Meeting Minutes - March 2016

Minutes of the Science Party Monthly Meeting

6.30pm, 24 March 2016

225 George St, Sydney


Attendees: James Jansson, Peter Xing, Luis Micheleto, Eric Belfort Mattos, Gabriela Vianna Guimarães, Carrie, Peter Carr, Jonathan Woods, Andrea Finno, Andrea Leong, Robert Lutz, Danny, Jordan Rastrick (Ian Woolf, Neal Bromfield, Brendan Clarke, Eve Slavich, James, Joffre Balce, Tom D'Netto )

James Jansson opened the meeting:

  • Right now we’re planning for the federal election which will be sooner than expected.
  • We fought against Senate voting changes (abolishing the Group Voting Ticket). This included a social media campaign including a video.
  • Coming up: AR/VR talk at Data 61 on Tuesday 29th, James to speak about privacy.
  • Our name change to Science Party has been confirmed by the AEC.

Ian Woolf arrived.

Federal election situation

  • Coalition and the Greens eliminated the GVT (bill has passed the Senate and will pass lower house with a Coalition majority).
  • Senator Bob Day is challenging the legislation in the High Court but unlikely to succeed.
  • Current double dissolution triggers: ABCC and Registered Organisations bills. The ABCC bill is overly aggressive, e.g. gaol for going on strike; amendments proposed but knocked back.
  • A double dissolution election reduces the Senate seat quota from 1/7 to 1/13 of the state vote, which is good for small parties, but having no GVT makes it harder. The AEC has only 3 months to educate the public on the change from the system of the last 30 years.
  • Votes can now exhaust (even easier due to the savings provision for ATL votes). Small party voters are hopefully well informed but we need to educate as well.

Neal Bromfield, Brendan Clarke and Eve Slavich arrived.

  • Lessons from NSW Legislative Council voting: 83% of voters, and even 75% of the most informed small party voters, vote 1 ATL only. This is formal and encouraged in NSW state elections, but there is no indication that it will be illegal to direct voters to do this in the upcoming federal election.
  • GetUp! Has released a video to educate people about the voting changes.


  • Science Party plans to run Senate tickets in NSW and Victoria. Lower House candidates will attract voters to the Science Party in the Senate.
  • Nomination forms have been sent to members who have expressed interest (4 returned so far). A wider call will be put to the membership. In 2013, our only two lower house candidates were unknown to the committee until a general call-out.
  • Candidate responsibilities include appearing for for local media and candidate forums. Some fundraising and some co-ordinating your volunteers is expected.
  • Clarification on dealing with donations: the party will accept donations on candidates’ behalf.
  • Perhaps we could make it a priority to influence other candidates to push policy in a more evidence-based direction.

James and Joffre Balce arrived.

Alliance for Progress

  • The alliance between progressive small parties was set up last year to better position ourselves in the case of Senate voting changes, which we saw coming.
  • Opportunities to form group Senate tickets/coalitions and run strategically in lower house seats. Still planning as though we’re going it alone.


Nominations may be closed as soon as 20th May, with 6 weeks’ campaigning before a July 2nd election. This could work to our advantage, people work to deadlines!

NOTE: Logos to go on the ballot paper (B&W only).
NOTE: Merchandise and business cards arrived.

Growth / How will we win

  • Funds = getting the message out so = increasing our membership base. People like our policies when they find out about us. Currently using YouTube and Facebook ads. Will make candidate videos.
  • #Tri-winning social media
  • Also need cashmoney just to run candidates. Note the arbitrary 4% vote threshold for electoral funding.
  • Everyone, convert your family and friends into members.

Brendan: What are the rules around door-knocking? Nothing except common decency, we think?
Ian: Do we have multiple twitter handles? No. We could do it, but need people to run them.

What’s working

  • Heaps of new Facebook page likes immediately after the name change. Confounders: heaps of cool posts, and people invited their friends to like the page.
  • If you haven’t already, join the party! Join a team, come along to Monday and Wednesday evening online meetings.
  • We’re moving from Mumble to Discord as an online meeting platform as of now.
  • Donate if you can, and volunteer! We triple our vote when we have someone handing out flyers as polling places (see: North Sydney by-election).
  • A dedicated volunteer coordinator role is becoming relevant.


  • Would be great to add to our Repeal Watch blog
  • Treaty policy launched. This policy is actually very relevant to scientists: geologists, biologists and astronomers interact with remote communities more than most people do.
  • Startup policy (in progress):
    • Labor is discussing a policy much like the Liberals’, which is supportive but doesn’t deal well with the start-up of startups, e.g. “landing pads” are not useful in the early stage, and attract startups away from Australia.
    • Australians are reluctant to invest long-term (c.f. USA); Turnbull government proposes CGT exclusion for first 10 years, which is great for investors, but not for revenue.
    • Conflicting tax policies exist due to inconsistent principles. There is no mathematically “correct” answer. All politics is about principles, but at least we can be consistent.
    • Political messaging doesn’t often link back to principles to explain the basis of policies.
    • Ed Husic is involved with Labor’s startup policy, should meet with Husic.
    • Labor keeps using our policies (coding in schools, discussing Space Policy) which is great.
  • Organ donation policy (in progress):
    • Register is currently handled by Medicare. Get it back onto the vehicle licence form?
    • Opt-out and no family override of the deceased’s wishes suggested: pointed out that we should only advocate one or the other, as the family’s wishes may be consistent with the deceased’s if the deceased was unaware of the opt-out system.
    • Opt-out would likely mean more donors, but opt-in with no family override is more in line with the principle of individual freedoms.
    • Need to look at other countries’ rates before and after such changes.


  • We use Nationbuilder to manage the website and memberships, which suits our purposes but we can never get out.
  • Call for anyone with web skillz to help improve the user experience.
  • Anyone can help with content management, specific skills not required.
  • We use Trello for task management.
  • The to-do list includes setting up fundraising pages for each candidate.

Tom arrived

Other tasks

  • Need volunteers to hand out flyers at train stations in the lead-up to the election.

Q: does anyone take those flyers? Some do, and we are looking to convince 10%, not 100%: STEM people + the IFLS crowd.

  • LinkedIn needs updating.
  • Contact scientific organisations and professional societies.
  • Also social media presences like @NorthSydneyVotes Slogans?
  • Need one-liners to sell the detailed analysis.
    • “Cutting science funding =/= Innovation nation, = Innovation imitation”
    • “All the fun things are science”
  • This election will be fought on innovation and science.
    • “Innovation” + “Science” might be intimidating.
    • Need to position ourselves to not put off non-scientists. (A) Inform how science does affect them, and (B) Encourage protest vote.
    • These days everyone thinks they’re techy so we might intimidate fewer people than we think.
    • On the other hand, slogans need to resonate with target audience. Note that we’re after a decent segment, not a tiny niche. Let’s take a guess at our concentric circles.
  • Candidates: get tweeting
  • Q&A twitterbombing at the end of Monday night meetings.
  • Lessons from the USA election: anti-establishment sentiment.
  • Target the science/tech failings of major parties.
  • This government has taken us backwards, which is quite an achievement (climate change)
  • We did have a few dropoffs when we changed the name (not as many as we feared). Sounds limited-focus but it’s not.

Meeting closed at 8.31pm


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