Members' FAQ

Why should I join the Science Party?

A:

Joining a political party whose principles you like is a great way to participate in our democracy at a grassroots level. So if you happen to like our principles, we'd love to have you as a member.

In concrete terms, your formal membership helps us to maintain our official registration as a federal political party (which currently requires we have at least 500 members who are enrolled to vote) and work towards official registration at state and territory level. It also is our best way of measuring our current level of support  more so than numbers such as website traffic or Facebook likes, which may indicate interest in us, but not necessarily anything more than that.

From your point of view, party officers are more likely to view your feedback and suggestions as constructive attempts to help us improve what we're doing if it's coming from a party member. Members also gain various formal rights within the party's internal democracy, as detailed below.

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Why do you need my address? What do you plan to do with that information?

A:

The Science Party needs the names and addresses of members to verify their presence on the Electoral Roll with the AEC. You can join the party while not on the Electoral Roll, but we need to track the enrollment status of our members, so we can ensure we are maintaining the minimum requirements for party registration (federally, this requires 500 members on the electoral roll). We may also use this information to determine your eligibility for membership of state, territory or local branches of the party - for details, see the party constitution. Finally, we may perform internal statistical analysis on our members information, including where they live, in order to make strategic decisions about where to field candidates, campaign during elections, and so on.

The Science Party has no plans to use your address for any other purpose. In particular, we will not send you any unsolicited physical mail. We will not provide any of your details to third parties, except to relevant regulators (such as the AEC) to meet legal requirements. Only the Executive and senior officers of the party will have access to your name and address. If we ever decide we wish to make further use of this information, we will ask for your permission first.

If you or someone you know would like to join the party but cannot disclose some of the requested details to us, for instance because of personal security concerns, or because you have no fixed address, please contact the party membership officer.

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Can I join if I am under 18, or not an Australian citizen?

A:

Yes. Our current constitution specifies that membership is open to anyone who is either an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

For official purposes, the Australian Electoral Commission recognises only persons on the Australian Electoral Roll as official members (see the previous question). If would like to join the party, but are not eligible to vote in Australia, or have trouble filling out the membership form for any other reason, please contact the party membership officer.

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Does it cost money to join the Science Party?

A:

The membership fees are:

  • $1/week ($52/year) for people earning under $50,000/year
  • $2/week ($104/year) for people earning over $50,000/year

If you cannot afford the membership fee, send an email to memberships@scienceparty.org.au with a one-sentence explanation of why you cannot afford the fee, e.g. “I’m unemployed” or “I’m a student”.

If you pay more than $104 per year, any additional money up to $1,500 per year will be considered a donation to the Science Party and is tax-deductible.

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How is the Science Party organised?

A:

The structure of the Science Party is relatively simple.

The Leader of the party is elected by an internal ballot of all members, on a ticket alongside six others who become “Regular Members of the Executive” or RMEs. Internal ballots are also held for senate candidates before parliamentary elections – with the exception of the Leader, who if he or she elects to run for the Senate in a State, takes the the number one spot on the party’s ticket. Thus, unlike most large political parties in Australia, the organisational and (possible future) parliamentary wings of The Science Party will answer directly to the same leadership group.

Together, the Leader, Regular Members of the Executive, and any elected parliamentarians make up the Executive of the party. The Executive is the party’s supreme decision making body and has broad powers under the party constitution in matters of both determining policy and internal administration. This strongly centralised decision making system is balanced by a high degree of democratic accountability – it is relatively easy for party members to force a new election for the leadership.

The Executive in turn appoints a number of office bearers to carry out the day-to-day administration of the party. These are the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Director, who have defined roles under the constitution, as well as various secondary offices that can change over time to suit the party’s needs.

For more details, see the party’s constitution (it is relatively short and straightforward, although be aware it may change from time to time.)

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Do I get a say in how the party is run?

A:

Yes. As a member you get to cast votes in any ballots to:

  • Elect the Leader and RMEs
  • Elect the party’s candidates for the Senate
  • Change the constitution

You can also, after meeting some relatively simple requirements, run for these positions, suggest constitutional amendments, and force one of the above types of ballots to occur. Finally, you may be asked (or even offer) to serve in some capacity as an office bearer.

While these are as far as your formal rights of membership extend, party members are also highly encouraged to contribute significantly to the party’s direction and policy development. The Executive has final say on all policy matters, but the process of creating our platform has from the start been a collaborative effort where all involved have put forward as much or as little of their own ideas and thoughts as they desire. Indeed, even non-members of the party are welcome to join our online discussions and make suggestions or offer feedback.

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What elections will the Science Party contest?

A:

James Jansson ran as a candidate in the North Sydney by-election on 5th December 2015, winning approximately 500 votes for the Future Party (as it was known at the time) in its first appearance in the electorate.

We contested the 2013 Federal election, with candidates in the NSW Senate and the lower house seats of Kingsford-Smith (NSW) and Moreton (Qld). We won a few thousand votes overall which was enough to place us a little below the median of parties contesting the NSW Senate.

We also contested the 2015 NSW State Election by endorsing an independent ticket for the upper house (Legislative Council). We were not able to register as a state party in time due to very strict requirements in NSW.

Our ability to contest other State, Territory and Local Government elections will depend on finding sufficient volunteers in other states to build and run local branches of the party. If you’d like to help, please email our volunteers manager.

We ultimately aim to set up local divisions and run candidates in lower house electorates, at both Federal and State levels. However, the nature of the electoral and party systems in Australia as they stand make it very difficult for a minor party to win seats in a lower house contest. Thus for the time being, we are prioritising our resources on contests where proportional representation gives us a much greater chance of having a candidate elected.

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I have a complaint

A:

The leadership of the party is generally quite open to feedback. It is likely that if you raise any concerns you may have with a party official informally, they can be resolved without much hassle.

You have a formal right to appeal any decision made within the party, on any matter, directly to the Executive. The Executive may elect whether or not to hear your appeal and, if they do, whether or not to uphold it . There is no higher authority within the party, although you may potentially be able to seek recourse through the legal system over any particularly serious matter –  especially if you believe party officials have committed a major violation of the party’s constitution or the laws that govern it (such as the NSW Associations Incorporation Act 2009 and the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918). In this case, you should seek independent legal advice.

Alternately, if you are fundamentally unhappy with the way the party is being run, you can attempt to force a vote for new leadership, or an amendment to the party constitution. Please read the constitution for the details of what this involves.

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