A new party will contest the next federal election to oppose the Government’s internet filtering plan and to decriminalise non-commercial copyright infringement.

The Pirate Party Australia believes individuals who share media such as music, films and TV shows privately, without making a profit, should not be treated as criminals, and that material should not remain under copyright for decades after its creator has died.

With peer-to-peer file sharing becoming increasingly popular, it’s not surprising the party has found a wellspring of support.

When founder Rodney Serkowski announced the creation of the party earlier this year, it took just one week to sign up its first thousand members.

“We think this is a sign of how important Australians consider privacy rights and freedom of speech, and how imbalanced copyright has become, that a majority of Australians are now considered to be criminals by those who represent them,” Pirate Party Australia president David Crafti said.

But while focusing on technology and privacy issues, Crafti said the Pirate Party is more than a one-issue affair.

“As a party whose ethos is deeply rooted in protection of civil liberties, by our very nature, we believe all people should have the same inalienable rights.”

The party is yet to adopt a platform on sexuality or gender identity, but Crafti welcomes the involvement of GLBT people, and would like to see them more active in political parties across the board.

“We would love thousands of Sydney Star Star Observer readers to join the party,” he said.

“A very low proportion of the population is an active member of any political party. I’d like to invite all 10 percent of the population who is homosexual to get involved in the process and go join any party. There are few parties out there like Pirate Party Australia that truly believe in equality, but there could be more if the balance of membership became people who are dedicated to its pursuit.”

In other news, the Australian Sex Party has nominated a human rights activist and exotic dancer as its candidate for Brendan Nelson’s former seat of Bradfield.

Zahra Stardust is a burlesque dancer and trapeze artist with degrees in arts and law. Her human rights advocacy has seen her travel to Eritrea with the UN, and through regional Australia, working with indigenous communities in legal aid. She has also worked on campaigns with Amnesty International and Oxfam Australia.

“In an area that claims 50 years of conservative representation from white, heterosexual, able-bodied, suited, male protagonists, the Australian Sex Party is excited to provide a modern outward-looking female candidate with social justice credentials to [rectify] a historical imbalance in the electorate’s policy focus,” Stardust said.

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