Whatever happened to …?

This article was originally published at Election Watch 2013

Whatever happened to …?

Credit: Takver, Flickr

Credit: Takver, Flickr

Both The Wikileaks Party (WLP) and the Pirate Party of Australia (PPAU) failed to win any seats, despite heavy campaigning and a solid groundswell of dedicated volunteers spruiking their respective platforms. So what are some of the theories as to what went wrong? What’s next?

There’s been much discussion as to the internal implosion of the Wikileaks Party and the departure of key people such as Leslie Cannold(link is external). Ms Cannold spoke candidly about the lack of transparency, accountability and backdoor power plays as well as the resignation of key members on the Wikileaks National Council due to the preference deals that saw right-wing parties preferenced over key allies such as The Greens.

The widespread internal disunity painted a picture of a party that seemed highly unlikely to be able to deal with the intricacies and politicking of government.  It failed to deliver any seats, with a paltry 1.19% of votes.

Primary candidate Julian Assange has suggested that an international banking blockade on Wikileaks may have limited the ability of the party to raise money through donations. Mr Assange has vowed to run for the Senate again despite the result.

The Pirate Party of Australia (PPAU) also failed to win any seats with only 0.4% of votes, but for different reasons to the WLP.

The PPAU presented a unified front and were completely transparent about their preferences with arelease(link is external) announcing exactly where its preferences would be allocated. Despite having only a small number of volunteers on polling day when compared to WLP, the PPAU presented a strong online campaign and consistent messaging across platforms.

The failure of the PPAU to win seats may possibly be due to the fact that they are still unable to reach across the digital divide and appeal to the mainstream voter – the majority of which would have come across them only at the ballot box. The PPAU has indicated it intends to continue to campaign on its key policies and platforms.

So where to from here? Both parties could focus more on strategies that preach less to the converted and more to voters in the mainstream voting public. The challenge facing the Wikileaks Party will be to restore the sense of transparency and justice that it campaigned on. The major challenge facing the Pirate Party of Australia, as mentioned in an earlier article(link is external), is to convince the Australian voting public that they are a viable alternative to the major parties.

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