Questions for potential candidates 2016 Edition

Ask questions for potential candidates in the 2016 Federal election in this thread!

I’ll go first.

Why do you want to be a candidate for the Pirate Party?

Victorian potential candidate here.

Why do you want to be a candidate for the Pirate Party?
The success of the Pirate Party is too important - I don’t want to be a bystander to the stale political climate in Australia, and I believe that my skills and experience are a good match for PPAU candidacy.


Could potential candidates speak about their values, priorities, and particular policy stances. I am uninterested in vague generalities. If you have skills and experience, what concretely are they? Thank you.

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What are your values, priorities and particular policy stances?
Since PPAU is a participatory democracy, my own priorities are second to the priorities of the party as a whole.

However, for the sake of answering your question, I have a fundamental belief that individuals have the right to live without oppression, exploitation, or undue surveillance. My twitter account (@pojiku), though admittedly re-tweet heavy, does reflect my passion for issues related to these rights, in addition to equality (both gender and economic), government transparency and information security issues.

If you have any skills and experience, what concretely are they?
I’ve worked in senior management positions at several large NGOs (both international and domestic), including being the final sign-off and responsible party for the use of supporter data totalling hundreds of thousands of records. Difficult decisions are an everyday requirement of these roles, which I look at from both an evidence-based approach and ethical lens. I am accustomed to being asked to defend my stance on decisions, enjoy public speaking, and feel comfortable navigating the minefield of challenging conversations.


Hi, I have submitted myself for preselection as well for Victoria.

The Pirate Party is a unique political movement that builds on democracy, accountability and transparency but brings political leadership in addressing the unique needs of society in the information age.

Professionally I bring decades of experience in organising, raising funds, selling visions and transforming organisations.

Why I want to Stand for the Pirate Party?

Right now the party needs strong credible candidates to build its profile both for the public understanding of what the Pirate Party is, but also just as importantly for the Party itself to shape its identity and crystalise a lot of the good thought and diaglogue we have into action.

My intention is to run an impactful issue driven campaign, where the voters who are interested in what the Pirate Party is about are. Which means on the internet.

Linkedin profile:

I think that the Pirate Party offers a fantastic progressive option for Australian’s that are disillusioned with traditional parties of the left. Given the recent changes to Senate voting rules, I think that the party has a fantastic chance of getting candidates elected.

Further, contemporary issues are increasingly seeing a greater push for putting independents first and majors further down their voting order - the conservative side of politics have taken full advantage of this in recent years. The progressive side needs more legitimate and coherent options and opportunities to send that message to the majors and the government - by either getting elected or denying them first votes.

My experience and personal politics are in line with the policies of the party and party’s internal processes based on transparency and open discussion are policies that I greatly admire and have strived to enact in other organisations.

I am a strong believer in representative democracy, to the point of self identifying as an anarchist for many years. That includes robust discussion and debate and a willingness to admit I was wrong on topics and change my position. I think that there are a number of integral necessities for “robust discussion and debate”, in no particular order:

  • Inclusivity. It is essential that effort is put into making sure that the discussion is accessible by people from all backgrounds - physically, and procedurally. I believe that this must include proactive efforts. I could spell them out, but it’s easier to link to a document that I helped shape and uphold (although I did not write it) - the Open Knowledge Australia Code of Conduct. I am also a big fan of the Django community’s Diversity statement. I would like to see the Pirate Party expand it’s IRC CoC or to write a general CoC. As one of the OKFNau’s conveners I made a special effort to make the community as diverse as possible, including insisting that the food at OKFNau events is rarely just pizza and beer (usually at least vegan and non alcohol friendly) and the Vic Govt pay for childcare at GovHack 2015.

  • Education. Access to information and education is imperative to people being able to follow discussions and have informed input. Barriers to education need to be lowered wherever possible - from removing structural and cultural barriers, to providing people with both the space and time to be able to learn within their own lives. Personally I’ve taught at both Monash (Translation and Technology, 2010) and Melbourne Universities (ResBaz and various subjects within Research Platforms, 2015). I also helped organise and present the eight weeks of software training that OKFNau offered in the lead up to GovHack 2015. Part of my role as an Aid worker in Kiribati was one of capacity building (which is, frankly, an awful term), and I wrote large amounts of documentation and trained my colleagues as best I could in open source software and tools they could use. This included stints at the Kiribati Institute of Technology and the Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development. I think that all levels of education should be free, and I think that the government should not fund private schools.

  • Open Access to information. This is really at the apex of where the previous two points come together. With the rapid decline of they types of investigative journalism that were king while I was growing up, I think that transparency at all levels of government, public ally funded organisations and political parties is fundamental for democracies. Contemporary technologies make it possible for anyone to analyse and present data. While open data doesn’t magically bring that analysis to the fore, I think that it’s a pre-condition. Other factors include infrastructure like a free fibre-to-the-premises internet connection, no content filtering or net neutrality, and, for preference, representation.

  • the Environment is important to me (as it is to all of us :slight_smile: ) I wont begin to dissect the number of issues we currently have, although renewable energy sources, fresh water and diverse ecosystems are three things that immediately pop to mind. I worked for The Wilderness Society for over five years (as a systems administrator and tech support), and still have many good friends within that movement. I was also a member of the Engagemedia Collective for three years, which builds a platform for video makers (Plumi, based on Plone), and a video sharing site focused on social justice and environmental issues in the Asia-Pacific. This work involved teaching people from Non English Speaking Backgrounds, as well as organising two conferences in Indonesia, and working in Indonesia with some of their civil society activist groups to help develop technical and video making skills.

  • Welfare is a particular focus of mine. Having spent time un- and under-employed, working for below market rates, or working night jobs while volunteering during the day, I have had an (overly, to be honest) intimate relationship with poverty and precarity. I recently attended the Unemployed Workers Union national conference, which I found disappointing and disempowering. At least, I think that the unemployment benefit needs to be raised to the same level as the age pension. For preference I believe that they should all be replaced by a basic minimum income (or whatever label you choose to call it). I think that capitalism will struggle to provide meaningful work for entire populations going forward, and as a result there should be a complete decoupling of money and work performed.

[edit - added after first posting]
It’s worth noting that on the question of refugees, I believe that all refugees should be placed in the community while they are processed, and offered language and health support as needed. So - close the camps, close the off shore camps, bring them all onto the mainland or Tasmania. It’s a complex issue, but I think this summarises my position sufficiently
[end edit]

My skills and experience are varied. I have spent years working in not for profits, non governmental organisations and activist organisations. These opportunities have taught me patience, how to listen, how to compromise, and how communities work and don’t work. I also know how much work they take to organise.

I have been using Debian and Ubuntu based OSes for over 15 years and have moderate skills as a systems administrator and as technical support on all major platforms.

I have an ability to get on with people and easily fit into groups - I’ve travelled extensively for work, including to Kiribati, Indonesia and Malaysia, and I’ve worked within engineering firms, as an external contractor in business firms across Melbourne, as an educator in the higher ed sector, and currently within a Research Hospital with scientists. All of this was helped significantly by over a decade working in hospitality - as a fine dining waiter (white jacket and all), a dishpig, a cook, a bar tender and a barrista. I have managed staff and venues at places like the Great Britain Hotel (back when Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was the face associated with the pub), The Republic Hotel in Hobart.

Those same opportunities taught me to speak my mind without fear, speak clearly, speak to the audience accounting for language, format, and pace.

My first degree at Monash University was in Arts and Science, and I took my sweet time not finishing it - over a decade. During that time I took the opportunity to enrol in Humanities subjects that have given me an understanding of various philosophies and politics. This has made me lucky enough to both have a broad appreciation of the arts and artists, as well as an understanding of the languages of politics and philosophy - both in the day to day and the theoretical. This was essential learning for my time as as an activist - more often that not I was one of the only group members from a science or computer science background, but this also meant that I had a lot to learn from everyone else in the room, and was always happy to absorb.

There’s so much to say, and I’ve already made this answer overly long - apologies.

I will endevour to stick around the forums and the IRC to answer more questions.


Could candidates please summarise which activities and projects they have been involved in with the Pirate Party?

Examples might include: attendance and participation in National Congresses; membership of or participation in Committees/Teams/Working Groups; any official positions held within the Party; writing of press releases and submissions; creation of designs; and things along these lines.

My involvement has been largely silent. I’ve stuck the stickers up in my neighbourhood and laptop. I have financially contributed to the Pirate Party’s various Pozible campaigns.

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When you say you want to run an “impactful, issues driven campaign”, can you clarify what issue you’d prioritise?
Your candidate profile outlines political experience with both major parties including factional organising while at university. Can you reassure me you’re ideologically committed to Pirate Party ideals and not another political animal?

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I probably did a better job of summarising it in my nomination. Transparency. Privacy. Information Freedom. This is everything I am about and why I am not a member of either the ALP or Liberal party. They don’t understand the importance of knowledge, creativity and fundamentally the need for elimination of centralised control.

Old school internet. Somethingawful since 2000. 4chan greentexts. HOIC. LOIC. Dank Pepe crafting level Robot Wizards is my people. Yeah I wear a suit, and am damn successful at it, but its my job, not who I am. A lot of my online activism cannot be traced back to me, because a lot of it is done anonymously and its not about personal brand.

Here is a slightly tongue in cheek response to someone making some inquiries about anonymous which can perhaps help give some insight on where I sit on the internet culture and information freedom side of things.

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Umm, ok. It seems you come from a very different place from me. Thanks for clarifying.

OK, I’ve put my hat into the ring. See the entry in the preselection wiki.

Why do I want to stand for the Pirate Party?

I think there are injustices developing in our current world around intellectual property which are worth engaging with and illustrating to the public. There are of course many issues and problems, but this is where I chose to focus my attention. I would like to do my bit to increase the profile of these concerns, and standing for the Pirate Party is a good way to do this. In addition, I have previously stood for the seat of Bennelong on behalf of the Secular Party and it would be great to continue this into another election.

Could potential candidates speak about their values, priorities, and particular policy stances.

I refer you to the article I’ve written on intellectual property and the TPP, which develops these ideas: . Other policy positions would also be clear from that blog. I seek a finessed resolution between individualism and community. I see that while private interests bang on about individual choice, they have no problems taking advantage of people’s vulnerabilities in selling them stuff. Nevertheless, I certainly endorse personal sovereignty as a starting point, and endorse information and labelling towards informed decision making. So, I do see problems with the market in the way it currently operates, but it is a finessed view.

If you have skills and experience, what concretely are they?

I am competent at public speaking and writing. I am less inclined to write short pieces, but I do try to make what expression I put forward concentrated and punchy. Still, I can certainty get to point for “30 second grabs” and similar. I have had some success at getting into the media for groups like the Sydney Outdoor Lighting Improvement Society and Action for Public Transport.

I have been through several election campaigns with the Secular Party and can draw from my experience there.

I’ve an in-person meeting to attend at 4pm, but should be able to get to any questions you want to put to me in text through Simon Frew - maybe take a little time out to speak on the phone.

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Datakid23 I apologise if I missed it, but what’s your real name?

I guess its time for me to introduce myself as well.

I joined this party after I witnessed labor members voting with the coalition to implement the metadata retention laws. That feeling of hopelessness and frustration drove me to seek out an alternative to the major parties and inevitably led me here. Now that I AM here, I want to do everything I can to see that law in particular thrown out, as well as take some action against the broader issues that have made themselves apparent to me since I began to engage more with politics and current affairs.
The phrase “take some action against the broader issues” is (ironically enough) exactly the kind of vague, political phrasing that contributed so much to my disillusionment with modern politics, so allow to try and absolve myself by going into my particular beliefs in more detail. (TW: wall of text below)

-Freedom of Information, Transparency of Government

These are the core tenants of the party I’ve chosen to join so naturally my stance on them is not going to differ dramatically from the party line. The metadata retention laws are however a specific case that I feel is worth going into in greater detail. I oppose these laws for two main reasons. The first reason is a moral one. Our nation is a signatory to the Universal declaration of Human Rights, article 12 of which explicitly states “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence”. As signatories to this bill, our government should feel compelled to uphold it in its entirety regardless of whether or not they agree with its provisions. My second reason is more practical, These laws create an enormous cost and risk as a result of the need to store the data, but don’t actually meaningfully contribute to their stated purpose (catching terrorists) since they are so very easy to circumnavigate - our own party website has a document detailing cheap and reliable methods to do so! Essentially, the laws are a waste of money and a senseless risk of sensitive personal data.


My mother, along with almost every member of her side of the family (going back several generations!) is a teacher, so can imagine the personal connection I have to our education system and how it has naturally influenced my views on the topic. One specific chain of events stands out to me as an example.
Back when I was in grade 4, I was moved from my local public school into St Margarets (yes I know, but they took boys up to year six). I think as a result of eligibility due to my older sister earning a scholarship there. Many years later I asked mum why she had pulled me out a school she was teaching at to send me somewhere else. Her answer was, basically, that despite everything she and her workmates did to improve it, the education there was simply was not good enough. She told me stories about how all across the public sector teachers were trying as hard as they possibly could to provide a decent education these children, but where moving their kids into the private sector anyway because it seemed like the only way to actually guarantee a decent education. She told me about vague and self contradicting curriculum requirements, hopelessly outdated learning technology, inflated class sizes and a severe lack of funding across the board. Then she told me that instead of helping, the government was actually increasing the amount of funding it gave the private sector, essentially abandoning millions of kids who simply couldn’t afford to go to one of those schools. Self bias or not, this is an outright travesty in desperate need of correction, and I hope one day to be able to do something about it


Mum was also a greenie, so from an early age she attempted to imprint her personal views regarding the protection of the environment upon me. She seems to have failed, however, as despite sharing the same concern for the overall state of the environment and need to preserve it, there are fundamental differences in the how and why of our opinions. I love fishing, for example (and hope to get into hunting some day) therefore the restoration and preservation of our wetlands, waterways and reefs is of great personal concern. By extension I believe one of the best possible ways to reduce or eliminate the pollution that threatens them is the adoption of Nuclear power, which is where I most of my mothers side of the family tend to disagree. Nuclear has its obvious downsides, the most crippling of which is its lengthy and expensive construction period, however the benefits once a modern plant is up and running far outweigh the costs and critically serve as an incentive to continue research and development in the area, a stepping stone toward successful nuclear fusion. That said, solar and wind technology continue to advance at a rapid pace, so investment in that sphere may very well yield similar dividends at a lower cost and without the risk of a potential nuclear disaster. Much more relevant to the current election is the current state of the great Barrier Reef. One of the seven natural wonders of the world is dead and apparently our current crop of mainstream politicians simply don’t care. This is something I hope to change.

Public Works
As a member of the Pirate party, it shouldn’t be surprising that I support a full fibre to the premises NBN model. I feel it is the only way to bring our internet infrastructure into the modern age and also our best chance at breaking the stranglehold Telstra has over the ISP market.
Less relevant to the parties area of expertise is my stance on our rail lines. The metro rail in Victoria is a disgrace and I’m told similar situations exist in all the state capitals, but more concerning to me is the state of our Freight network. I do a bit of driving between Melbourne and Canberra (I have a friend there that I stop by to see whenever I head north to visit relatives) and the Hume is practically drowning in trucks. Something must be wrong with our freight network if business owners feel they are better off sending the majority their goods interstate on individually loaded trucks rather than the (supposedly) cheaper and more environmentally friendly freight trains. Should I get the chance I intend to find out what exactly the problem is and how to fix it.
Perhaps most immediately relevant to this election however is the state of our public good research body, the CSIRO. despite its impressive contributions to a variety of important scientific discoveries (most recently the detection of gravity waves, perhaps the most important discovery in the field modern physics for the last 50 years) the current government has taken it upon themselves to decimate this institution and its capabilities through a series of devastating cuts. Preventing or reversing this course of action should be a serious priority if we want to keep many of our top researchers working in Australia as well as providing an incentive for more researchers to study or move here.

The “Boat People”

Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers has been the topic of massive debate both here and internationally, and as a potential candidate I would be foolish not to address it.

Bluntly, I support the theory behind offshore processing, but strongly condemn its current implementation.
The idea is a good one, gathering and processing asylum seekers in an area like Manus Island means they can avoid the risky journey over open water to Australia and thus prevents needless deaths at sea. However, this idea only works if you actually process the refugees and bring them into the country. The goal of offshore processing should not be to deter refugees from ever trying to make the journey, it should be to ensure the journey is as quick and safe as possible.

There is another aspect to the refugee debate that I feel needs addressing. Many of the people I have spoken to believe some of the refugees coming to Australia are actually “economic migrants”, people moving here looking for an improved standard of living, rather than simply fleeing oppression. More importantly, these people seem convinced for some reason that this is a bad thing which is a point of view I strongly disagree with.

For some time now, Australia has experienced the low birthrate traditionally associated with wealthy first world countries. The average age of our working class is increasing and there are fewer and fewer new workers entering the workforce to replace them. We don’t have nearly as significant a problem with our aging workforce as china does, but the economic pressures of an aging population, coupled with a reduced pool of taxable income to support it is something we cannot ignore. Bringing in and integrating working aged refugees presents a neat and humane solution to both our aging workforce and our current refugee ‘crisis’.

I hope this gives a better Idea of who I am and what I stand for, I’ll try to answer more questions in the IRC chat


Hi Everyone,

I am up for pre-selection in QLD and have hopefully provided enough info to answer any questions you have, otherwise feel free to ask me directly about an issue or if you want any clarification.


Lachlan Simpson is the name on my birth certificate, and Lachlan Musicman is the name I’ve primarily used for the last 15 or 20 years. I’ve also gone as or signed as datakid, datakid23, Irving Washington, Washington Irving, Karen Eliot, Monty Cantsin, and Luther Blisset. Sometimes any of those mixed with Fenderson.

I suggest you get into IRC ASAP because as far as they know you put in your apologies

No, I sent my apologies, I had previous plans that I couldn’t change. My apology hopefully also included the short statement I made about being available from 6-8pm Mon-Wed this week in IRC as well as loitering as possible. Tonight is, unfortunately, not possible.

An apology was put in for you, but no info supplied, as far as I know, but I missed the start of the meeting