Pirate Party Australia feuds with parent


blog Thought it was only Australia’s major political parties which had ferocious internal political struggles? Think again. According to a lengthy blog post by Pirate Party Australia deputy secretary Mozart Palmer, the local division of the Pirate Party is having branglings so bad with the international Pirate umbrella organisation that some think it should secede altogether. Palmer writes (we recommend you click here for the full blog post):

“When I joined Pirate Party Australia, I heard about Pirate Parties International (PPI), the umbrella organisation that many Pirate Parties are members of. I was highly interested in its goal of promoting co-operation between Pirate Parties, and initially fully supportive of the organisation.

Over the past twelve months, my view of PPI has gone from being one of enthusiastic support, to one of weariness, and now it has reached total opposition. In this article I will be explaining why I now hold that view. Many Pirates I am in regular contact with know of my disappointment with PPI, and some of the reasons. I felt it was time to compile those reasons into a statement which can be used to support movements within Pirate Party Australia to withdraw from PPI.”

I can’t say I’m surprised to find this kind of imbroglio occurring at the Pirate Party, not am I surprised to see a party concerned with direct democracy and radical transparency airing its dirty laundry so publicly. As its several botched electoral registration attempts have shown, the Pirate Party of Australia is still a very young political party which is still developing its processes; and so is the international parent movement which it is a small part of. My advice to Palmer and his party colleagues, as it has been in the past, is to calm down and get Pirate Party Australia in order. Then try and build long-term relationships with key players in Europe. This is the only way political parties become strong in the long term — when they present unified faces to the world. Disclosure: This may be tougher in practice than it sounds on paper ;)

Also, just to check … has Pirate Party Australia registered for the upcoming 2013 Federal Election yet? If not, I recommend the party focus on this as an immediate goal. The election could, after all, be called at any time.

Image credit: J Miller, royalty free


  1. Mozart’s position on this matter is not the position of the Party, as there hasn’t been a vote, or even a discussion, on this matter in much detail. I do however support his position on this matter.

    As the article is light on detail as to just what PPI actually is, here’s a tl;dr:

    PPI was meant to be an international organisation for collaboration of Pirate Parties. In my opinion it has failed at this. We have always collaborated with other parties and we will continue to regardless of PPI, as a monolithic bureaucratic organisation isn’t necessarily the most appropriate organ for collaboration in the age of etherpad, Twitter and email.

    It has been very Eurocentric over the past few years, and failed to provide effective mechanisms for engagement with other parties. As with any fledgling political movement, there can be teething problems, but the important thing is that we don’t give up and we continue to strive for excellence, even if it does require knocking down and rebuilding some structures early on.

  2. “has Pirate Party Australia registered for the upcoming 2013 Federal Election yet? If not, I recommend the party focus on this as an immediate goal.”

    They may be feuding with their PPI “parent” – but it takes two to tango. If anything, PP globally is still in the juvenile phase and the fault PPAU should not be greater than 50%.

    That aside, what PPAU does need is some kind of parent figure with guiding, yet firm hand. Whilst they maybe good watchdogs as far as monitoring the dirty tricks and toxic policy that brews in Canberra, with most other matters they at best score a C- on the report card. The immaturity really shows with the speed with which ideas get thrown around, the enthusiasm with which everyone runs in different directions – and the speed with which ideas lapse, get forgotten about and vaporise.

    One would think that with a venture into politics the first and most important objective would be to create a presence on the public stage and to establish a brand that the public can begin to recognise. On both of these points, PPAU score a big red F.

    It is a crying shame – a solid, functional and, above all else, professional Pirate Party is desperately needed to counter the abuses of the two party system that is exploiting the general public which is asleep to any issue that does not involve their wallet. We don’t have one and as is, they are going nowhere fast. They need to cultivate some discipline so that the party and its extremely limited resources can be managed and focussed on what is achievable; and not endlessly diverted by that which is not. They also need some serious marketing expertise to make themselves visible on the public stage.

    The way things are going, I have very little hope of a functioning unit presenting itself as a real alternative in this year’s federal election. Trouble is, there is an overload of youthful zeal (face it, they are mostly kids – 25 is still a kid to anyone over 40) – but this zeal is constantly undermining itself with youthful hubris. No offense to Brendan Molloy and his crew – but they need hardened professional politicos at least in advisory roles, or they are just going to remain cats chasing their tails at a million miles an hour and going nowhere fast.

    • You might be surprised to to find how old some of the key Pirate Party staffers are then. The average age of their membership base is in the high 30s, last time I asked.

      • Yeah, well I wish they’d show it. Stupid IRC games are the domain of stupid teenagers – very off putting. And so is the absence of discipline and focus. Ultimately, maturity has little to do with age. When I see a team that has focus and pulls in the same direction, I’ll change my opinion. You folks do need to grow up if you want to be taken seriously. If you pull a 1000 people up in the street, you’d be lucky to find one that knows what the Pirate Party is. Seriously, if you can’t even sell your brand, you have zero chance of selling a genuine election contender.

        I have no hope.

        • What IRC games? And why do you assume I’m even a representative? Just a bystander watching…

  3. A word of advice to the Pirate Party from a campaign manager at the 2010 federal election:

    Registering for federal elections is easy, you just need 500 signatures to show AEC. Registering for state elections is much more difficult as each state has its own laws and some of them put a much higher burden than 500 signatures, with arbitrary early deadlines. You really have to be organised to get registered in a place like NSW or QLD (VIC is slightly easier cause they accept signatures online).

    If PPA can’t/hasn’t already gotten registered with the AEC, then it really is a shambolic organisation not worth spending any airtime on (as much as it pains me to say that). They need to have done that already, and select their candidates soon in order to be able to at least field a ticket (which needs to consist of at least 2 candidates) for the Senate for every state. That means they need to find two good candidates in every state who are willing to spend some of their money to register. And they need to do this soon, so that they are in a position to start horse trading on preferences from day 1 when the elections are called. Preference trading is a small party’s only hope of achieving anything in federal elections (and you need to be very strategic about that).

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