very small amount of nuance makes it much harder for people to take us out of context.
    • Miles and Liam reiterate the final line from the position statement: advocacy for violence or harm cannot be considered "free" speech, as it comes with the cost of reducing the "freedom" of the victims. None of us can be free until all of us are free.
    • Alex J proposes to amend 3A to simply remove that final paragraph of the position statement. Accepts the need for a floor motion on it.
    • Miles expresses desire to disentangle Position Statement and Platform changes
    • Alex and Sean agree to remove "Repeal PS-2020-02 and" from 3A and 3C conditional on PM-4 becoming a rewrite of PS-2020-02. John agrees to such a rewrite.
      • Sean withdraws support for 3C, on the basis that the statement still needs significant re-writing.
    • 3B now being orthogonal to 3A and 3C, it can be put forward without limiting them.
      • If PM-3B succeeds, PM-4 effectively puts PS-2021-01

Motion: advance PM-3B

  • Put by: Roger Whatling
  • Ayes 11 (Andrew D Bryn B Roger W David K Jed B Fred G Alex J Peter S Sean O Simon M John A)
  • Nays 1 Liam P
  • Abstain 4 Ash, Morphs, Matt R, Miles W
  • Motion carried 16:43, PM-3B advances


Amended to remove "Repeal PS-2020-02 and" -- see discussion under 3B

  • Sean speaks to his motion
    • The big problem with 18C is actually the "reasonably likely" threshold. This is a very low barrier for speech regulation.
    • Firstly, I want to amend it to require intent. I want malice, not just potential forseeable harm.
    • Secondly, I want clear evidence.
    • Thirdly, I give a more explicit statement of the harms. Unlike 3A I don't think the government can regulate "Humiliate" so I want to focus on provable harm with objective legal standards. I retain Harrassment, Intimidation, and add "grave psychological abuse".

MOTION: advance PM-3C as amended

  • Put by: Sean O'Farrell
  • Ayes 8 SO DK Ash MR BB LP AJ FG
  • Nays 4 JA AD RW PS
  • Abstain 3 MW Morphs JB
  • Motion carried 17:08 AEST. PM-3C advances (at the expense of PM-3A).


Amended to remove "Repeal PS-2020-02 and" -- see discussion under 3B

MOTION: amend PM-3A to read as follows

  • Delete the final paragraph of PS-2020-02
  • Change the 18C policy to be the following line:
    • Remove the words "offend, insult" from section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).
  • Alex Jago speaks for his motion
    • In short, he seeks the most minimal 18C reform targeting the most egregious problems, and one that can be the least taken out of context.

MOTION: advance PM-3A if 3C doesn't also advance

* Put by Alex Jago
* Ayes 12 (JA, Morphs, SO, MR, AD, DK, Ash, FG, AJ, BB, SM, LP
* Nays 3 (JB, PS, RW)
  • Abstain 1 (MW)
  • Motion carried at 17:03 AEST.

Congress adjourned for the night.

Day 2: Sunday 1st of August

Reports (cont)

Councillor's Report (Fred Gerner) 10:18

  • What a year!
  • Fred's first involvement in politics
  • I ran for Councillor because I wanted to see things from the inside
  • Figured there'd be some more international involvement (Fred is from Sweden)
    • time zone difficulties as always
  • Biggest highlight getting Social Fridays going again
    • Slow start but it's taking off
    • "Island of sanity" and lots of fun - good disagreements
  • Went to a Progressive Tech meetup in Melbourne
    • They weren't so interested in us, but that might yet change
  • Miles comments on International Committee work:
    • Originally ~5 years ago to engage with PPI
    • Hoped to restart this past year, but it took a lower priority
    • Definitely interest, but we never appointed a full Officer to run the Committee
    • Much to gain with global networking

Motion to accept all the reports 10:24

  • Forgot to do this on Saturday morning and in any event, Fred only gave his on Sunday morning.

MOTION: accept the President's, Secretary's, Treasurer's and Councillor Reports en banc.

  • Put by: Alex Jago
  • Ayes: 8 (DK, FG, SO, AD, JB, JA, RW, BB, PS)
  • Abstain: 2 (AJ, MW)
  • Nays: 0
  • Motion carried 10:28 AEST.

Nominations 10:28

  • Congress has started and we don't have a DRC nomination
  • Miles proposes to temporarily suspend the Standing Orders to permit such a nomination
  • Miles also proposes to open up NC nominations too, but with those happening Literally Next, Alex is less keen. Miles acquisces.
  • Co-option of Dr Liam Pomfret (mid-term DRC) to be Returning Officer for the day
  • Miles relinquishes the CHAIR to Dr Liam Pomfret (10:52 AEST)
  • Speeches, then questions

Motion: Suspend 1.2 (1) of the Standing Orders to permit a Dispute Resolution Committee nomination from the floor

  • Put by: Miles Whiticker
  • Ayes 9 (JA, AD, DK, FG, JB, RW, MW, BB, AJ)
  • Abstain 1 (SO)
  • Motion carried 10:34 AEST

Policy Development Officer

Andrew Downing 10:53

  • Has been PDO previously and contributed to a large number of policies
  • Particularly interested in economic and IP spaces
  • Nominated for both Councillor and PDO - unprecedented but OK
    • Andrew intends to personal-union the PDO into the NC
    • Reduce PDC isolation from the rest of the party

Councillors (x3)

Andrew Downing

  • See PDO speech minutes

Fred Gerner 11:00

  • Hopes to expand social engagement internal and external
    • Reaching out to people who share our interests
  • Hope to do more worh with International Pirates
  • "Vote for Fred!"

David Kennedy 11:02

  • Long-term member, serving Councillor
  • Hope to do a bit more this year
  • "I consider myself a left-leaning libertarian"

Deputy Treasurer

Mitchell Curnoe 11:08

  • New to the party this year
  • Accounting qualifications
  • Drawn to the party for privacy rights, freedom of speech, IP/copyright policy
    • Concerned with corporate monopoly
    • Government as a tool of power distribution
  • Also a fan of how our UBI avoids poverty traps
    • "Having a smoother transition off welfare helps get poor and working classs people up into the middle class"


John August 11:14

  • Treasurer for this year
    • Not much has happened this year, but that's OK
    • Much credit to Mark G
    • Looking to continue in the position
  • Background in secular issues and intellectual property
    • Got that left-libertarian vibe: "mostly left but freaked out by the fringe"
    • "If you go back to Menzies, he was actually liberal, not what we have today"
    • "And there's a bit of me"

Deputy Secretary

Roger Whatling 11:16

  • Joined after the 2019 election
  • Deregistration as a call-to-arms
  • Shout out to Fred and the Friday Night Crew
  • Looking to contribute where I can
  • Consulting and project-management background
    • Looking to contribute some more organisation and coordination skills
    • Supporting Miles, Alex and the rest of the crew

Deputy President

Brandon Selic [11:21]

  • Brandon has been since almost the beginning
  • Legal and Qld State coordinator
  • 2x candidate
  • Incumbent Vice President
  • "Strong working relationship with Miles and Alex, though they may disagree"
  • Looking to help with membership drive and work through our strong internal privacy policy
  • "I joined the party because I was dissatisfied with existing politics, even more so recently!"


Alex Jago [11:24]

  • "Hi, I'm Alex"
  • Incumbent Secretary for the last three years
    • If you've been around for the last three years, you know what I do
    • "My biggest goal remains to be replaced by someone who is better than me at being Secretary"
  • Our big challenge this year is re-rego and then fighting an election
    • "And that's what must be done"
  • Infrastructural work also a goal for this year
    • Hope to stand the Programming Team back up and upgrade a bunch of our custom IT infrastructure
  • "I see us in a better position this year; the trajectory is up!"


Miles Whiticker 11:30

  • Hello World!
  • This will be my fourth term as President in 2021-22. It feels longer. So much has changed.
    • Personally and professionally what I do isn't super relevant to politics, I just have a wide range of interests
    • Recently, I've been getting into more organisational and activism things
    • Historically, I have run for the party and served as the face of the party on a bunch of media
    • I'd love to take a less front-facing role, but responsibility flows upwards - to the NC and to me.
  • The area I've put the most time into has been our digital outreach strategy and trying to solve member attrition
    • Three key words: Engagement, Recruiting, Promotion
  • In Andrew's nomination speech he talked about bringing the PDO into National Council - good idea
  • I commented that we need an International Officer, and that should be an NC member's portfolio item
  • Effectively, giving Councillors portfolios
    • This contrasts with the model we've been running on with Councillors as apprentices
  • Echoing Roger, there are places in the party where we can improve organisation by introducing chains of responsibility
  • In the early days of the party we had heaps of engagement and committees - less now, we need to make it work in the current conditions
  • So once we start thriving, what then? Start improving quality. Explore more niches.
  • We critically need more external communications capacity - stuff like the Online Safety Bill, we didn't make a submission on
  • In conclusion we have a critical niche in Australian politics. We're people who are economically left but unsatisfied with the mainstream parties
  • There are people we can reach out to who would never think to join us on their own
    • In particular we have to reach out to people outside the tech bubble
  • So I'm eager to continue as President and as always I like to encourage competition there. I'd be happy to drop down to a lower-level role and really specialise, but this isn't the year.

Dispute Resolution Committee (1)

  • No nominations at the start of the day
  • Sean O'Farrell indicates willingness to nominate at 12:40 AEST.

Questions following Nominations

  • Miles to other candidates: "Some of you mentioned a topic area of interest..."
    • Roger: My initial interest before the party was the environment - I wanted an ecologically aware party that _wasn't_ the Greens. From there I got into economic discussions. I'm very keen to work on both of those.
    • Andrew sees huge global changes coming economically. When the old systems fall apart, pirates step in.
    • Mitchell: I'm really glad to be representing a step up in terms of accounting background. I'm probably different to many others here - in contrast to being a disaffected leftist, I'm a bit more of a disaffected Liberal who's frustrated with their crony corporatism. The breaking point was probably Big Tech vs Big Media - they should've seen it as citizens vs tech.
    • John: I have numerous topics I take an interest in: economics, land, UBI, IP and repair rights. Bureaucracy and rent-seeking. I concur with Mitchell - the Liberals are too concerned with the big end of town. I'm also not happy with the hypocrisy in Australian foreign policy - Timor, West Papua, Julian Assange...
    • Fred: last year I was more tech focused - but over the year I've been more interested in going back to the roots. I'd say my passion lies in the social bits; forming crews and getting people to become local leaders. Take care of people and they will take care of you.
    • Alex: It all goes back to digital rights - I'm not alone when I say that Cory Doctorow radicalised me.
    • Brandon: I was probably the first lawyer to join the Party, previously on the Legal Committee for this reason. Also interested in environmental policy, and in relation to the pandemic, something about an Australian CDC and better quarantine provisions - let's do better than Labor. I was already radicalised from a young age and with the Democrats going down I jumped over. I'm one of those who think that we firmly need to clarify our 18C policy.
    • David: As a career software developer I was naturally first attracted to the party for digital rights back in the DRM age, like many I've taken a bigger interest in economic policy - corporate BS, UBI, etc. It's critical that working and lower middle class people can advance
  • Sean O: What are the plans for recruitment and outreach beyond a single degree of separation?
    • John: I have a community radio show - everyone who's known me for 5 minutes knows this - I don't know what the reach figures are, but they're hopefully nonzero. You have to have a point zero for the spread of anything, I suppose. We have to take our ideas and present them to outsiders.
    • Roger: I think Miles is on to a good start and I think we have to continue that. The small speeches and digital work around existing policy to make it more accessible and consumable. These are areas we can create organic exposure. We have to work to make the party relevant to people who aren't motivated by our core topics. Post COVID it's necessary to get more boots on the ground too
    • Alex: I think we can do more with merch, stickers and posters; not necessarily overtly for the party, but primarily as agitprop for Free Culture and for Basic Income
    • Mitchell: we might be able to do stuff with sponsorships, but that's complicated
    • Brandon: I'm in central Qld now, so recruitment is challenging. I think our online stuff is working. I'd like to see more on our YouTube channel - John is a good start - and a monthly podcast.
    • Fred: We have early plans to stream Social Fridays to Twitch and elsewhere - I think that will help too.
    • Andrew: as I recall, Fred mentioned that every second Friday, we should do joint discussions with other groups and cross-pollinate - this builds depth into explaining what we're about
    • David: I've had success with recruiting friends from within tech - second tier connections are a challenge but I think we have good ideas
    • Miles: I talked earlier about campaigning strategies other parties use - I want to emphasise a hack the Greens use with their FB events and using the FB algorithm to promote it. At the end of the day it's about creating content and sharing it. We've had a number of policy talks, which are interesting for the people who care about them - but not everyone does. Important != popular. People in IT circles have probably heard of us. So our recuiting grounds now are people outside of IT. Let's create content on those and share it. We need more graphic designers - shout out to Alex for picking that up. We need more social media in general, custom memes and branding. People have to want to engage with our content and interactivity is very useful.
    • Liam: yes, there is a need for more policy development and communications. "What do you do in a pandemic" isn't really something that we've had to think about before, but heading into an election... and of course from a privacy perspective there's plenty to talk about there.
    • Comment from Sean - it's not name recognition, it's about knowing more about us than the name
    • Roger: yes, there's an education process - ensuring that people who've heard of us know what we stand for
    • Liam: yes, sometimes I wonder if it would be helpful to lean into pirate mythology a bit more - pirates as having internal democracy

Elections 12:35 -12:45

  • Miles Whiticker accepts nomination to President.
  • Brandon Selic accepts nomination as Deputy President.
  • Alex Jago accepts nomination to Secretary.
  • Roger Whatling accepts nomination to Deputy Secretary.
  • John August accepts nomination to Treasurer.
  • Mitchell Curnoe accepts nomination to Deputy Treasurer.
  • Andrew Downing accepts nomination to Councillor.
  • Fred Gerner accepts nomination to Councillor.
  • Andrew Downing accepts nomination to Councillor.

Lunch 12:45 - 13:45

MOTION: adjourn for lunch 12:41

  • Put By: Liam Pomfret
  • Carried unanimously
  • Break for lunch from 12:45

Election cont. 13:50 - 14:03

  • Liam Pomfret declares all positions filled without requiring further voting. (14:00 AEST).
  • Miles Whiticker resumes the CHAIR.

Dispute Resolution Committee

Sean O'Farrell 13:57

  • Sean nominates from the floor over lunch
  • Sean O'Farrell accepts his nomination to Dispute Resolution Committee.

Guest presentation - Andrew Downing 14:05

"Talking about Money"

  • We have policies on Basic Income, Land Value Tax and a bit of cryptocurrency, but it's not super clear what our economic basic actually is
  • Particular concerns about the environment and affordability
  • Money is a technology to communicate value
  • Value is time, times, effort, times technology
    • hence post-scarcity with increasing tech
    • have to understand that value is subjective
    • Inflation or deflation as mismatch between currency and value
  • With us on a sharp tech ramp, the value of your future time should be much greater than it is today
    • Inflation effectively steals this from us
    • Note the difference between inflation and CPI
    • Mostly what we have had over the last few decades is asset inflation - land, shares, commodities
    • but consumer goods have held steady, so "the cost of living hasn't gone up"
    • House loans have gone from 2x annual salary to 6x annual salary over the last 30 years
  • Tech impacts also feature a punctuated equilibrium
    • Gains compound - currently seeing information and energy revolutions
  • Technology is naturally deflationary: getting more for less
    • But our monetary system inherently wants to be inflationary
    • (There are reasons for this, small positive inflation rates push investment)
  • Every industry today is seeing an automation revolution driven by computing
  • So what happens? Why is your house price going through the roof?
    • Deflationary technology, but we want inflation, so the money printer goes brrrr
    • More money chasing not enough assets
    • It's never been easier to lend but the banks actually don't want to lend right now!
    • People who have planned for moderate positive interest rates are having a bad time rn
    • All this money chasing not enough assets == NASDAQ blowing up post-Recession
    • Governments, of course, can take advantage of this - it's never been cheaper to borrow
    • But if interest rates rise, western governments are in a bit of a bind too
  • And so where the US goes, Australia must follow - we're too closely bound by international trade
    • Red Queen's Race
  • So the big trouble is that asset price inflation feeds wealth disparities.
  • History rhymes: currency wars -> tarriff wars -> actual wars. But now we have atomic weapons.
  • So effectively, fiat currency requires infinite growth. This seems incompatible with environmentalism, certainly with a finite world.
  • Need an economic model that doesn't require forever growth
  • An approach many countries are moving towards is a central bank digital currency. This solves the "commercial banks won't lend enough" problem but little else. And it's an incredibly powerful tool for repression - BasicsCard for the entire country. So the PRC is doing it already and tying it to social credit scores...
    • still fiat based, inflationary, etc
  • The trouble is that every central bank that doesn't do this will lose to those who do
  • So what do we need?
    • Decentralisation
    • Deflationary
    • Programmable and open source
    • Permissionless innovation
    • Privacy or identity as required
    • Global
    • Efficiency, not "forever growth"
    • Taxing resources, not arbitrary proxies

So that's the sort of thing I want to work on as PDO this year. We have a choice between the Star Trek future (post-scarcity), or the Star Wars future (inequality on a galactic scale).


  • What if we put that NASDAQ graph on a log scale?
    • Still a thing. E.g. Apple didn't do anything in the past year to literally double the value of the company... but that's exactly what their market cap suggests.
    • Memecoins a recognition that price signals are completely distorted
  • Thoughts on how crypto seems to swap inflation for computational difficulty?
    • That's for proof-of-work more so than proof-of-stake -- compare gold, the traditional store of value. It's scarce and takes a lot of work to acquire. Consider Bitcoin as digital gold.
    • Compare Ethereum heading towards proof-of-stake. It's a short-term thing and therefore probably less trustworthy - less skin in the game.
    • We need a solid long-term store of value to properly trade with the future.
  • Alex and Andrew have a back and forth about L1 vs L2 networks: actual Bitcoin as settlement layer, most transactions on a Layer 2 network.
  • Overall, Andrew sees a move towards relying purely on exclusivity/resource/consumption/pollution taxes.

10 minute break 15:01 - 15:11

MOTION: adjourn for a 10 minute break 14:57

  • Put by: Miles Whiticker
  • Ayes 10 (MW DK Morphs MR AJ RW BB FG AD PS)
  • Abstain 1 (JB)
  • Nays 0
  • Congress to resume at 15:11

Policy Motions (cont.)

PM-5 Freedom of Speech update 2 15:11

  • Sean O'Farrell speaks to his motion.
  • We have a section in our speech policy labelled "remove counter-productive restrictions on freedom of speech"
    • this is a little out of date in that it doesn't include the more recent laws
    • What I propose to repeal prohibits a number of things, some of which are already prohibited.
    • Intimate violence was already prohibited, but this law re-prohibits it
    • This law is largely a response to the Christchurch shootings, where the perpetrator livestreamed his actions
    • However, the approach has problems. One of the cases the law prohibits is "engagement in a terrorist act"
    • The ALRC notes that this is a very vague and arbitrary distinction; violence is used in pursuit of political aims by governments. It only becomes terrorism when our government takes a side against it.
    • So coverage of civil wars has issues. There's an example of a separatist group in Ethiopia - de facto terrorists under Australian law. Under this law, the government remains free to put out whatever
    • Another issue is the treatment of murder. I worry that this law may make it illegal to share footage proving that you killed someone in self-defence
    • Then we get to the impact on police and bodycam footage. It may be illegal to publish footage showing the camera wearer was committing police brutality
    • Sean reiterates that distributing footage of sexual violence or torture are already prohibited under existing law.
    • As for children - we have content warnings and parental involvement for a reason.
  • Question from Fred, Sean re-iterates that this applies to publishing stuff, not using it in court
    • Nonetheless there are cases here where it's not about a courtroom, but in the public
    • There are cases where you can't tell if the filmer was "involved" or not, and the precautionary principle means it will be taken down, as there's no penalty for takedown
  • John posits that this is going to draw a bunch of backlash, and that there are public interest carveouts
    • Sean: the carveouts apply to journalists-as-a-job-title
    • Nobody is going to read this with preconceived notions (like on 18C, where we get conflated with Cory Bernardi)
    • comment from JedB: if we get our Constitutional freedom of speech then pretty much all the laws we want to strike down would be.
  • Comment from Sean: "I wish I'd been told about the Online Safety Bill before today - it'd be in here too!"

MOTION: advance PM-5 15:42

  • Put by: Sean Farrell
  • Ayes 9 (SO AD Morphs Ash MR JB PS FG BB)
  • Abstains 3 (MW DK RW)
  • Nays 1 (JA)
  • Motion CARRIED 15:44 AEST; PM-5 proceeds

PM-4 Freedom of Speech position statement

  • JedB suggests that overnight changes to PM-4 overstep the spirit of the standing orders regarding large modifications
  • Some discussion and clarification of positions
  • John reverts to back his original PM-4, but puts a motion to "replace"
  • Alex takes this as an edit to get the appropriate punnet square of options with 3B

MOTION: adopt PM-4 as a replacement position statement

  • Put by: John August
  • Ayes (SO JA DK MR BB FG Morphs AJ MW)
  • Abstain 1 (Ash)
  • Nay

Open Discussion

Procedural motion: extend Congress until 17:15 AEST

  • Put by: Miles Whiticker
  • Carried without dissent

Strategy Discussion

  • John: the major challenge is of course to get re-registered
  • Miles concluded that phone banking wasn't achievable within our eventual timeline but we can restart it
  • Alex comments that running as independents is actually harder than getting re-registered
  • Facebook is actually kinda working
  • John: we're doing a bunch of things - let's do them! Just as long as we don't conflict.
  • Sean maintains that we need to start looking at 2+ degrees of separation marketing
  • Alex to oversee Roger, Mitchell and Satch for merch efforts
  • John emphasises that external speakers attract interest
    • Gotta get them in with things they support
    • Sean suggests Naomi Brockwell as a personality
  • Appearances on generally popular shows is a method used since forever

Roger wrote a document as part of his nomination.,,

  • https://pirateparty.org.au/w/images/c/c1/Rebuilding_Pirates_-_an_Opportunity.pdf
  • Not everything here is doable right away, but can advance the conversation
  • "Glad that everyone is keen on merch"
  • "Have a plan" - what would we do first if we suddenly were running the country? What's the most important things? Liberties, IP, UBI
    • "Would it be worthwhile as an activity by the party to select 2-3 headline non-techy policies? UBI and 1-2 others.
    • "Have a policy on ABC, go talk to related group about it
      • John: in my experience as a candidate, people will go policy shopping on one crucial element - it's waste of time trying to out-green the Greens
      • AndrewD: on the flip side, when it comes to our core issues like privacy, we smash everyone else on the matrices
  • Do more internal engagement
    • fix the email lists issues
    • weekly "we're doing XYZ this week, wanna help?"
  • Local chapters and in-person meetups
    • Necessary for election logistics and similar. We'll only really succeed when we figure it out - Alex
      • Free pizza - Jed
      • "Well, within a budget..." - Miles
    • Party has a long and failed history of meetups, whatever we've tried has often failed due to lack of critical mass
    • This is a big reason why Miles is online now.
  • Go start some (verbal) fights
  • Young Pirates
  • Be Seen
    • (this is merch)
  • Engage Experts

Fred: we'll know we've hit critical mass when we have to split Social by topics

Some discussion of the Secretarial information bottleneck - turns out that privacy is hard for putting people in contact with each other.

Also people don't read/respond to emails. It's a problem.

Alex calls for people to get hacking on MemberDB - several things are a feature there.


  • Miles notes that mailouts are expensive. $25000/suburb.
  • David says he's talking about self-print, self-drops
  • Party infra is actually almost ready to support this
  • Sean is actually talking about mailouts to members - still not cheap

Next Congress Location

  • Miles proposes online again, unless someone would like to host. Especially with Covid as a continuing risk.
  • General agreement.

MOTION: hold National Congress 2022 online 17:17

  • Put by: Miles Whiticker
  • Carried without dissent (17:21 AEST)

End of Congress 2021

MOTION: end this Congress 17:21

  • Put by: Miles Whiticker
  • Carried unanimously (17:25 AEST)