Constitutional update suggestion: membership levels

As I suggested at the inaugural meeting of the CRC, it seemed more appropriate based on what we were discussing to take most of it to the forum and break out into active meetings when we need to bash out specifics or whatever.

For now I’m going to focus on membership levels. @dcrafti discussed a desire to allow multi-party membership in the Constitution. My interpretation of his proposals was both to allow members of other parties to join ours, and also to allow full members of PPAU to join other parties in “supporter” roles but not as full roles.

I am open to the former, but opposed to the latter. In order to implement the former, I am suggesting that we modify the current membership model into the following:

  • Full: must be exclusively a member of PPAU and must be enrolled to vote.
  • Permanent Resident: for those members who are Australian residents but are unable to enrol to vote due to being foreign nationals at the current time. Would extend privileges within the Party to all those of a Full member except where not legally allowed federally or in the relevant state branch. Proof of permanent residency would be required for this level.
  • Supporter: may be members of other parties or no parties. Basically the current “associate” member level but with a clearer name.
  • International: a subtype of supporter level, but for non-Australian persons.

While I am opposed to allowing full members of PPAU to join other parties in support roles, I am sympathetic to the arguments in favour of it. I would support a vote on the matter but will not contribute a proposal.

Happy to hear everyone’s opinions on my proposal above.

I’m in favour of this. It seems transparent enough to work. I am however opposed to Full Members of PPAU joining other parties. An exception to the rule could possibly be, parties that PPAU supports (in election preferences and whatnot).

I would be concerned that if a person is a member of two parties contesting the same election and are in a position to influence policy development (by voting) it might create a conflict of interest.
I wouldn’t have a problem with members of other parties who have a genuine interest in PP being non-voting members.
I also wouldn’t have a problem with members of parties not represented in Australia having voting rights in PP.

I’m not sure about the need for both Permanent Resident and International membership types.
From my understanding a Permanent Resident Member would be eligible to be on the National Council, and Dispute Resolution Committee, and to lead a committee. If that is the main difference, is there a practical need to deny these from the International type, could they be combined ?

There is a practical difference between “Permanent Resident” membership and “International” membership. In simplest terms, consider “Permanent Resident” membership a subtype of “Full” membership, and “International” a subtype of “Supporter”.

“Supporter” is for any person with an address in Australia, of any status (resident, citizen, member of another party) that is happy with limited privileges. “International” is a subtype of this that specifically requires a non-Australian address, and results in the same privileges but no state branch membership. State legislation often precludes non-Australian persons, so this ensures we don’t screw that up as well.

“Permanent Resident” is therefore just a special case of “Full” membership with limitations based on legal and logical requirements, which would be further defined in an actually fleshed out proposal. They would have greater privileges than current Associate Members but slight fewer than Full Members.

Does this clarify?

It does clarify, I had not considered different legislative requirements.

It still does seem more complex than it should be, but i see the reasoning behind it.

Another way of looking at it is this way: these levels are expressions within the Constitution, more than they are something someone signing up on the form would actually encounter.

Example flow: one would choose between Full or Supporter. The information provided makes it clear that “Full” is also open to permanent residents, and if they check a box for permanent resident, it subtypes their membership.

If someone were to choose supporter, they would only become “International” if they clicked a checkbox “I do not live in Australia”

If we allow (full) members of other parties to become associate/Supporter-level members here, it seems only fair that we reciprocate. Whether the other party chooses to accept them is another matter.

I’m not at all a fan of restricting cross-membership based on our collective preference allocations.

For policy dev, well, talking is a free action. I don’t have a problem with anyone participating in the initial discussions if they do so in good faith. Maybe best to restrict the more formal / refinement stages of working groups to full members, though.

I largely don’t want to see factionalisation created by members of PPAU being members of other parties and creating cliques. I do not want to see Party A Pirate and Party B Pirate factions appearing because of external influences.

For me, I would rather we have Full and Permanent Resident membership and offer no Supporter level at all, but that is not a popular position so I am offering the compromise above. Pragmatically speaking, a Supporter level offers us a way to let people feel part of the movement and to provide a consistent revenue stream, and the impacts are limited. Allowing our Full members do to the same doesn’t help us, however.

This is how we have always done it, and will continue to. :smile:

I largely don’t want to see factionalisation created by members of PPAU being members of other parties and creating cliques. I do not want to see Party A Pirate and Party B Pirate factions appearing because of external influences.

Fair point, that hadn’t really occurred to me. Need to crank up the pessimism (if any of you are familiar with HPMOR!Quirrell - I need to start modelling him better).

Just curious on the wording here, specifically the use of the term “foreign nationals.” I don’t know what that term technically means, but people who are citizens of a foreign country are allowed to vote in Australian elections if they are also citizens of Australia. Is there some need to have that extra wording in there, or is that just an example case of a person who would not be able to be a full member? If the second, maybe just say “For instance, a person who is a permanent resident of Australia but not on an electoral roll would be a permanent resident.”

People who are not citizens of Australia. Permanent Resident means permanent resident. The explanation is what makes someone, in simple terms, a permanent resident. Actual wording would refer to relevant legislation and documentation requirements.

I will propose a by-law that implements my proposal here to the new National Council to put to a full party vote sometime this year (hopefully soon) as per Article 4.3(1).

The text:

By-law 20XX-XX - Additional membership levels

1. Permanent Resident Membership

  1. Permanent resident members are entitled to all privileges of a full member, except they:
    a. Are unable to exercise those privileges which cannot be granted due to relevant federal, state or territory legislation.
  2. A permanent resident member must provide evidence of their permanent residency status to be eligible for this membership type.

2. Supporter Membership

  1. Supporter members are entitled to the same privileges as full members, except they:
    a. Are ineligible for National Council and Dispute Resolution Committee positions;
    b. May not lead any committee;
    c. Do not have voting rights, but have the ability to motion through the sponsorship of a full or permanent resident member;
    d. Are not eligible to stand as a candidate in any election the Party contests; and
    e. Are unable to exercise those privileges which cannot be granted due to relevant federal, state or territory legislation.
  2. This membership type is exempt from Article 4.1(1)©.
  3. All current associate members will be hereby considered supporter members.

3. International Membership

  1. For all purposes, an international member is considered to be a supporter member, except they:
    a. Must reside at a non-Australian address; and
    b. Are exempt from the requirements of Article 2.1(5).

Full member remains unchanged (as expected). Associate is effectively renamed to Supporter, with one provision to exempt the membership type from exclusivity provisions, and a transitional provision to allow Associate members to be considered Supporter members until a constitutional amendment can be offered at the next Congress.

International type as discussed is considered a logical subtype of Supporter more for administrative purposes, and specifically exempts them from being a member of a local branch as they would have none.

Look forward to your comments.

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Don’t believe we should allow members of other parties any sort of membership of the Pirate Party even without voting rights.

At this level you need to be committed to one party only.

Sure, and as I’ve said before, that is also my position. However, there is an appetite from others to allow such things, and this is the safest compromise I believe possible. So, in line with that constraint, I am looking for feedback on the proposal itself.

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If we have to do something now then its as safe a proposal as possible i believe. However hopefully as the party evolves & the realities of what it takes to actually win seats become more evident this will hopefully be revisited and a view closer to yours will prevail.

Yep. But until the party is self-sustaining, and we can afford the costs of the Executive Assistant the party is to hire, then we need to strike the right balance, and I think this is it.

The by-law passed a membership vote by a very significant margin (around 90%).

By-laws can always be found on the by-laws page on the wiki:

I’m locking this topic now. Thanks everyone.