news For the second time in two years, Australia’s division of the Pirate Party has failed key registration requirements determining its elegibility to contest major elections, with the group noting this week that it had fallen short of required numbers for the Australian Capital Territory’s upcoming poll.
The Australian division of the Pirate Party is based on the European parties with the same name which originated in Sweden and have since enjoyed a modest degree of electoral success in several jurisdictions, notably in Sweden and in the European Parliament.
However, in a statement distributed this morning, the Pirate Party Australia noted that it had not succeeded in its attempt to seek party registration status for the ACT’s upcoming election. Pirate Party Australia’s ACT branch formed in early June 2012, and planned to compete in the October Legislative Assembly election with their name on the ballot as a fully registered party,” the group noted.
‘Yesterday morning the ACT electoral commission released a statement rejecting the application on the grounds that it was not satisfied that the Party had 100 members who were electors at the time the party’s application was submitted. 16 of the 110 submitted were not on the electoral roll under an ACT address, meaning the Party fell short by six electors.”
In a statement, ACT Electoral Commissioner Phil Green said: “The Pirate Party ACT submitted its application on Saturday 30 June 2012, just before the party registration deadline of midnight 30 June.”
“However, the application has been refused registration, as my delegate is not satisfied that the party had 100 members who were electors at the time the party’s application was submitted. As the application to register the party was received very close to the deadline, there was no time for the party to resubmit the application with the names of more members before the deadline passed. This is an unfortunate consequence of leaving the submission of its application to the last minute.”
Pirate Party ACT registered officer Glen Takkenberg noted the group was “disappointed” that the party missed out on registration by “a small margin” and would amend its application, with the expectation that it would be registered “as soon as possible”. The party will contest the election with independent candidates listed in the ungrouped section of the election paper.
The party was optimistic about its recent efforts in the ACT, however, and will hold its first territorial congress in the coming weeks to elect office bearers and select candidates to run in the ACT election. “Getting to 110 members – a more than 300% increase in membership – in the month leading up to the June 30 cut-off date is evidence of the ACT’s strong support for the Pirate Party,” said Takkenberg. “This number continues to swell daily.” Additionally, last week Pirate Party Australia held its third national congress in Melbourne. In recognition of the recent efforts in Canberra, it will host its next national congress in Canberra during July 2013.
Its failure this week is not the first time the Pirate Party has been rejected in its attempts to contest Australian elections. In July 2010, the Pirate Party had to abandon its stated aim of contesting the then-imminent Federal Election due to election regulations, as it had not registered as a party before the election was called.
It has been a gradual process for the Pirate Party to get established in Australia since it was established in Australia in late 2009, although the party has publicly made its view known on issues such as the internet filter policy, the ACTA trade agreement and the expanded surveillance powers currently being examined by the Federal Government. The party appears to share most policy ground with the Greens, and in general has policies differing sharply from either of the two dominant political groupings, Labor and the Coalition.
I have only one message for the Australian Pirate Party: Get your shit together. If the party wants to be taken seriously by Australians it shouldn’t be trying to frantically cadge together the required member numbers minutes before cut-off dates for elections. Such an effort smacks of an amateur approach. This is twice now that the Party has missed election cut-off dates. I am sure its members will not be impressed if this happens again. And I don’t think the problem is a lack of interest from members — I think the problem is a lack of organisation.
Just a reminder: The next Federal Election is expected to be held in 2013, but an election could be called at any time due to the knife edge parliamentary margin which the Gillard Labor government enjoys. I expect to see the Pirate Party on the electoral rolls next time around.