The Flux Network

Connecting issues, parties and voters

Author: Daithí Gleeson — Fri, 9 October 2020

If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.

— African proverb

There are challenges associated with being a minor party or independent candidate in modern Australian politics. Contesting elections and the general administration of a party are very time and energy intensive activities. Add into this mix, the fact that almost all people involved in minor parties are general volunteers or specialists working pro bono. The effort that is put in by all these people is significant, yet still does not come close to the ability of the major parties to deploy resources - and nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to contesting elections.

The major parties have donor networks which grant resources on a scale which minor parties and independents can only dream of. The benefits reaped via these resources compound over time, and we find ourselves today with a major duopoly which receives 80% of all donations in Australia (the other majors bring the amount to 98%). Given the discrepancy in starting resources, minor parties must find other ways of achieving compound effects.

The most significant resource of any minor party (or independent candidate) is their members or supporters. However, this resource is often underutilised for various reasons.

One prevailing idea which has stifled the growth of minor parties, is the notion that a person can only be a member of one political party at any given time. This idea is not actually correct. A person can be a member of multiple parties at the same time, but there are some minor caveats in regard to support and registration. It’s a tangent which we fully explain in the article “How many political parties can you be a member of?”.

But in short, the answer is “as many as you like, provided all the parties are okay with it”.

It is in this light that we introduce the idea of The Flux Network.

# What is the Flux Network?

The Flux Network is a network of people, multiple political parties, organisations, causes and who practice Digital Democracy via the ecosystem of applications developed and released by The Flux Foundation.

The Flux Network is more of a paradigm for some alignment and cooperation, rather than an official association of members and parties, with hard coded obligations and expectations.

The Flux Network is an invitation from Flux to the wider political community - “join our Digital Democracy ecosystem and assess for yourself if there will be a mutual benefit.”

The Flux Network is a statement to Flux’s willingness to cooperate and assist others who wish to bring forward new ideas on how to improve our democracy.

# Why is the Flux Network required?

Minor parties are often characterised by having a narrow scope of interests in relation to the policies they would like to influence. As examples, there are “single-issue parties”, whose main objective is to influence only one specific area of legislation e.g. Keep Sydney Open.

To maximise their performance at elections, the party will focus on the single-issue, but their members and supporters will undoubtedly care about other issues beyond the scope of the party’s single objective. The misconceptions mentioned above will often prevent the supporters and members of minor parties from participating in other issues. The only other way to participate on other issues they care about is by assigning a preference to another party on election day.

This situation is suboptimal for all the minor parties as the current conceptions regarding party membership forces segmentation of voters into different groups, who otherwise may be strongly aligned on a wide variety of issues. Using NSW 2019 State election as an example, how many people in Keep Sydney Open would support Voluntary Euthanasia, and vice versa?

The Flux Network is intended as a place for the supporters of minor parties and independents to come together to leverage the power of their numbers which have been limited due to fragmentation into different parties.

# What’s in this for Flux?

One of our objectives is “To provide the framework and means for minor parties and independents to participate productively without winning a seat.”

By helping other parties participate in a political digital democracy, we attract more people to our concepts of participation in democracy, and maximise their impact via our Digital Democracy apps.

We are developing the philosophy, writing the code and building the platforms for the next epoch of democracy. We need other people to bring their opinions on the whole spectrum of social and political issues.

# What’s in this for minor parties and independents?

Simply put, it’s an opportunity for minor parties to bring their issues to a wider audience outside of the scope of an election. For most minor parties, the only time they get to participate in democratic process is during elections.

The DigiPol app is a tool to review and vote on legislation before parliament, and to review and vote on issues that are not yet before Parliament.

This is the beginning of a new way of engaging on political issues, and we want to ensure that other minor parties don’t feel like they have to miss out.

# What does this mean for me as a member of Flux?

We will be announcing some more tangible changes for our members in WA in the coming weeks (relating to the campaign for the WA State election in March 2021), but for most Flux members, this doesn’t change anything.

It may serve as an opportunity for you to talk to your friends who may care about issues which see them supporting another minor party. You could explain there is a place for them to participate on their issues outside of voting in elections.

# Is this a new direction for Flux?

No. Since the beginning, we’ve been very open about our intentions to cooperate with other parties. This article is a reminder of that intention given we are launching DigiPol and expect to attract wide interest from everyone with an interest in politics.

# How do I get involved in the Flux Network?

If you are from a minor party and want to discuss more specific details, you can email leadership [at] voteflux.org and we’ll send you more information.

If you are a member of another party, you can join Flux (assuming your party allows it - Link to How many political parties can you be a member of?.

If you are not a member of another party, you should join Flux. It’s free, easy and you’ll be among the first to get access to DigiPol and any other Flux project. The only thing we’ll ask of you is to verify your membership with the Electoral Commission if they contact you. We will advise you in advance if they ever plan on calling you.

# What are the next steps for the Flux Network?

We have some significant steps ahead of us in the coming weeks: We are opening up the pilot of DigiPol. We are launching a new political project for the upcoming WA election (details soon to be announced).

Note: Our list of the “Major Parties”: Liberal, Labor, National, Green, One Nation, Palmer parties(Palmer parties included in major list due to significance of donations, representing 14% of all donations in last 6 years).

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