08 February 2016
by Heath Aston
Flux Party offers radical new model for democracy
Founders of the Flux Party, Max Kaye, left, and Nathan Spataro.
When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull encouraged Australia's young innovators to go out and disrupt traditional industries, he may not have been expecting anyone to propose an alternative model to the entire party-political system.
But two Bitcoin consultants want to make a mark on the 2016 election with a promise of "democracy reimagined" through a market-based online "ecosystem" that allows voters and sectional interests to exert direct control over elected representatives.
The Flux Party, which has gathered more than the 500 members it needs to stand senate candidates in all states, has designed a rival system underpinned by "vote tokens" that can be traded between party members and other participants – which could include rival minor parties.
Party founder Max Kaye, a software developer who also works on Bitcoin, said: "When a Flux candidate is elected they become a gateway for voters to directly influence parliament. Unlike other representatives, Flux candidates are not autonomous, and their votes in parliament are determined wholly by Flux participants."
Flux, which expects to be registered as a federal party by April, will begin by trying to revolutionise the much-maligned preference system.
The party will repay other minor parties that give their preferences to Flux by allocating a commensurate level of control over an elected Flux senator.
Minor parties can then trade vote tokens with each other to ensure they have influence in parliament in their area of concern, Mr Kaye said.
He calls the system "get-swap-vote".
Flux, which was previously known as the Neutral Voting Bloc, will have no specific policies when it stands candidates in each state.
The party's website states: "The Australian Parliament is based on exclusion and exclusivity and does not equip us with the right tools to solve modern problems.
"In order to solve problems that have never been solved before we need to try things that have never been tried before. Flux embodies this idea, and facilitates it."
"Flux, as a system, is a way to cooperate with fellow voters and distribute power in order to increase the amount of good legislation passed, and make passing bad legislation very expensive and difficult. The focus of Flux is not to be absolutely proportional, or give all voters an equal say on everything. Rather, Flux aims to solve particular problems by enabling those who are particularly well suited to solve that problem.
Flux is sticking to some traditional methods of getting elected and will take part in Glenn Druery's minor party alliance to maximise preferences.
Mr Druery said he expects a number of minor parties to succeed in 2016, depending on any senate voting reform deal struck between the Greens and the Coalition, and believes Flux could be one of them.
"They have certainly brought a refreshingly radical approach to the minor party scene but they may have to look at some old school ways if they want to first get elected," he said.