Now comes the tough part -- winning elections

In many countries it's difficult to even get on the ballot.  For example, in the U.S.'s presidential election last fall, a couple states' local Republican parties placed Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson on the primary ballot against his will in order to exclude his name from the ballot in last's November general election.  And even when a candidate is legitimately seeking to have their name on a primary or ballot, it often requires thousands of signatures, depending on the office.

For that reason it is important to note that Australia's Pirate Party has received approval to become an official national party in the island continent nation.

Brendan Molloy, Secretary of Pirate Party Australia, cheers the news commenting, "Organising and validating a membership database to then submit to the AEC for the purposes of registration is a daunting task. Fortunately, we had a team of volunteers who were prepared to spend many weekends ensuring that the list we sent to the AEC was entirely valid, and I thank them for their effort."

The Pirate Party, despite its name, is not meant to blatantly encourage stealing artists' content.  Rather it looks to reform what it sees as antiquated and punitive laws regarding artist compensation, laws which often are geared to protect corporations while offering little help to independent artists.

The Australian government has been particularly punitive when it comes to piracy, putting forth plans to seize users' private passwords, communications, and other data.  Australia is among the only countries to have seriously considered "terminating" pirates from the internet, by forcing ISPs to disconnect users media companies claim are pirating.  That plan was narrowly defeated in the eleventh hour on funding concerns.

Much like in Europe where strict piracy enforcement led to a Pirate Party backlash, Australia is now seeing fledgling support for the reform party.  In Europe number pirate party officials have been elected, to state positions, or even to the European Union Parliament, Europe's highest joint legislative body.

Sweden Pirate Party
European Pirate Parties have gained much ground. [Image Source: Jon Aslund]

In Australia, the Pirate Party has yet to witness such success, but its leadership is already dreaming big and planning to make a difference.  Rodney Serkowski, the Party’s founder, comments:

More than ever before there is a necessity in Australia for a Party that holds empowerment, participation, free culture and openness as its central tenets. A Party that understands the modern emerging information society and the imperative for political transparency that ensures meaningful engagement.

A Party that respects fundamental rights and freedoms. As the Prime Minister condemns whistleblowers and publishers without trial, the spectre of data retention looms, policy is laundered and Australia’s interests are sidelined by faceless diplomats and bureaucrats through ill-considered trade pacts there has never been more reason to put pirates in parliament.

The U.S. has seen some push for a Pirate Party of its own.  To date the party has been successfully recognized in Florida and Massachusetts, although no Pirate Party officials have achieved election in the U.S. -- not yet [source].

Sources: Pirate Party AU, Australian Electoral Commission

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