WikiLeaks Party : How Not to Campaign for Office

Update : Statement of Resignation from Wikileaks Party National Council by Daniel Mathews. Leslie Cannold has been interviewed about her resignation on JJJ’s Hack here; a statement from others to resign from the Party — including Council members Sam Castro, Kaz Cochrane and Luke Pearson — is available here. Their resignations leave Julian Assange, Cassie Findlay, Niraj Lal, Gail Malone, John Shipton, Kellie Tranter and Omar Todd on board.

So… The WikiLeaks Party.

D’oh!

A few days ago it was revealed that the Party of Transparency, Accountability & Justice had unaccountably placed the neo-fascist Australia First Party ahead of The Greens on its Senate ticket for NSW and in WA placed The Nationals candidate ahead of Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, probably the one Australian Federal MP who has done more to champion WikiLeaks than any other. In the first instance, the Party responded by claiming that an “administrative error” had been made, later posting an extract from an email: “NSW – Greens preference WLP at 3, with Pirates at 2, and WLP puts Greens above FF, Shooters and Christian Right” intended to bolster its case.

FTR, here’s how the Party ordered its preferences in NSW:

1 The Wikileaks Party
2 Future Party
3 Pirate Party
4 Sex Party
5 Stop CSG
6 Australian Democrats
7 Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party
8 Liberal Democrats
9 Animal Justice Party
10 Uniting Australia Party
11 Voluntary Euthanasia Party
12 Drug Law Reform
13 Australian Independents
14 Bullet Train For Australia
15 Australian Voice
16 Building Australia Party
17 [WANG, Tom & O'TOOLE, Daniel]
18 Australia First Party
19 Socialist Equality Party
20 [WHALAN, Andrew & COOPER, Peter Grant]
21 The Australian Republicans
22 Senator Online (Internet Voting Bills/Issues)
23 Carers Alliance
24 Shooters and Fishers
25 Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party
26 Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
27 Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party
28 The Greens
29 Labor
30 Family First Party*
31 Democratic Labour Party (DLP)*
32 Liberal/The Nationals
33 Australian Protectionist Party
34 Socialist Alliance
35 Palmer United Party
36 Stop The Greens
37 Smokers Rights
38 Stable Population Party
39 Secular Party of Australia
40 Katter’s Australian Party
41 No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics
42 Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)*
43 Rise Up Australia Party*
44 [POULSEN, Ron]
45 [ASH, David & NATHAN, Sam & La MELA, John]
46 One Nation

A few points.

Future Party WTF?
• The ticket does allocate a higher position to the Shooters & Fishers than the Greens but places the ‘Christian Right’ (Family First Party, Democratic Labour Party, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group), Rise Up Australia Party) below them.

• The decision to preference The Nationals ahead of The Greens in WA is, on the face of it, simply inexplicable. In order, the Party preferenced the Australian Sports Party[?!?], Animal Justice Party, Australian Democrats, The Nationals and then The Greens. On Twitter, lead WLP candidate Gerry Georgatos has claimed that the Party has ‘effectively’ preferenced The Greens — a very odd argument, for obvious reasons.
• Announced today, Leslie Cannold’s resignation [PDF] as second candidate in Victoria — one which apparently follows that of a significant number of volunteers — not only suggests a degree of organisational incompetence on the part of the Party, but will also presumably significantly weaken the Party’s already shaky appeal.
• The Party’s campaign director, former Tory and law-talking guy Greg Barns, has some explaining to do.

See also : The Wikileaks Party Lurches To The Right: Preferences Fascists, Mens-righters and Gun-lovers above the Greens, David Jackmanson, AusVotes 2013, August 18, 2013.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2014 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Media, State / Politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to WikiLeaks Party : How Not to Campaign for Office

  1. Ben Peterson says:

    That’s without mentioning the inexplicable preference of Socialist Alliance 34th (behind practically everyone, including the Protectionist Party, Australia First, Labor, The Liberals).

    Just a couple of weeks ago John Shipton spoke at the annual Green Left Weekly dinner. GLW has consistently stood for wikileaks, and profiled the party when it was announced, but that seems to have meant F.A to WLP.

    What the fuck?!

    Even the Socialist Equality Party got put higher.

  2. @ndy says:

    Well …

    Greg Barns is campaign director. One would expect him to assume responsibility for ensuring Council decisions — including but not limited to allocation of preferences — are implemented. He’s also a former Tory, w little love, one imagines, for socialist parties. Otoh, there’s Gerry Georgatos, who is no great fan of the Greens either…

    I imagine the fuller story will come out eventually. The fact that Cannold was unwilling to name names suggests that someone else will. Generally speaking, it appears that there are elements within the party who are happy to ignore internal democratic processes, and now the price for that is being paid. Certainly, if I’d employed someone to sabotage the WikiLeaks campaign from within, I’d be congratulating myself on a good investment at this point.

  3. robert says:

    politically moribund of Socialist Alliance to breed illusions in Wikileaks Party in the first place. seriously. “political black hole” comes to mind.

  4. Clive & Bob says:

    The indignation about minor party preferencing deals being displayed by the various ‘anarchists’ is kinda entertaining.

    I guess if ya can’t Smash The State, then whinge about everyone else not being good enough Lefties in their attempt to capture a place within the State.

    It reminds me of the ‘outrage’ displayed by various Lefties when the Qld Greens decided to preference the National Party ahead of the Labor Party in the late 1990′s. What these ‘Lefties’ forgot was that both parties are right wing, pro-capital regardless.

    At the time the Qld Labor party was going to build a highway through the last Koala habitat in S.E. Qld, and was placing tolls on roads everywhere. The Nationals did a deal promising to remove the (many) tolls and protected the Koalas.

    As a result they won using Green preferences. Then the Nationals lost the next election and the system keeps on happily rolling along.

  5. C.I.A. Hands Off James Hird! says:

    My understanding is that the Wikileaks Party has been maneuvering itself to *replace* the Greens as the go to party for the young and the anti-establishment.

    This “administrative error” may be merely that; the Wikileaks Party wouldn’t be the first d.i.y. political party whose procedures and policies were written on the back of an envelope (or the online equivalent) to make embarrassing screw-ups.

    But would anyone be surprised if the Thin White Duke made a last minute “captain’s decision” to override whatever agreements may have existed in the name of political expediency and possible diplomatic immunity?

    Also: agree preferencing Socialist Equality ahead of Socialist Alliance is unforgivable. But what about preferencing those petty bourgeois adventurists in the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party ahead of the principled dialectical adventurists in the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party? Absurd!

    Truly, parliamentary pseudo-democracy is the graveyard of revolutionary proletarian praxis. To the shipyards and the telegraph exchange!

  6. @ndy says:

    Clive & Bob:

    Ah well. Anybody’s free to call themselves an ‘anarchist’: like Transparency and Accountability, it’s a label, not a warranty. But if you’d like to address your remarks to this particular ‘anarchist’ feel free…

    As I see it, the incident is remarkable, and partly because it — along with subsequent attempted explanations by the Party — suggests a degree of incompetence and/or unfamiliarity with some very basic ‘democratic’ processes that’s rather out-of-step with the Party’s proclaimed values and commitments. In this context, the account Daniel Mathews provides is fairly damning; subsequent remarks by Assange tend to support Daniel’s account. In any event, the ‘outrage’, so-called, has to do not only with the fact that the Party agreed to preference a neo-fascist groupuscule like the Australia First Party ahead of The Greens in NSW (technically, in reference to the notes from a Council meeting published by the Party, a stoopid but allowable decision), but the apparent idiocy of preferencing The Nationals ahead of The Greens in WA.

    This decision is not, as you imply in reference to events in Queensland 20 years ago, a matter of a party acting in a pragmatic fashion — ie, a matter of calculating which preference flow will bring about a result considered to be most in keeping with the party’s broader aims — but the opposite. The point here, and what has triggered real outrage, especially among Party supporters, is precisely the seemingly perverse (meaning: contrary to one’s own apparent interests) nature of the act. How on Earth would WikiLeaks benefit from having Wirrpanda rather than Ludlum in the Senate? The fact that nobody’s bothered to advance it demonstrates that your line of argument is irrelevant. Of course, this begs the question: if the case is so clear, how did such a seemingly ‘bad’ decision come to be made? As far as I can tell, the blame lies with Gerry Georgatos. Bernard Keane (Crikey) writes:

    According to the party’s campaign director Greg Barns, the decision to preference the Nationals ahead of the Greens was made by the party’s main Senate candidate in Western Australia, Gerry Georgatos. Georgatos is an investigative journalist and former Greens member who broke with the party and sought to establish a party called “the Real Greens” in 2009.

    Georgatos told Crikey he understood the Australian political landscape and had his “finger on the pulse”: “I’m a conviction politician and we haven’t done any deals for preferences. It’s all merit-based. Scott Ludlam will get all these votes. Wirrpanda won’t get any more than 3-4%.”

    Ludlam, Georgatos claimed, was a “shoo-in” for the sixth spot and might even get the fifth Senate spot; it was, he said, “disingenuous” and “bullshit” to suggest Wirrpanda — a “good human being” — was a serious threat to Ludlam. “He’s our effective first preference. The work he’s done with Julian Assange is to be commended. All power to him,” he said.

    Georgatos’s confidence in Ludlam’s chances is shared by precisely no one else either within the Greens or elsewhere; Antony Green has explained in detail why the Nationals are a serious contender for a fourth conservative Senate spot in the west. If it’s the Nationals, the WikiLeaks Party will have helped drive from the Senate the Australian politician who has done more for Assange than any other.

    In regards to NSW, it appears that campaign director Greg Barns may have been involved in arranging a deal with various micro-parties to secure their preferences — precisely how this best-laid plan will actually pan out is yet to to be seen, but if it does somehow ensure Kellie Tranter has a seat in Canberra it may be thanks to folks like Glenn Druery.

    Of course, the real indignation, expressed not by ‘anarchists’ but by those animated by hope and sincere belief in the WikiLeaks Party, springs from the fact that these decisions are not only ‘bad’ ones, but were arrived at in a non-Transparent, un-Accountable and undemocratic fashion. Further, as Cannold, Mathews and others have stated, when attempts were made to remedy the situation, the real nature of the Party and its decision-making process were revealed. Namely, Assange calls the shots, and does so in conjunction with a few key allies, including his father. For hero-worshippers — and there’s truckloads out there — this may not be a bad thing. Assange is a hero, after all, a Great Man. But for those whose idea of politics includes collective, democratic decision-making — in which individuals, whether called Jack or Julian, Jane or Jill — have an ‘equal’ say, it’s obviously all very disappointing.

  7. @ndy says:

    C.I.A. Hands Off James Hird!:

    My understanding is that the Wikileaks Party has been maneuvering itself to *replace* the Greens as the go to party for the young and the anti-establishment.

    Kinda yeah. But it’s built around The Kvlt of Assange. And he remains its central figure. Plus it seems to have drawn considerable support from an older demo — middle-class professionals w political concerns which extend above/beyond/beneath left/right dichotomy and for whom claims to ‘open government’ etc are especially appealing. So I’m not sure if there’ll be extensive study of the WLP vote, but it would be v interestink to examine from this perspective.

    This “administrative error” may be merely that; the Wikileaks Party wouldn’t be the first d.i.y. political party whose procedures and policies were written on the back of an envelope (or the online equivalent) to make embarrassing screw-ups.

    Maybe yeah — but based on the avail evidence, it seems pretty unlikely. What seems to have occurred is that after some disco the Nat Council arrived at some kinda position but those w the responsibility for carrying out this policy subverted it (w Assange’s blessing).

    But would anyone be surprised if the Thin White Duke made a last minute “captain’s decision” to override whatever agreements may have existed in the name of political expediency and possible diplomatic immunity?

    Yeah… Shot himself in the foot if so. Reinforces distinction b/w informal grouping dominated by Personality and formal collective democracy I reckon.

    Also: agree preferencing Socialist Equality ahead of Socialist Alliance is unforgivable. But what about preferencing those petty bourgeois adventurists in the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party ahead of the principled dialectical adventurists in the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party? Absurd!

    I know. AND YET UNREMARKED UPON IN THE CONTROLLED MEDIA.

    Truly, parliamentary pseudo-democracy is the graveyard of revolutionary proletarian praxis. To the shipyards and the telegraph exchange!

    SEND A TELEGRAM TO THE WHITEHOUSE.

  8. Bob Dutch says:

    My name is Bob Dutch from Glendale.

    I like to hunt, fish, and eat my bush tucker.

    I vote the Shooters and Fishers Party.

Leave a Reply