“Are you a joke party? Not at all! We’re a formally registered party with the Australian Electoral Commission.”

The Pirate Party Australia (PPA) may sound a little frivolous at first, but it has a serious agenda – freedom of information and freedom of the Internet. It also believes in the right of a person to copy, reproduce and share content – DVDs, CDs, MP3s, software. The list goes on. According to their website, “We in the Pirate Party have simply decided that if sharing a love for culture, knowledge and information with our friends and family makes us pirates, then that’s what we are and we’re proud of it.”

Registered with Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) early this year, the party  is now selecting candidates to contest Senate seats in four state s- New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania. The 2013 federal poll is scheduled take place on September 14. If the PPA wins, it will introduce reform bills on copyright, patents, privacy, surveillance and all other relevant issues related to Internet use.

Brendan Molloy, a lead candidate for NSW stated, “Australia needs strong representatives that actually stand for principles…  pushing back on the encroaching surveillance state of data retention and Internet censorship, while offering positive and much-needed reform for copyright, digital liberties and civil liberties.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Pic: AP.

Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks Party (WLP) is also fired up for the campaign. Although registration is yet to be completed, WLP spokespersons Cassie Findlay and Sam Castro said the party  will immediately introduce a national shield law for journalists if the party wins. They said this law will be the ultimate protection for journalists and their sources from any prosecution or intimidation.

The WLP’s ultimate aim is the constitutional enshrinement of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. We insist on these primary rights to be written into the constitutions of emerging nations, yet they still haven’t been adopted in our own constitution. This historic anomaly has to be addressed and fixed eventually.

The spokespersons also said WLP gives unconditional support to journalists currently facing court action and severe penalties for refusing to disclose their sources. Findlay adds, “Politicians in a liberal democracy should be the principal custodians of the right to free speech and the freedom of the press.”

Citing super-rich plaintiffs such as mining billionaire Gina Rinehart using the courts to intimidate journalists for doing their job, Findlay said it is high time for the federal parliament to provide journalists with ironclad legal protection.

Meanwhile, GetUp! drew attention early this week with its list of “unheard” political parties who are aiming to run in this year’s election.

In an email, GetUp! clarifies that while some of the parties’ political agenda resonate with what GetUp! has been fighting for, it is not endorsing any party.

Anti-seam coal gas rally down King Street, Newtown NSW. (Photo: Dan Himbrechts/ The Daily Telegraph)

Listed are:

  • Stop Coal Seam Gas - ”This party will work to protect communities and farmland from invasive coal seam gas mining by pressuring government to ban CSG.”
  • Single Parents’ Party – “Parenting is hard. Especially for the 950,000 single parent families living in Australia. Its becoming even harder as the government continues to cut support for single parents and their children. We will advocate to reverse the cuts that are forcing families like ours below the poverty line.”

Lamington cake for the Lamington Party

  • The Lamington Party - “For Australia… where the regional cities are connected to the capitals … our government is a case study for democracy and efficiency… and one where we all have a strong social safety net and equal opportunity to succeed in life.”
  • Voluntary Euthanasia Party - “Over four in five Australians are in favour of new legislation and we wish to allow that sentiment to be clearly demonstrated at the ballot box. The Voluntary Euthanasia Party aims to ensure dignity in the final years of life, by raising the profile of this issue in order to engender the necessary political will for change.”
  • Australian Sovereignty Party - Stand for “no carbon tax”, “no personal income tax”, and “no GST”; “no more wide open borders”, and “no treaties without referendums,” among other policies.
  • The Future Party - “The Future Party is a new movement of people who are dedicated to thinking of long term solutions to advance our society. The Future Party believes quality of life is improved primarily through technological developments, sourced through a scientific approach to knowledge in the context of democracy and peace.”
  • WikiLeaks Party - “The WikiLeaks Party stands for unswerving commitment to the core principles of civic courage nourished by understanding and truthfulness and the free flow of information.”
  • Palmer United Party - Clive Palmer’s party with policies including “Abolish carbon tax;” “ensure refugees are given opportunities;” “creating mineral wealth;” and “develop right across Australia where the wealth is.”

Clive Palmer with Jim Mclnally and Sisie Douglas announcing the United Australia Party in Brisbane, 26 April. (Photo: Mark Calleja/ goldcoast.com.au)

Rise Up Australia Party has already got its fair share of media attention in February during its launch in Canberra’s National Press Club. It is now rallying more immigrants and voters to become more Australians. Founder Pastor Daniel Nalliah has said immigrants should “adapt” to the Australian way of life: Australia for Australians!

Full party list here.