Members' FAQ: Administration

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

The Future 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 Future 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 your details to us, for instance because of personal security concerns, please contact the party membership officer.

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

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

Does it cost money to join the Future Party?

At the present time, no, it does not. The constitution specifies that the Treasurer shall determine an annual membership fee, but currently, the fee has been set to zero dollars. This will likely increase in the future, but anyone who joins now is guaranteed membership for a full year without having to pay anything.

Having said that The Future Party’s operations are currently being funded entirely by small personal donations from its members. If you would like to help out, please head to our donations page.

How is the Future Party organised?

The structure of the Future Party is relatively simple.

The Leader of the party is elected by an internal ballot of all members, on a ticket alongside three others who become “Regular Members of the Executive” or RMEs. Internal ballots are also held to 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 Future 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.)

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

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 encourage 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.

What elections will the Future Party contest?

We contested the 2013 Federal election, in the NSW Senate and the lower house seats of Kingford-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.

At this stage we are planning to contest the 2015 NSW State Election by endorsing an independent ticket for the upper house (we are not able to register as a state party in time due to very strict requirements in NSW)  again looking to win a seat in the upper house (Legislative Council.)

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 a Federal and State level. 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.

I have a complaint

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 CommonwealthElectoral 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.