Formal proposal to rename the Pirate Party by 2018

An article in Crikey today (paywall) had the following interesting paragraph:

At the 2013 federal election, the Sex Party was the strongest performer out of what might be identified as a “left-libertarian” bloc encompassing the Pirate Party, which represents an internet-age brand of social liberalism that has yielded electoral successes for sibling parties in Germany and Sweden; the long-established and self-explanatory Help End Marijuana Prohibition; and the now defunct WikiLeaks Party (it should be noted that these voters did not favour the Liberal Democratic Party, which seems to be struggling to convey the message that it is libertarian rather than conservative).


2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Alternative names for the Party

I think Brendan raises quite valid points. We have as a party moved past the single issue if copyright and patent reform, which our Pirate banner encapsulated well.

I was a candidate in the 2012 ACT legislative assembly election and did a few media interviews and had to explain to many people about who we are, what we stand for and why we had such a silly name. One of the most common responses I got was that while they really liked what we were about, they could never seriously vote for a party with such a stupid name. During the Griffith by-election where Melanie came in a solid 4th, I watched Antony Green try to avoid saying our name, I think he said it once, and it looked painful for him to legitimise what I think he saw as a joke name.

The first major article that we got in the Canberra Times ahead of the 2012 election, we had a photo shoot, and the journalist told us about how they lined the story up because they thought we were a joke party in the vein of the sun ripened tomato party, or the party party party party. They were disappointed that we were serious, and the only other time we got much attention from them was when they put my face on the front page and talked about the drama that Falkvinge stirred up with his child porn trolling blog.

I agree with MarkG’s assessment that using the pirate name gave us a floor of votes, but has also created a ceiling not that far above it.

I was there to see when iiNet’s chief regulatory officer mocked Brendan for the pirate name. I think he basically said that he liked our policies, but can’t seriously talk to someone with such a stupid name as pirate. Goodbye.
Apart from the Icelandic party, the Pirate name has gone nowhere but backwards in recent times, and now carries nothing but baggage.

So, for the above reasons, I am in favour of a name change, but I do not like Libertarian Left.

I don’t like the inclusion of the term Left, as I feel it implies that all of our policies are left wing, whereas many people would consider that some of the policies lie to what they see as the right of the spectrum. Right/Left also appear to be weighted to an individual perspective; far right Libs see Labor as lefties, we see Labor as moderately right wing conservatives.

I prefer the name Social Libertarians, to describe our balance between social responsibility and individual autonomy. Bernie Sanders seems to be proving that socialism can be retaken, especially amongst the younger generation that didn’t live through the cold war reds under the bed fear mongering that linked communism with socialism.

Or we can move away from from trying to describe our ideology in our name, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything in Australia with the number of parties that have incongruous names, and instead try and describe what we think our demographic is.

We had a lot of overlap with the Occupy movement, which still has simmering discontent with the lack of solutions to what triggered the GFC, and growing discontent with the systems that are causing this generation of young adults to have a lower level of prosperity than their parents with rising housing, education and health costs and stagnating wages.

We could call ourselves the 99%ers, or the millennial party, or another name that describes the people that we represent, rather than an ideology.


I also forgot to mention the other advantage of switching names - if I do a search for Pirate Party I get a bunch of hits for 5 year old birthday party ideas. It’d be nice to not get mixed up with frivolity.


I agree that a name change is not only desirable, but necessary and sooner rather than later. . “Pirate” has inevitable connotations of illegality, and the initial impression of the ill informed is that the party is a single topic lobby for supporting downloading online content. (the modern popular use of the word pirate)

While “libertarian left” may describe the position of the party, it is simply unattractive, and confusing to most.

The first thing anyone learns of the party is its name, and that needs to appeal to the majority of the populace such that it will entice them to learn more. It needs an emotional appeal to suggest the party will satisfy the needs or wants of the individual.

I’m sure that many here have high IQs, and LL might be instantly understood, however, There is a huge proportion of the population that will be instantly rejected by the libertarian~liberal or left/Labor presumed affinities.

My instant brainfart on reading of a name change was ‘freedom’, but accept that has its weaknesses, So thinking cap is on…

You put Libertarian anywhere in this Party’s name and I am gone. I associate Libertarian with Rand Paul and co. and I prefer NOT to be associated with them.

Democratic Revival Party. DERP for short.

Democratic Australian Party. Australian Democrats are now deregistered. DAP.

Australian Progressive Party. APP. Shorten to Progressives.

Or Progressive Party Australia which would allow us to keep our PPAU tags for continuity.

While I do agree that it is time for a rebrand of the party name, I believe choosing Libertarian Left would be a mistake.

Most of us here are educated around the political process, naming conventions, left / right split, etc. However I suspect the vast majority of voters are not. Libertarian is too close to Liberal (especially when shortened to Lib), and like it or not, is tainted by American politics. Left, while descriptive, may not make sense to many voters.

We need something that is both descriptive and easy to understand, I just don’t think that LibLeft is it.

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Critically important discussion to get right, not a task i’d envy (that’s a big thank you for all involved taking this on)
Personal opinion from someone sitting very much on the fringe.
‘Libertarian Left’ - strongly support the last few posters, whilst accurately descriptive from the definition, this name doesn’t convey any sense of hope/change/progressiveness,
Both words (prior to engaging the brain to actually think about their definition) provide an instant and familiar association to ‘traditional’ political parties, status quo and even pro establishment.
A name association closer with global people driven protest movements isn’t such a bad idea but tricky as times change, a more generic approach might serve better over time with something along the lines of “People’s Progressive” (PPAU)

hahhahaha that’s awesome :wink:

Progressive wouldve been my choice, alas it’s now been tainted in the Australian space by the shenanigans of the two competing Progressive parties and we’d be unable to register it anyway since it’d get knocked back due to the already registered variation.

BTW, for everyone, if you havent already. Start throwing name ideas into this thread: Alternative names for the Party

Hi all

First of all, some great ideas listed above. I’m new to the party so obviously most of you will take my ideas with a grain of salt, but for what its worth, here’s my two cents worth.

I think changing the party’s name is a good idea. I was attracted to this party because it seems to have an evidence-based policy platform and in many ways common sense approach to issues, rather than pure ideological policies, which i think would have a broad appeal among the Australian community when your proposals a fully explained. Having a name like the pirate party just instantly turns most people off taking us seriously.

While i think libertarian left is a very accurate name in terms of the philosophical stand point of the party, I don’t think it’s going to improve the situation in terms of appealing to a broader base as much as we would like. I like the idea of having “progressive” in the name as I think its a word a lot of people could get behind and one that isn’t currently associated with any other major party name. \

To be honest (and I know from reading the above comments a lot of you won’t agree with this), I think having the word centre or centrist in the name would be a good thing. It makes us sound like moderates who just want to improve the situation using evidence based policies and aren’t beholden to any particular ideology like the liberals, labor or greens.

I also think using the word libertarian may confuse less informed people with the liberal party and could confuse the more informed people with right wing groups in the US.

My suggestion would be something along the lines of “Progressive Center Party of Australia” - or PCA for short. I think that sounds moderate enough that it won’t turn people who identify as slightly right or left off from considering voting for us but also makes it clear we are more progressive than conservative.

My second option, if people feel the word centre isn’t such a good idea, would be “Progressive Libertarian Party of Australia” - or PLPA


  1. Progressive Center Party of Australia - PCA
  2. Progressive Libertarian Party of Australia - PLPA

Interested to see what people think.

We’ve been ‘reclaiming’ the name ‘Pirate’ for about eight years. We still get poor election results, low media coverage, and are often mistaken for a joke party.

If we spend two years reclaiming the name ‘Libertarian’, we might actually manage it.

A post was merged into an existing topic: Alternative names for the Party

I must insist that if you wish to make your own suggestions for a name, either do it in the alternative names thread, or better yet, write a full proposal.

I’m going to start deleting posts that offer nothing but a name as they are unnecessarily cluttering up the thread and there’s no excuse given the plethora of reply options the software gives you.

There’s a lot of content in this thread, so if this particular topic has been covered I might have missed it.

Is it necessary walk away from the Pirate brand entirely if choosing to rename the party?
This fits in with my contribution in the alternative names thread, but I wanted to introduce this as a principle to be considered for the formal proposal.
I am amongst those who do not concur with the “Libertarian Left” name, but for whatever name we end up with selecting could we not also append “Pirate” in brackets? For example “Libertarian Left (Pirate) Party” or “Social Libertarian (Pirate) Party”, etc.

I will for simplicity quote the statement I used in the other thread:
"It can still capture the people who are interested in why we have the name “Pirate”, but does not lead to immediate dismissal as a ‘joke’ party.
[…] It does not abandon our identity as Pirates, and retains the bold and unique brand with which we were established."

Would this not effectively give us the best of both worlds? I think maintaining continuity, showing that we are an evolution of the same Party rather than an entirely new entity, is important. This would seem to be immensely helpful in retaining existing members who identify with the Pirate movement and working with the remainder of the momentum we had built up instead of then having to promote a completely new brand.


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Because I’ve not seen anything but people’s personal opinions here I asked around a bit.

For the purposes of this discussion the only people within the electorate who actually matter are those who will not take the time to actually look at your political platform, and will just make a snap judgement based on your party’s name, sadly, I feel this is probably the VAST majority of the electorate.

As such, the question I posed was ‘What would your immediate reaction to a political party called the “Libertarian Left Party” be?’

I got about three dozen replies, from people of different background, political alignment and a few of different nationalities;

  • One person was able to make a concise statement which was pretty reflective of the policy platform (oddly enough an American).
  • One person went and googled “Libertarian Left Party” and apparently (though I’ve not looked myself) “some of their policies are pretty hardcore communist”.
  • The rest all replied with a variation on the theme “It’s a contradiction in terms”.

After asking the question and getting the reply I articulated my analysis of the name:-

Both terms are poisonous;

  • Left - because anybody remotely conservative will immediately write you off as a “bunch of Socialists or Communists”.
  • Libertarian - because of the dogma out of the US political sphere (like it or not, US politics DOES influence the Australian electorate), and the copious amounts of people claiming to be libertarian who are, in fact, not.

In all cases they agreed with this analysis.

It’s a small sample I’ll grant, but it’s bigger than a sample of one i.e. a personal opinion.

I have no objection to renaming the party, but IMO “Libertarian Left Party” would be a mistake.


A further thought - given various discussion of alternate names, would you consider splitting the rename vote proposal into two stages:

  1. A referendum of name change (without specifying a particular new name) to ensure the whole party is on-side with a rebrand, for the reasons you have outlined.
  2. A subsequent vote on what the new name should actually be.

That should help to isolate support for the underlying issue you’re trying to address, from any reservations about whatever name(s) are proposed.

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Yeah, already been thinking of having the National Council use the online voting system to put out a strawpoll on support for a rename in general so that that debate doesn’t need to happen at Congress and waste time.


I’ve put the motion text to the National Council. :smile:

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I don’t understand the trend in this party towards a libertarian aspect. Given the US experience of Libertarian politics, I find it a toxic move and it will cost us support. I say again, not only if the name includes libertarian but if our policies head down that road, I will leave. I’ve already had someone tell me on Twitter that they cannot support us because we are travelling that road.

Freedom of speech, privacy, control over your body, opposition to censorship and whatnot are all libertarian (in the original sense of the word) policies, which we have.

I’m pretty sure we don’t have any of the “it’s OK to screw your neighbour over” brand of libertarian policies though :wink: and I assume it’s this type of thing you object to (as do I, and I assume most or all of the rest of our membership).