Formal proposal to rename the Pirate Party by 2018

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).

I’ve been meaning to comment on this too. Not sure if it belongs here or in the alternate names thread, as my comment isn’t really a critique of the proposal, but here goes…

I’m continually baffled by this. I mean, I get that people think it’s a silly name, but if you know the policies are good, and like what we’re about, why not vote for us regardless of the name? It is, after all, a secret ballot. Nobody’s watching…

That’s Antony Green’s problem, not ours. Assuming our goal is to get elected, then we need to be elected by the people. We do not need to to appeal to the existing political establishment’s ideas of what a sensible name is.

Actually, IMO, as I mentioned earlier, any even slightly unconventional name is going to be better than a “normal” political party name, because (if you’ll forgive a sweeping generalisation), everybody is sick of the political class and its games. We are not those people yet, we haven’t been eaten by the machine. We should make that fact obvious.

Yes, and peopl do secretly vote for us. You’ll never know who they are, even though I do, because they fear it would ruin their career or other nonsensical fears. If people in high places won’t advocate for you, you’re already screwed.

It is entirely our problem because we do not have the media vehicle he does. In fact, our tax goes to him so that can he can tell us we suck. That’s the system we exist in, and this is why I’m asking what benefits keeping the name provides, because all I really see is negatives.

I suspect no matter what we choose, it’s going to be unconventional one way or another.

I dislike both Libertarian and Left being in the name, I feel like both words are poison, but I do not really have a better option.

I have a few friends/family that wont join or do anything with the party because its called “Pirate”, if it was called Libertarian Left it would not only be avoided but also laughed out of the room. I probably wouldn’t be as enthusiastic about my involvement with the party, and I admit that’s shallow, but its there none the less.

Pirate is exciting and explicitly stands out, immediately edgy and counter-establishment. We need to capture some of that spirit still if we do change the name.

Unfortunately Australia has a long history of shit parties that have poisoned a lot of terms, like democracy and progress, and The LPA have ruined the term Liberal in Australia.

I think we do need a name change, I think we have out grown Pirate, but I shudder at the thought of Libertarian Left and have no better name I can provide.

I think we are open and inclusive, a name that resonates that would be great “Left” puts a great big exclusion on us.

I did think jokingly about The Conservative Party of Australia in a countenance to our conservative Liberal party… but I think that is petty…

I’m excited about the opportunity to be Purple, and given the greens party is serving as a great name for them, could we not be “The Purple Party” We keep the P then :slight_smile:

I don’t think you will find anyone who is very resistant to change the name, or even agree that we must change it, but squabbling over the actual name is going to be long and tedious.

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Only if there’s no actual process put in place to actually decide a name.

A motion was carried by the National Council to put an online strawpoll to the members about changing the name in general, which should be done sometime in the next week, which should give us a fairly good idea of whether the Party has the appetite for a name change in principle.

Assuming that goes well, a proper process of proposing name changes will be devised. At this stage, I am thinking about doing a preferential ballot of various proposed names to see what the general consensus is based on what people have thrown in so far.

At that point, we know how the Party feels about the various options presented, without fear that it’s an actual binding vote. Saying “this is the best of the names proposed” in that case wouldn’t mean “this is the name we’re going to have to use”. It might result in several people riffing off it and finding the perfect name.

The idea is to iterate over this process until we see something that more than two-thirds of the Party would be proud to have, and I think we can manage it before July.

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I am pretty solidly opposed to such a short time-line. There is an extremely high chance of a Double Dissolution on July 2. I don’t think that having a fight over names, that will necessarily be going on through the election campaign, is a good use of energy.

It will suck oxygen from issues we want to campaign on, it will suck energy from the campaign itself. Our candidates will most likely be quizzed about it when they should be talking about the right to privacy, the TPP and the need for government transparency. People feel passionately about what we are called (myself included) and will divert energy that could be put into getting our ideas and policies out, into arguing for whatever the hell they want the party to be called. Some people may also be reluctant to campaign while we are going through a high paced identity crisis that directly coincides with the election.

I personally would rather leave the debate until after Congress because there is so much on our plates between now and then. That said, if people are eager to have this sorted before Congress, we can push the name voting (assuming people want to change names) to the week before, and the final name can be discussed and voted on in Hobart (or online for those of you not traveling down). It wouldn’t create anywhere near as much noise as if the debate was in full flight during the election.


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

Hi Frew,
I totally agree with you. I think that we need a solid identity before an election and having this issue over our heads would prevent us from starting early on a campaign, because the name could change in the middle.

Even though I personally don’t like the Pirate Party name very much, it has still been good enough to bring us together.

It would be better for the party if we just totally ruled it out until after the election. I would even be inclined to put forward an early vote “should we put the name change issue off until after the election?”.

Unless we just do a change of name vote now of course.

The sooner we can agree to a consistent name before an election, the better. We can’t start campaigning until we know what our name during the election will be.

We won’t be changing the name before the election.

The only part of the debate that will be finalised by the election will be the vote on whether we should have the debate at all, which should happen in the next week or so.

We have Congress a few weeks after the likely election date, so assuming the first vote passes, it will be discussed further that the Congress and a final list may be drawn up then for a vote (it will depend on how the debate goes between now and the end of Congress for the exact timeline to be decided).

Assuming we settle on a new name, there will be a final vote between the proposed name and the Pirate Party sometime after Congress.

If the new name is to have an evidence-base beyond party members’ preferences, then sample the electorate to find which name works for them.

Proposed event-line:

  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. Development of list of acceptable names.

  3. Survey electorate to gather evidence on voters’ views of names.

  4. Announce top “new name” candidates for party vote.

  5. A subsequent vote on which new name will be used.

The process decided on by the National Council is:

  1. Vote to see if people want to actually have this debate.

  2. Creation of a short-list

  3. Vote on short-list to decide alternative name

  4. Vote between the new name and Pirate Party Australia

Where can we get an understanding on the position of Pirate Party Australia in relationship to other Pirate Political organisations globally and any participation of global forums / groups / collectives etc. ?

When @piecritic was the President, he formally advertised “Pirates International” in our letter of resignation from PPI.

The link given,, doesn’t seem to be working at the moment though…

I just found this page upvoted on reddit:

This guy just clicked through each of the parties to make a short summary.

Here’s ours:

The nerds reading this are probably familiar with the Pirate Party – an Australian version of the Swedish and now global (but still pretty fringe) movement. In Iceland they’re actually one of the main political parties. Their main reason for being is copyright and patent reform and free sharing of knowledge. The heavy tech involvement also means they have a much stronger grasp on tech issues than most other parties. They don’t like data retention and really hate censorship. They love to arc up when these topics are talked about.

So I think that this guy is an excellent example of what “most” people (who are savvy enough but not looked into the party in great detail) think of the party:

  1. Connected to Iceland/Sweden (i.e. not really Australian)
  2. Copyright and patent reform, support free sharing (Which is true, among other things)
  3. Only Policies that are in the interests of Copyright Infringers like data retention & censorship (Which is not true, we support Freedom, and would much rather fix copyright than to commit Copyright Infringement)

We will always have a legacy as part of the Pirate Party movement and core values from this, but we are as Australian as any other, and the Platform has clearly outgrown the “Pirate” moniker as it’s primary means of identification. It is mature enough to stand on it’s own.

This has made it clear to me that a name change is necessary to do, when the time comes after election.