Position Statements

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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.

Position Statements are policies that either cut across and combine many aspects of the main platform, or apply Pirate principles to a specific issue.

Position Statement 2013-01 – Improving Electoral Participation


Pirate Party Australia encourages the maximisation of political participation. As part of the global movement that is well known for its interest in the concept of liquid democracy, Pirate Party Australia has strived to investigate new means of political participation. We are one of the few political parties in Australia that provides for the remote participation of members and online voting. We intend to seize the opportunities that modern communication technologies provide to change the nature of politics.

However, while the Internet particularly is opening up new methods of participation, Pirate Party Australia and other minor parties like ours exist because their members do not feel existing parties adequately represent our interests and views in Parliament. To rectify this, we and other parties contest elections. This aim is stated in our constitution[1].

In 2013, both houses of the Federal Parliament passed a bill amending the Electoral Act 1918 (Cth). Among other innocuous changes, the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Improving Electoral Procedure) Bill 2012 included an amendment to the Electoral Act that doubled the nomination deposit for contesting elections[2]. As a result, the fee per Senate candidate is $2000, while the House of Representatives is $1000, coming to a combined cost of more than $300,000 to contest every electorate and run full Senate tickets nationwide.

Pirate Party Australia views this as a serious affront to democracy. This is a deliberate stacking of future elections in favour of incumbent parties, and deprives Australians — both electors and candidates — of true democratic participation and fulfilment. This places an unfair burden on parties and candidates that do not have the same membership numbers and corporate sponsorship that well established parties enjoy. This is not conducive to a multi-party democracy, and directly effects our ability to reverse the poor decisions of previous Parliaments.

It was unthinkable that Parliament would pass such exclusionary measures, but now that Pirate Party Australia has been confronted with this change, there is concern that future Parliaments may continue the trend of discouraging alternative representatives.

In response to this, Pirate Party Australia pledges to do all it can to restore candidate fees to a reasonable level, and to oppose legislation that would introduce unfair restrictions on candidates. The Party also supports a referendum to include protection against onerous or excessive requirements on candidates standing for election to the Federal Parliament in the Australian Constitution, similar to that which appears in the Canadian Constitution. In Figueroa v Canada (Attorney General), it was ruled that several sections of the Canada Elections Act were unconstitutional as they violated section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right to play a meaningful role in the electoral process[3].

Pirate Party Australia recognises the need for similar protections in Australia.


  1. Pirate Party Australia, Constitution, part 1. https://pirateparty.org.au/constitution/
  2. Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Improving Electoral Procedure) Bill 2012 (Cth). http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4863 (accessed 25 April, 2013).
  3. Figueroa v Canada (Attorney General) [2003] 1 SCR 912.


Position Statement 2016-01 – Transgender and Intersex issues


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.

The diversity of and within gender is still little understood and accepted in wider society, which can cause all sorts of problems. Social, bureaucratic and possible medical challenges of transitioning from the gender one is assigned to at birth to the gender one identifies with are exacerbated by prejudice and discrimination in most levels of society, even family and close friends. As a consequence, the issues transgender people face are much like those that gay population were and are still facing: being beaten, thrown out of home, losing work and many other issues. The prevalence of male to female transsexualism is estimated to be in the range of 1:250 to 1:200, in the general population [1]

Being transgender isn't just a case of feeling attracted to what society deems the wrong gender, it is people assuming from your birth that you are something other than you, some people feel for a long time "Something isn't right, but I don't know what" and some people go along the lines of "I wish I was a girl/boy/different gender" then finding out either sooner or later it is possible. Trying to differ from what society has deemed your gender at birth to be, causes momentous challenges for people in such situations.

One of the first question asked when a baby is born is whether it's a boy or girl. One of two answers is usually given, based on physical appearance; male or female. The newborn is assigned a sex, which is consequently formalised in the official identity documents of the newborn. This predominant culture of categorising newborns into one of two sexes, with their associated genders, can cause several issues in a person's life.

Gender Divergence

Some people realise sooner or later that they don't identify with the gender associated with the sex assigned to them at birth, i.e. if their gender 'diverges' from their assigned sex. These transgender (or transsexual, non-binary, agender,...) people suffer from being put into a metaphorical box they don't belong in by society, which can cause psychological issues from an early age. When they decide to transition to another gender to show their true or newly found identity, they often face discrimination and violence even by those closest to them.

While it would by far not solve all issues for intersexed and transgender people, removing the requirement for an assigned sex would benefit many people in society. The shift needs to be more than just a formality though. There needs to be a shift in how gender is understood: differentiated in people's understanding from a person's sex. At the same time, understanding of both sex and gender needs to be expanded from a strict binary, both medically and in wider society. People need to be able to have their legally-recognised gender changed without sexual-reassignment-surgery as a mandatory prerequisite once it is decided that you are suffering gender dysphoria, surgeries are no longer elective (ie, will be covered by Medicare).

Intersex Conditions

Some people are born intersexed. This often means that they have primary sex characteristics from both the male and female sexes or other sex traits which may appear to stem from either end of the sex spectrum. Some intersex conditions are discovered soon after birth, while others might take years to discover. In either case, 'corrective' surgery may be proposed and secrecy of the condition is frequently recommended. It is our view that medical interventions of conditions which do not harm a person's health should be outlawed until the person with the condition is of an age where they can consent to the procedure. People born intersexed should not be made to feel ashamed of their condition.

References to Policy Text covering Transgender and Intersex issues



Position Statement 2020-01 — Effective Government involvement, Excessive Bureaucracy and Rent-Seeking


The Pirate Party notes with concern the excessive growth in bureaucracy and rent-seeking, at the same time as we note the worthwhile possibilities for government involvement in the economy. Because of political polarisation, neither major party engages with these realities. Government funding is "cut back" as the result of party agendas, without any sense of perspective on what effective bureaucracies would in fact look like, resulting in both a chaotic outcome that does not improve the situation and further opens the way up for rent-seeking individuals and corporations.

Supposed "user pays" reforms often really mean openings for rent-seeking individuals and corporations - resulting in a net transfer of wealth to the privileged and connected.

Current trends in health and education point to an administration whose costs exceed their savings. Both our existing policy [1] and the press [2] have outlined wasteful "top end" bureaucrats in universities. Our Health policy [3] also notes rent-seeking issues in that sector.

Prompted by problems with Dr Jayant Patel, the Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry [4] revealed many problems with bureaucracy. Some problems were unique to Queensland, but others would be expected to reveal themselves in similar bureaucracies elsewhere in Australia. The health bureaucracy allocated resources inefficiently, telling clinicians what to do rather than listening to them. One example was to set up a small orthopaedic unit in Hervey Bay Hospital, which was too small to be effective. It would have been better to do fewer things well, but there was a political goal of setting up vote-winning "satellite facilities" which actually made the whole health system deliver worse outcomes for the same dollars. To some degree this was political; but other examples were also a function of bureaucrats not listening to clinicians.

The bureaucracy seemed to be more concerned about embarrassment than patient health. For all that, they were ineffective in responding to concerns about Dr. Patel. Certainly, there were broader budgetary concerns which were covered up by Government propaganda, and perverse incentives around "efficiency dividends" prompting the prioritisation of some services at the expense of others, but onerous bureaucracy had an important part to play too.

This is noted in the whole report, but particularly Chapter 6 parts b, e and f. We also note that many health initiatives are seized upon by private interests, who seek to take advantage of the opportunity and over-service - in fact, rent-seek - as compared to the original initiative, which was only meant to make a difference for those who were in most need of it without an excessive impact on the budget.

Many situations can be viewed from a rent-seeking lens. One view of rent-seeking is that privileged parties set up a difficult situation, and then charge people extra to escape from the situation they have set up. Tolled infrastructure and water rights are both vulnerable to this.

The appearance of rent-seeking can be avoided with transparency in contracts. We assert that if a financial approach cannot be readily explained to the general voter, it should be replaced with one that can be. It is not just a case of transparency - but also of maintaining clarity. This noted in our Transport [5] and our Transparency [6] policies.

The Commonwealth Employment Service, for all the criticism in its time, has been replaced with a plethora of rent-seeking companies that between them provide a less effective service than the CES did. Anecdotally, employees of the CES saw over 20 clients a day and placed more than half in jobs. Now, there are stories of companies being paid more to interview a client than that client gets paid in a week, and encouraging people to become long-term unemployed as the companies get paid additional bonuses for placing such clients. The incentives are wrong. It is for this reason that we support restoring the CES.

A related problem is government departments outsourcing their work base from employees to contractors, and ultimately costing more, even though the original goal of such initiatives was to save money. The point is that problems with bureaucracy and structures are real and significant, and are ignored by both major political parties. This is more surprising for the Liberal Party, but in fact rather than engaging with the details, they engage in a theatre of ideology, letting significant problems grow and fester regardless of their rhetoric. Certainly, there is also a problem with the Labor Party having a naive view of the possibilities for government involvement. There are real and substantial benefits from government involvement in our economy, but we all need to keep our eyes on the ball.

The rent-seeking spotlight can be put on many things. It is the reason we see less shared wealth between all of us, but because it is not obvious, those abusing it can readily take advantage of it, and the rest of us struggle to appreciate what is going on. We have developed a sense of unease about the part of Government, bureaucracy and administration of the last few decades. While it is hard for us to put a finger on that unease, we feel that these trends in the background are an important contribution.



Position Statement 2021-01 – Further Notes on 18C


The Pirate Party position is to, overall, encourage personal freedom and support individuals. Our progressive policies include comprehensive support for Public Education, Public Health (including Mental Health), and also Universal Basic Income.

It taking action on 18C, it is not our intention to side with shock jocks and others who challenge 18C as part of an overall uncaring attitude to the world. Rather, our vision is where minorities and other groups are established and supported in other ways, so that protection through means like 18C becomes more clearly unnecessary.

Some who criticise 18C talk in vague terms about how "minorities and others would be supported in other ways", but never go into details. The Pirate position about 18C forms part of a cohesive policy package which is overall supportive, and does not just pay lip service to these "other things" that are presumed to be happening, but are conveniently left out by "mainstream" right wing critics of 18C.


Position Statement 2021-02 — Right to Repair


As an extension of Pirate Party Australia's endorsement of personal sovereignty and privacy, we support a "Right to Repair".

People have started to take notice of the widespread abuse of Intellectual Property protections in Australia and beyond, particularly in the repair sector which includes initiatives such as repair cafes.

The "Right to Repair" has both a "Rights" and an "Economic" foundation. While intellectual property "rights" have been much abused, nevertheless, assuming they are granted, they should only prohibit people selling products around the licensed product. After purchase, consumers should have the right to modify and repair what they have purchased as a matter of personal rights.

Our policies emphasise that copyright and patents should not apply to private use. Indeed, once you purchase something, you have paid for it, own it and should be able to do what you like with it. There may be some limitations relating to public and personal safety, but it should be the Government, operating independently to corporate pressure, making calls on this sort of detail. Nevertheless, the default position is that you should be able to repair, adapt and modify the things that you have purchased and own.

Economically, we can only imagine a more productive and prosperous economy resulting from a repair culture. Less is thrown away, jobs are created, personal satisfaction is increased and there is less need for transport. It means that fewer things may be purchased, which may not suit the desires of some businesses, but is a better thing for society at large.

We certainly recognise the good that has been achieved through private industry innovation. Nevertheless, businesses will covet their assets to extend economic life beyond the socially beneficial lifetime.

Making things more complex are the treaties the Government is a signatory to, such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement 2011. Pirate Party challenges treaties generally that are arranged behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny. Existing laws such as the Copyright Act 1968 are opposed to the recognition of a right-to-repair.

We recognise that the Government has acted to give consumers rights, for example the right to repair your motor vehicle at independent repairers without violating warranty, and has made some positive initiatives in this arena.

Nevertheless, Pirate Party Australia will continue to hold the Government accountable on this issue, and continue to advocate for the rights of the consumer, something that has long become lost in the intellectual property debate with corporate interests having steamrolled the development of intellectual property law - both locally and internationally.

We made Submission 74 to the Right to Repair Inquiry.


Position Statement 2022-01 – Nuclear Energy


Pirate Party Australia is committed to Australia achieving net zero by 2050 whilst also ensuring we retain a high standard of living. This will require the adoption of reliable and affordable clean energy technologies over the coming decades.

Nuclear energy has demonstrated for nearly 70 years that it can provide reliable and affordable energy without producing the dangerous pollution or greenhouse gases associated with the burning of fossil fuels. Despite a small number of notable accidents, nuclear remains one of the safest forms of energy available to humanity.[1]

As environmental considerations have become a higher priority within the energy sector, new research has shown that nuclear energy, apart from being safe, has a lifecycle environmental footprint equal to or lower than technologies such as wind and solar. This makes its lifecycle environmental footprint among the lowest, if not the lowest, of all energy sources available today.[2]

A number of countries which historically transitioned to nuclear energy also saw a transition of their existing fossil fuel energy workforce, this provided a ‘Just Transition’ for workers and their communities. Countries are again hoping to achieve this by using small modular reactors, which are capable of being located on the site of existing fossil fuel thermal plants, as a means for providing a ‘Just Transition’.[3][4]

For these reasons, Pirate Party Australia supports the removal of prohibitions on nuclear energy (both fission and fusion), nuclear fuel fabrication and reprocessing, and uranium mining in Australia at all levels of government, while retaining prohibitions on weapons-grade processing and abiding by nuclear non-proliferation agreements.


  1. Ritchie, Hannah, What are the safest and cleanest sources of energy?, 10 February 2020, https://ourworldindata.org/safest-sources-of-energy
  2. Carbon Neutrality in the UNECE Region: Integrated Life-cycle Assessment of Electricity Sources, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 5th April 2022, https://unece.org/sed/documents/2021/10/reports/life-cycle-assessment-electricity-generation-options
  3. Watson, Nicholas & Ashton, Lucy, Towards a Just Energy Transition: Nuclear Power Boasts Best Paid Jobs in Clean Energy Sector, International Atomic Energy Agency, 14 April 2022, https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/towards-a-just-energy-transition-nuclear-power-boasts-best-paid-jobs-in-clean-energy-sector
  4. Bennett, River & Gilbert, Alex, Can Nuclear Energy Jobs Power a Just Transition?, 19 January 2022, https://www.goodenergycollective.org/policy/can-nuclear-energy-jobs-power-a-just-transition


Position Statement 2022-02 – GMOs and Precision Fermentation


Pirate Party Australia is committed to Australia achieving net zero by 2050 and reducing our overall environmental impact whilst also ensuring we retain a high standard of living. This will require the adoption of new technologies across numerous sectors, including agriculture and food production.

Conventional agricultural practices, the farming of crops or livestock with the use of synthetic inputs, including synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, nanomaterials and genetically-modified organisms, has demonstrated that in a majority of cases provides higher yields and a lower environmental impact.[1]

Genetically-modified organism (GMO) technology allows for scientists to produce crops that require less synthetic inputs such as pesticides and fungicides which further reduces the environmental impacts of conventional agricultural practices. Crops can also be produced that are more tolerant to extreme weather such as heat and cold or drought and floods, this will become more important as extreme weather increases as a result of climate change.

While the WHO has found that GMOs can be safe,[2] Pirate Party Australia acknowledges the continued need for regulation of safety and environmental impact.

Precision Fermentation[3] and "lab grown" meat[4] are promising food technologies that will allow food production to be taken from the field and into a lab/factory reducing environmental impacts from agriculture and increasing food security by reducing the need for food imports. Food production currently accounts for over a quarter (26%) of global greenhouse gas emissions, half of the world’s habitable (ice- and desert-free) land, 70% of global freshwater withdrawals, and 78% of global ocean and freshwater eutrophication (the pollution of waterways with nutrient-rich pollutants).[5]

The big challenge of a sustainable future food supply can only be achieved by pursuing a number of viable solutions that will only become effective when combined. GMOs, precision fermentation and lab grown meat are among the many possible factors that can contribute to solve the problem. Through greater use of these technologies, we can reduce the environmental impacts of food production which also ensuring we retain a high standard of living and improve food security. For these reasons, Pirate Party Australia supports removing any legislative bans on these technologies, a streamlining of regulations to support their adoption, and government investment into their research and commercialisation in Australia.

This is in the context of our general ban on patents on "naturally occurring living and genetic material" as per our policy A streamlined patent system.


  1. Ritchie, Hannah, Is organic really better for the environment than conventional agriculture?, 19 October 2017 https://ourworldindata.org/is-organic-agriculture-better-for-the-environment
  2. Food, Genetically modified, World Health Organisation, https://www.who.int/health-topics/food-genetically-modified#tab=tab_2
  3. Vanhercke, Thomas & Colgrave, Michelle, What’s brewing? Precision food proteins from fermentation, 25 January 2022, https://ecos.csiro.au/whats-brewing-precision-fermentation/
  4. Goodwill Community Foundation, What is lab-grown meat?, https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/thenow/what-is-labgrown-meat/1/
  5. Ritchie, Hannah, What are the environmental impacts of food and agriculture?, 4 November 2019, https://ourworldindata.org/env-impacts-of-food



  • PS-2020-02 was repealed and replaced by PS-2021-01.