Post-Congress Voting

Edit to add a minor clarification: you should receive two emails from the “Belenios” voting system. One gives you a “credential” to access the ballot, the second a username (your membership email) and a distinct “password” to cast your vote.

Post-Congress Voting — 2021

Hi Pirates,

As per section 6.4 of the Party Constitution, several motions passed at Congress this weekend must go to the full membership of the party for ratification by online vote.

If you were a Full Member of the party as at the close of Congress, you will shortly be sent some emails from our voting system to perform this vote. All motions this year have a two-thirds majority to pass with no quorum.

Voting will close at 23:59 AEST on Sunday the 15th of August 2021.

Unfortunately, the voting system only permits the titles of each motion to be listed, not the full text. The full list of motions put to Congress may be found here: Pirate Congress 2021/Motions - Pirate Party Australia Wiki

The motions to be voted on are also reproduced below for convenience.

Kind Regards,

Alex Jago


Pirate Party Australia

FM-1 Joint Tickets and Campaigning

Put by Alex Jago


Authorise the National Council to negotiate joint tickets and/or campaigns for the next election with other parties or independents, provided that said party or independent exceeds two-thirds approval in a membership-wide poll held not more than one year prior. All deals must be balanced and reciprocal, but will not require subsequent ratification by another membership vote.


Let’s spend more money on actually campaigning and less on nomination fees!

This motion is being put because we haven’t done joint tickets or campaigns before. As it may well make sense to do them at the next election, membership endorsement is desirable.

A “joint ticket” means we share a single column and above-the-line box with another party. Both our names are on the ballot paper. Candidates go in whatever order the parties choose. (Two candidates are required to have your own column and above-the-line box, so going halves could save both sides $2000 per state.)

Under this motion the party would run an approval poll in parallel with the preference poll to determine whether or not deals are permissible.

In the absence of any deals, existing practice is to recommend preferences to the top 6 parties from the poll (or a little further down if someone isn’t running in a state).

PM-1 Gene Patents update

Put by Roger Whatling, Alex Jago


Update the gene patents sections of the Patents policy with the following (removing the action dot-point section entirely):

Genes and organisms

“Products of nature” were not intended to be patentable under the original terms of patent law. However, an attempt to extend the scope of patent law temporarily permitted patents on human genes on the grounds that extraction of material from its natural environment is akin to having “invented” it. This is a nonsensical legal artifice which, if applied in other fields, would lead to patents on coal, cotton, and wood.

It is also a particularly harmful form of corporate welfare. Gene patents are effectively a state-granted right to lock away fundamental information about our bodies. Gene patents hinder research by forcing scientists to negotiate among dozens of gene patent holders, who bear no obligation to contribute to research themselves. Gene patents also lead to huge costs being imposed on sick and dying patients for simple tests and treatments.

In 2015, the High Court of Australia overturned the ruling that enabled this atrocity, noting that this could have a “chilling effect” on healthcare and research, and that “such a result would be at odds with the purposes of the patent system”.

The Pirate Party maintains that patents on naturally occurring living and genetic material, regardless of environment, should continue to be outside the bounds of patent law.


Genes have arguably been unpatentable under Australian law since a 2015 High Court decision. The policy should reflect this and state our opposition to it ever happening again.

PM-2 Marriage Policy update

Put by Sean O’Farrell, Alex Jago, Roger Whatling, Andrew Downing


Update the Marriage Policy by replacing it with the following text, and also update Position Statement 2016-01’s reference to the policy to read “two or more persons”.

Marriage pre-dates all organisations by many thousands of years. The interests of the state, as opposed to the interests of any religion or political party, are limited to recognising permanent relationships, ensuring they are consensual and that any children have clear and capable guardianship.

The Marriage Act in its previous form, especially after 2004, denied many people a human right that is taken for granted by most. It reinforced stigmas at a time when anxiety was widespread and suicide attempts among LGBT persons far outstripped the general population. In 2017 a plebiscite effectively secured changes to the Marriage Act which resulted in expanding the definition of relationships from “a man and a woman” to “2 people”, but failed to address the underlying principle.

The only effective way to secure civil rights and liberties is to return marriage to the community, to be interpreted by all in line with their own traditions and values. Establishment of a Civil Unions Act, to replace the Marriage Act, would offer equal treatments, rights, and recognition to all under the law.

Pirate Party Australia advocates the following reforms:

Replace the Marriage Act 1961 with a Civil Unions Act

  • People in a union under the Civil Unions Act will be afforded the same rights and equivalent legal and monetary benefits as available under the current Marriage Act.

  • Civil unions will be available to all (and only) consenting adults.

  • Adults in legally recognised unions from overseas will be recognised under this Act, provided such unions meet Australian standards.

  • The institution of marriage will be removed from the purview of state authority.

  • The right of secular and religious organisations to offer ceremonies in adherence with their own beliefs would not be infringed.

  • No legal basis will be provided for any attempt to force any organisation to provide marriage services where such an act would be at odds with their organisational values.

  • Recognise polyamorous unions.

  • Require the consent of existing partners to add a new partner.

  • Require that any prospective partner be fully informed about existing partners.

  • Require explicit declarations of guardianship of children.

  • Existing recognition of de facto relationships would continue and expand to include polyamorous relationships.


A few years ago, we updated the Marriage policy to both reflect the SSM plebiscite passing and quietly recognise polyamorous relationships - albeit quietly enough that the policy’s been somewhat redundant since. The time has come to push this boundary forward explicitly.

PM-3B Repeal PS-2020-02

Put by Roger Whatling, Andrew Downing


Repeal PS-2020-02.


Until such time as a better alternative is presented, 18C must be repealed in order to maintain freedom of speech. The current policy is aligned with this, and the position statement as it is currently written is not only weak, but contradictory. The Party should not be apologetic for policy that is aligned with core principles. Better law is required to cover discrimination, harassment and abuse generally, inclusive of but not limited to “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”. Offending, insulting or humiliating people isn’t nice, but defining ‘nice’ isn’t a government function. If we left just “intimidate”, as the only non-subjective criteria, equivalent to an actual threat, it would lower existing standards regarding threats to “reasonable likely”.

PM-3C 18C Policy Update

Put by Sean O’Farrell


Change our 18C policy to be the following line:

  • Reform section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) to require intent; to require clear and convincing evidence; and to exclusively address provable harm in the forms of harassment, intimidation, or grave psychological abuse, removing all references to subjective criteria of insult, offense, and humiliation.


The greatest issue with 18C as it stands is that it allows the government to regulate speech for being rude, impolite, or generally not being nice. Out of principle, the government should not be dictating how friendly people ought to be to each other, nor should it attempt to regulate why somebody does or does not like somebody else. By stripping out these elements, people will be allowed to freely express their opinions in public, but still be prohibited from deliberately causing objectively provable harm to others. This approach is much more resistant to negative spin than a simple repeal, and frames our issues with the law more accurately, hopefully allowing for clearer policy communication with future potential members. PS-2020-02 was essentially a call to review our policy on 18C, and will no longer be needed if this passes.

PM-4 New 18C Position Statement

Put by John August


Adopt the following as PS-2021-01 to the exclusion of PS-2020-02:

The Pirate Party position is to, overall, encourage personal freedom and support individuals. Our progressive policies include comprehensive support for Public Education, Public Health (including Mental Health), and also Universal Basic Income.

In taking action on 18C, it is not our intention to side with shock jocks and others who challenge 18C as part of an overall uncaring attitude to the world. Rather, our vision is where minorities and other groups are established and supported in other ways, so that protection through means like 18C becomes more clearly unnecessary.

Some who criticise 18C talk in vague terms about how “minorities and others would be supported in other ways”, but never go into details. The Pirate position about 18C forms part of a cohesive policy package which is overall supportive, and does not just pay lip service to these “other things” that are presumed to be happening, but are conveniently left out by “mainstream” right wing critics of 18C.


While our position on 18C can be readily misunderstood, and even in the absence of this preamble, could still be by those grinding a superficial axe, this preamble helps establish our position more clearly for anyone who cares to look. Further, it might act to positively undermine false claims made about us, and therefore undermine the overall credibility of that critic or article. The exact wording is open to debate, particularly depending on what position we end up taking. But I am hopeful that regardless of whether it is adopted or not, it serves as a good catalyst for discussion.


Both this motion and PM-3B interact with the existing position statement PS-2020-02. A guide to the interactions is listed below.

  • To keep PS-2020-02 in its current form, vote against both PM-3B and PM-4.

  • To remove PS-2020-02 without replacement, vote for PM-3B but against PM-4.

  • To replace PS-2020-02 with the above text, vote for PM-4. (PM-3B results won’t matter.)

PM-5 Freedom of Speech Update

Put by Sean O’Farrell


Update the Freedom of Speech policy to add the following line, under the “Remove counter-productive restrictions on freedom of speech” header:

  • Repeal the Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Act 2019 (Cth)


As proponents of Freedom of Speech, democracy, and governmental accountability, we must recognise the right of the common people to judge the right of any conflict for themselves, having seen evidence and heard arguments from both sides, in order to best make their opinions on the right course of action known to the political establishment.

The Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material amendment poses a potent tool for censorship, which is incompatible with Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, particularly as regards the ability of journalists, individuals, or other organisations to accurately report on violent acts in any kind of verifiable manner. Recordings of abhorrent acts of violence have historically proved a source of public enlightenment, best seen in the light of photography’s impact on public perceptions during the Vietnam War. In more recent times, they have proved a powerful tool for state accountability in the form of video recordings of Police Brutality in the USA. Under the law as it stands, leaked body camera footage definitively proving that a government official brutalised a civilian would be illegal to share online, and sites would be obligated to remove all evidence of the misdeed. Similarly, if a civil war were to break out, even in a completely foreign country, digital media could be obligated to take down any footage created by members of whichever side our government declines to recognise as legitimate.

More legitimate interests touched on in this act, such as outlawing videos of sexual abuse (which is justifiable persuant to the privacy interested of the abused individual) are already illegal under prior laws prohibiting the creation, trade, and possession of such material. Regarding claims that these laws are necessary to protect children from viewing traumatic material, protections for such vulnerable viewers would be better handled by content warnings, and parental oversight for those too young to understand such warnings.

PM-6 Right to Repair

Put by John August


Adopt the following position statement titled “Right to Repair”

As an extension of Pirate Party Australia’s endorsement of personal sovereignty and privacy, we support a “Right to Repair”.

People have started to take notice of the widespread abuse of Intellectual Property protections in Australia and beyond, particularly in the repair sector which includes initiatives such as repair cafes.

The “Right to Repair” has both a “Rights” and an “Economic” foundation. While intellectual property “rights” have been much abused, nevertheless, assuming they are granted, they should only prohibit people selling products around the licensed product. After purchase, consumers should have the right to modify and repair what they have purchased as a matter of personal rights.

Our policies emphasise that copyright and patents should not apply to private use. Indeed, once you purchase something, you have paid for it, own it and should be able to do what you like with it. There may be some limitations relating to public and personal safety, but it should be the Government, operating independently to corporate pressure, making calls on this sort of detail. Nevertheless, the default position is that you should be able to repair, adapt and modify the things that you have purchased and own.

Economically, we can only imagine a more productive and prosperous economy resulting from a repair culture. Less is thrown away, jobs are created, personal satisfaction is increased and there is less need for transport. It means that fewer things may be purchased, which may not suit the desires of some businesses, but is a better thing for society at large.

We certainly recognise the good that has been achieved through private industry innovation. Nevertheless, businesses will covet their assets to extend economic life beyond the socially beneficial lifetime.

Making things more complex are the treaties the Government is a signatory to, such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement 2011. Pirate Party challenges treaties generally that are arranged behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny. Existing laws such as the Copyright Act 1968 are opposed to the recognition of a right-to-repair.

We recognise that the Government has acted to give consumers rights, for example the right to repair your motor vehicle at independent repairers without violating warranty, and has made some positive initiatives in this arena.

Nevertheless, Pirate Party Australia will continue to hold the Government accountable on this issue, and continue to advocate for the rights of the consumer, something that has long become lost in the intellectual property debate with corporate interests having steamrolled the development of intellectual property law - both locally and internationally.

We made Submission 74 to the Right to Repair Inquiry.


The “right to repair” is an issue with a strong resonance with our general position - in terms of personal freedom and intellectual property. It has been developing increased prominence of late. Nevertheless, while we have been making submissions and media releases on the topic, we do not have a formal position within our policy. As an intermediate step, articulating a position statement seems to me worthwhile and so I put this motion supporting this policy statement forward.

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Voting closed at midnight AEST last night and I’m pleased to announce a 22% turnout rate, which is a little bit above what I recall to be the historical average.

As per the party constitution, these motions all had a 2/3 (relative) majority threshold to pass, with no quorum.

Motion Aye Nay Abstain Result
FM-1 Joint Tickets and Campaigning 88 2 7 Carried
PM-1 Gene Patents update 92 0 5 Carried
PM-2 Marriage Policy Update 78 3 16 Carried
PM-3B Remove PS-2020-02 67 11 19 Carried
PM-3C Freedom of Speech (18C) policy update 73 10 14 Carried
PM-4 New 18C Position Statement 72 13 12 Carried
PM-5 Freedom of Speech Update 84 1 12 Carried
PM-6 Right to Repair 93 1 3 Carried

If you wish, you may view the election’s cryptographic details here: Pirate Congress Ballot 2021

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