Pirate Party Australia focuses on Senate for federal election

Pirate Party Australia has successfully registered for the federal election, and is focusing on the Senate to potentially pick up seats this year.

Close to four years since its founding, Pirate Party Australia has successfully registered as a federal political party ahead of the 2013 federal election.

The party, which claims to stand for freedom of speech, information, and protection of privacy, announced yesterday that it has passed all of the necessary tests set by the Australian Electoral Commission's benchmark to be registered as a party. This includes registering at least 500 members.

The party, based on the Pirate Party that formed in 2006 in Sweden, was founded in 2009. Changes to the AEC in 2011 to member registration forms made it easier for the party to get the required membership through online forms.

Pirate Party Australia volunteers then spent the next few months organising and validating its membership database to ensure that it met the AEC standards, secretary Brendan Molloy said.

"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 party told ZDNet that its focus will be on getting candidates into the Senate, where it would be easier for the party to pick up a seat, rather than in the House of Representatives, but it hasn't ruled out running candidates for the House of Representatives.

Pirate Party Australia founder Rodney Serkowski said that the party would focus on information freedom and privacy issues, such as the government's national telecommunications security overhaul.

"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," he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has not yet revealed when the 2013 election will be held, but it is rumoured to be around August or September.

The party said that it has yet to decide which of the two major parties — Labor or Liberal — it will give preference to.