Pirate Party in race to recruit for ACT elections

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Pirate Party in race to recruit for ACT elections
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The Australian chapter of the Pirate Party is racing to recruit the 100 members needed to run as an official party at the forthcoming ACT territory election.

The copyright reformist party has been politically active in Australia since at least 2009, following on from the Swedish party of the same name, but has yet to contest a local state or federal election.

Canberra coordinator Stuart Biggs told iTnews the party would use a successful bid for ACT Parliament to trump privacy rights and transparent government as major issues.

"The ACT Government likes to use the exceptions in the Freedom of Information Act, when users seek access to their documents," he said.

Reports of the Australian Federal Police exploring the use of lapel cameras to record exchanges with residents during informal interviews also concerned party members, according to Biggs.

"Government agencies that do not have a data destruction policy may be subject to National Archives Act, which requires conservation of data holdings more or less forever," Biggs said.

Federal Pirate Party secretary, Brendan Molloy, said the group saw an opportunity of election in the ACT due to its unusual proportional voting system.

Known as Hare-Clark and used only in the ACT and Tasmania, the system gives minor parties much better opportunities over strict, ticket-based systems favoured by mainstream parties.

The elected government comprises 17 members drawn from three electorates. In the last election, three of the 17 members were Greens MPs.

The Pirate Party hoped to achieve a similar outcome favouring at least one representative this year.

While the ACT election itself is not until October 20, application dates close on June 30.

To qualify as a party, the ACT group needs at least 100 territory members that can vote in the elections. It currently has approximately 30 members, Biggs said.

To make the required number, Biggs will be pressing each active member to recruit two or three members this week.

The Federal Pirate Party Party comprises some 620 members across Australia, Molloy claimed.

Despite wins overseas, the Australian Pirate Party's application to register federally was rejected by the Australian Electoral Commission before the 2010 election after it found the party had fewer than the 500 members required.

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