The last paper established that goal as a technologically based brighter future for all. This paper is going to be a primer for the debate that will happen at Congress and, if need be, after Congress. The aim of the debate is to establish an agreed plan for moving forward by the end of the process.
Below is an incomplete list of our strengths, weaknesses and some notes about the political terrain. I thought it would be good to frame the debate starting with our current position in Australian politics and work from there.
As it stands, we are an Australia wide organisation with approximately 1500 members and we get around 0.6% of the vote. We lack people putting in time, which is what is required to do anything.
What are our strengths?
Attractive, if controversial branding, complete with an air of rebellion.
Great policy, if we can get people to read it. Good analysis of government legislation, when we do it.
Technological literacy that eclipses all other parties.
What are our weaknesses?
Other organisations have a concrete ideology that people adhere to, where we are a loose association of people with common goals but no underlying agreed to ideology. This is problematic when it comes to trying to forge an overall identity, as soon as we get away from our core areas, disagreements can be intractable and damaging to our cause.
We are dominated by people who are relatively introverted, which is unusual for a political party. Lucky for us, we have the Internet. This makes meat-space politics more difficult though, extroverts are best at approaching people in the street.
Being forged on the Internet, we were immediately good at tackling national and trans-national issues. We could all contribute to the national debate and have done. What we lack is the local organisation. By contrast, the Greens were a motley crew of local organisations that over time reached out and formed the national organisation. This is how pre-Internet parties were almost universally formed. It makes them much better at doing the local grass-roots politics which is something we lack.
What is the Terrain?
Australia is a huge country and organising where each capital city is 1000km from the next capital city (excluding Canberra) means that organising face to face events is difficult, which in turn limits the formation of social bonds and comradery that develops in organisations where most work happens face to face.
Assuming there isn’t another Double Dissolution, we need 14.3% of the vote, including preferences to get into the Senate. The quota for running in state elections is often much lower, NSW requires a touch over 4%. Local governments have a higher quota, but more potential of electing minor parties as long as the candidate is well known in their local area.
We have good relations with the Greens, the minor Party we have the most in common with is the Science Party. We have friendly NGOs in the Electronic Frontiers Australia, The Australian Privacy Foundation and Digital Rights Watch.
Like other English speaking countries, we have an inter-generational divide that is comparable to the 60’s baby boomer generation (ironically with the Boomers being today’s reactionary conservatives). This is important to note from a cultural perspective and influences politics is a variety of ways.