I’ve never been a political animal, well, until a couple of years ago. I have a handful of grandchildren and their futures have weighed on my mind. I’ve also recently had difficulty with my local government as well as my general bemusement at other state and federal politics. So, about a year ago, I started reading and researching. I didn’t know what I was looking for so I was simply trying to give myself a better picture of the political landscape. I started with the AEC list of registered parties and went from there. I was also looking for a way to be more involved other than just voting.
My research also gave me a better understanding of what I felt was important. I’m not superstitious so any deference to religion was a deal breaker. Prohibition doesn’t work in my very humble opinion so that was another area I focused on. Welfare, health, defence and education are of interest as well. So I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
I found little in the two major parties that I liked. They’re too much alike and they both claim to be different. I know they are different but, not enough for me. I looked at the Greens, Secular and Sex parties. The last two came close but I felt they were a bit “light” on policy.
I checked out the Pirate Party because I’m a Pastafarian, of course. “Stick it to the man”? I’m in! The Pirate Party was a surprise. The information available was impressive (by my rural standards) and easily accessed. For a minor party there was a lot of detail and that’s what I like. Also refreshing was the opportunity to see discussion happening. And evidenced based policy! What a novel idea. Living in Canberra it’s not an approach I see all that often (public transport springs to mind). And I like that Pirate Party policies have references.
So, where to from here? It appears many of you have been Pirates for quite some time, if not from the beginning. I also get a sense that increased member numbers would be a welcome shot in the arm (I suspect the same can be said for any party). I’m brand new here so I expect I’ll be told when I’m off track. Canberrans don’t seem happy with any of the three parties currently represented in the Assembly and a dose of reality and choice may be well received. Considering I get to vote in two elections this year I’d like to be involved and active.
For me PPAU presents an opportunity. All I need now is some direction and a gentle push.
I didn’t expect to be involved in politics until I heard about the Pirate Party overseas and I joined after reading PPAU’s policies, which in 2011 were sparse compared to now. Policy development has come along rapidly since then. In 2012 we adopted a complete review of the existing platform, and from 2013 we’ve been expanding the platform and policies from a handful of digital rights issues to the fairly comprehensive policies we have today.
We’ve also strived to keep everything transparent and accessible, as you’ve seen. Even so we have been criticised for not doing enough in regard to how much material is available and how ‘easy’ it is to get in touch. This is despite having this forum, active social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), real-time chat (IRC), largely disused mailing lists and a calendar of events.
If there’s anything you think we could do better as a new member, please let us know!
Before 2013 our policies didn’t have references. That change coincided with an informal (and now formal) commitment to evidence-based policies. It is an achievement the party has made of which I am particularly proud.
We do have a fairly strong member base in terms of numbers — at least 1300 the last time I remember asking. What we lack — what we have consistently lacked — are dedicated members. People who can commit the time to the party. Things like writing press releases require short bursts of time but at odd hours. On the other end of the spectrum are policy development and submissions which tend to involve regular but long-term time commitments.
The best place to find out how to contribute is to go to the Party website and click on ‘Volunteer!’; the calendar is also a good place to look to see what we’ve got coming up.
I myself joined back in 2009 or 2010 after hearing about overseas versions of the party arguing against many of the copyright/patent related issues that nobody else was talking about at the time, and as soon as I heard someone was trying to start up a local version of the party I joined up. I didn’t actually become active within the party until 2012, and it was great seeing the party mature - establishing rigorous policy development, getting registered, contesting elections.
If you’re able, we have a monthly meetup in the ACT, next one is next Thursday, though I won’t be able to attend it myself due to another commitment.
I haven’t seen Aaron since that January meetup, but Mark Gibbons said he’ll try and attend whenever he is in town too. There are a few other regulars that come too, but not as frequently as we did back in 2012.
Alternately, if you’re ever over in Gold Creek, drop by my shop Stripey Sundae and say hi, and if we aren’t busy I’m happy to chat pirate politics.
I’ve been looking around and asking dumb noob questions (you may have noticed).
I suspect the party is doing all it can with what it has at the moment. Kudos. I’ll start using facebook and twitter more, but twitter is very new to me. I admin a very small fb group concerned with a local government issue so I have a very small understanding of the challenges. I prefer forums though, that’s just me. But, what could the party do better? I don’t know. What you’ve done so far got me here. And I’m a pretty private opinionated old fucker.
And I’m new to all this politics stuff, unless being on a club committee counts. It seems that there are similar issues though. Membership always high up the list with advertising and relevance. So I’ve read with interest merger, policy and party name discussions, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
I’m enjoying playing with my new toy
Yes, email to the NC or one of the teams and, I will. I’ll just settle in a bit first and get a better picture. I have a bit of technical writing experience so policy, press and social media are shiny.