State Branch Formation

@Emily, the guts of it for Qld are >500 prospective members (or one MP) and a complying constitution.

Thankfully, contrary to my previous belief, we don’t have to use the model preselection ballot rules (which have no provision for online).

@alexjago that’s a lot better than I anticipated. Do you know how many Qld members we have now?

About 250 Queensland members, according to @Feenicksreport at Congress.

Only 250 or so to go then. :S Thank you kindly!

As a Queenslander with no proportional-representation upper house, I’ve been ambivalent-to-against the idea of needing a formal Qld branch, on the grounds that it’d be a waste of effort. (Other states should 100% go for it.) I’ve changed my mind. Fellow Queenslanders, read on!

So, I now think it’s worthwhile, even up here. Obviously we’ll need a state-level platform, but we need that anyway.
Some of the most important things in any elections are services and infrastructure. Now, these are actually core State issues, much as @WestAustMicko identifies, so with positions on those, we’re relevant to the state elections too.

And the best way to get the platform out there is to run in elections.

In the other states, one could run for the upper houses with their low thresholds and statewide constituency, no dramas. But I’ve realised up here we have something worthwhile too: the Brisbane City Council Lord Mayoral election. BCC has over a million people in it, and its elections are due in early 2020.

Meanwhile, state elections are due in 2021. This sets up a virtuous cycle: the expected-2019 Senate election pushes us over the 500-member hurdle. Register by end of 2019. BCC LM election 2020. Run in just a couple of high-profile State seats in 2021. Have dramatically better name recognition for the expected-2022 Senate election.

I hope I’ve demonstrated that even in Queensland it’s worth running at a state level.

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In the leadup to Congress I sketched out a plan to activate State Branches. Due to the focus on Strategy I left it off the agenda because we have more important things to discuss. With Congress over and a demonstrated lack of organisation at the State level in NSW, this is probably a good time to lay it out.

I put it in the old thread to give the current proposal some context and history.

State Organisation

In order to bridge the gap from where we are to where we want to be, we will need to make state branches functional. It is easier to get elected to local councils or State legislatures than it is to get elected to Federal Parliament. If we manage to get into government somewhere, it will be easier to get into government anywhere, in part because being elected lends legitimacy and in part it makes getting media much easier.

I propose we try to recruit a few volunteers in each active state to be a steering committee, each with their own role. If we don’t have enough interested people, filling any of the roles would be better than having none filled. I think the roles should be:

State politics coordinator- Responsible for keeping abreast of state politics, using social media to share related content and organising Pirate participation in politics. Talking about state level politics will hopefully generate interest in state level politics which will help draw in more activists.

Bureaucrat- Responsible for collecting details etc. in order to get to the position where we could register a state party. Getting registered is a serious pain in the arse, we need someone to take on this onerous responsibility. I pledge to buy anyone who successfully deals with their state electoral commission to get a branch of the Pirate Party registered a beer, everyone else should make the same pledge for it is an onerous task.

Organiser- Responsible for organising meetings and events and communicating with the NC and the rest of the party. Also responsible for sharing Pirate events on social media.

This can be expanded as required by the steering committee as volunteers get involved. Each state should eventually have their own tasks for pirates page on the wiki, so actions on the state level can start happening.


I honestly don’t think we have the manpower to crystallise state steering committees like that, even for 3 base level positions. I’m slowly coralling ideas for a push from minor pate -> state registered party here in Queensland and once I do I will have an active roadmap but in the meantime it’s all we can do to share ideas and play by idea.

Starting a meetup group, putting up posters and doing flyer handouts is a great start. I’m also thinking of ways we could do organise a “sit in” as an informal protest for some of the more egregious civil rights abuses at a Federal level.

One thing that needs to be done before state branches can be formed is amending the Privacy Policy’s section on application forms to include state-level Electoral Commissions.

I also agree with miles in getting a better way to organise - are the Paragon meetups promoted anywhere outside of the calendar? (I recall one twitter post, but not with enough notice to really count)

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The way I envisage it, each role could exist without the others being filled for some time and still benefit the Party. Most States are too large geographically for all members to be able to attend meetings. The Organiser would need to live in or very near the capital city, but the State Politics Coordinator wouldn’t need to be able to attend meetings. Think of it as a framework as proposed in Swarmwise. We have the positions available and volunteers can step into the roles as they wish and just start making stuff happen.

For example, if I was NSW State Politics Coordinator, I would keep a close eye on NSW politics generally and could help run a NSW twitter account. This would generate a bit of discussion about the Pirate role in state politics and might convince others to want to contribute. To do this I wouldn’t need to live in Sydney or attend physical meetings. It could be a solo role for a long time.

Equally Organiser could function without a politics coordinator and just organise monthly meetings at a minimum. If someone was keen, they could try and get other actions and events going and organise Pirate contingents at broad protests that we support organisatonally. They would need to live in or very near the Capital so they can regularly attend meetings.

The Bureaucrat has to do the dance with the electoral commission, collect the forms, check member data is correct etc. With some help from the National Council, they could get us well on the way to registration without the other roles being filled.

@Simon is working on a new Privacy Policy, is this covered? It should be.

Not really, we don’t have anyone in charge of organising meetings. I have tweeted them in the past and can when I remember, but since it isn’t my chief responsibility I don’t always think of it. We lack dedicated people in the inner city of Sydney, everyone lives on the outskirts or further or only attends sporadically.


That makes much more sense as a swarmwise model, de-emphasising roles as titles and highlighting how people can contribute.

This is great, I see three types of issues:

National issues being handled by State Governments
Don’t forget that many “State” issues are actually issues also in the minds of people in other states or around the country, even though the current political structure of Australia puts that responsibility on State Governments.

For example, with Classification (Censorship), all the states collude together to make laws against us from watching content they don’t like, but it’s still an issue which affects us all.

Issues which are a hot topic in a particular state, but could apply anywhere in Australia
For example, in Victoria, Safe Injecting rooms are coming into the news again. State Government are in control, but it’s an issue the whole country faces even if it’s not currently in the headlines elsewhere.

Issues which are specific to that State
Things like specific transport policies (i.e. “build x freeway”, not “lets encourage more electric cars”) , this would be most suited to a State branch of the Pirate Party.

The point is, we can still make policy on a Federal level for many topics, but we need eyes and ears on the State level to see what’s important to the public, and not be afraid to address the issue from a national perspective (within the main Pirate Party formation) instead of accepting that it’s only a “State” issue just because that’s the existing structure.

Idealistically yes, realistically no, or we get another Sydney meetup where only a new person turns up and finds nobody there. We should encourage swarming, and we’ve had it done many times before, but the party needs to provide some basic assistance to help make sure it’s running smoothly. a State Organiser has access to official twitter/facebook accounts to help promote, they don’t necessarily have to be the organiser of that specific event. Also, informal groups can’t form a state branch.

Is a State Branch considered to be a Third Party?

This is already how we do policy. Drug policy and transport policy are mostly state issues covered by our platform, there is also land tax which is currently administered by states, which we see as being a major revenue source if we were to form government. The process for developing policies for state issues will continue.

That said, there is nothing in the plan that even mentions policy, we would need functioning state branches for there to be official state policies outside our national platform. Our stance on specific issues like the anti-protest laws in NSW is self evident based on our platform and principles. We can weigh in state issues already.

The idea of swarm organising is for the organisers (in this case, the NC) to create the framework and let volunteers fill roles or complete tasks as they come along. This is the exact sort of thing it should be used for.

The proposal is for volunteers to take on roles, not specific tasks. A state organiser would be the person responsible for meetings. The politics coordinator would be responsible for the political messaging from the social media accounts. We create the vacant positions for each state and fill them as we get people putting their hand up.

The roles can function autonomously for quite a while without the other state roles being filled, so someone volunteering doesn’t need the other roles filled to get on with it, with the possible exception being the bureaucrat. I put that in because there are rare people who love fulfilling bureaucratic roles and we need to bring them on board when they appear because they are very useful indeed. In most states, there wouldn’t be a great deal to do without the other steering committee members, in NSW it would be a full-on task in itself.

Not, but State Electoral Commissions are, and they aren’t mentioned in the privacy policy. It would pretty much be the same as how we handle our data with the AEC, but for states and territories.


I think that might be me. I hope that’s not a euphemistic “rare”.


Along similar lines, I’ve been putting some thought over the last 6 months or so into local branches. Conclusions:

  • subordinate to their State branch (obviously)
  • cover one or more Federal electorates
  • everyone automatically becomes a local branch member on joining if one exists in their area
  • you may only join the branch that covers your area, but as a courtesy, you don’t have to change branches if you get redistributed out
  • local branches have primary responsibility for running campaigns in their geographic area, possibly jointly with neighbouring local branches in the case of state/local districts
  • elect a core three convenor/secretary/treasurer
  • minimum population of 20
  • you get to vote in local preselections if your branch covers the area that’s getting preselected for

I get what you’re saying there, and I’m seriously not that person, but I have found such people to be incredibly common in most work places. The thing is that people who love fulfilling bureaucratic roles are what psychologists would call “low in trait openness”. They’re usually conservatives. They like rules. They like the status quo. They tend not to like change or new ideas. Maybe you can imagine why we don’t get so many of them hanging out with Pirates.


I really don’t think that is a fair thing to say and is quite discouraging to anyone who might want to fulfil this important role. Sure it might be a bunch of boring paperwork, but we’re not talking about about TPS Reports (Office Space) here, this is something that needs to be done to bring about greater change. We harness the system to change it, rather than use force.


It wasn’t a criticism of such people.
I expect that the rare bureaucratically minded individual that is also down with the Pirate way of thinking will be one of the most valuable people in the party, precisely because they will be a rare commodity.

In the business/management world, it’s quite well understood that a diversity of personality types make for more functional teams. A team comprised entirely of creatives is a disaster for most purposes because they won’t get anything done, while a team comprised entirely of bureaucrats rapidly fails to adapt to changing conditions. There’s a lot more to that but I hope you get the gist.

In political organizations, there can be a problem forming such balanced groups because of the sort of personalities that are drawn to different politics.

For example, I expect that bureaucrats are common as muck in the Liberal party but they lack creatives.
Anarchist groups have a hard time getting anything done because everyone has authority issues. Etc.


I don’t see how you can assume anything other than “high in conscientiousness”. Highly open people may be drawn to bureaucratic roles by other traits like obsessiveness. They may express creativity by writing top quality documentation or identifying inefficiencies in mundane processes or finding novel ways to organise unstructured data. I’d imagine there would be a lot of analytical types in the party who might be good at that sort of thing.


Sure, it’s both. High conscientiousness is a key trait for the efficient purveyor of bureaucratic services, but the context of a political party filters our choices …

Take a look at:

Conscientiousness, along with (lower) openness, is also one of the trait markers of political conservatism.[8]

Then take a look at:

There are social and political implications to this personality trait. People who are highly open to experience tend to be politically liberal and tolerant of diversity.[33][34] As a consequence, they are generally more open to different cultures and lifestyles. They are lower in ethnocentrism, right-wing authoritarianism,[35] social dominance orientation, and prejudice.[36] Openness has a stronger (negative) relationship with right-wing authoritarianism than the other five-factor model traits (conscientiousness has a modest positive association, and the other traits have negligible associations).[36]

And you’re right about this too, but it expresses itself as policy documents. Lots and lots of policy …

Meanwhile, organising Pirates is like herding cats, and that’s what we’re talking about here in a State Coordinator role.