Over the last few federal elections, Australia has seen an increase in the number of minor political parties that have stood for election in both houses of Parliament in addition to traditional independent members. This has had an effect upon Australian politics where the major parties have had to negotiate with a varied and volatile crossbench in order to pass or block legislation.
The policies that parties and their candidates take to an election aren't always the ones they uphold in parliament. Sometimes, there can be a change in party policy during a term, with members usually bound to toe the line unless given a conscience vote. Otherwise, for independents and members of micro parties, there may be scope to compromise their stance on particular issues in backroom deals with the major parties against the wishes of the voters who elected them.
Flux, a new political party formed by Bitcoin consultants Nathan Spataro and Max Kaye, aims to change this situation and empower people to have their say on the issues that most concern them. The party will also not have any specific policies of its own.
According to its website, Flux says that it "will automate away all the nitty-gritty to make this as simple and seamless as possible. This is where the magic happens." This, unlike other political parties, would enable Flux to readily canvas its participants without waiting for an election or ballot, effectively giving them a connection directly into Parliament.
In a system called "get-swap-vote", votes will be distributed by Flux amongst all of its participants, (which can even include other parties) who will each receive one vote per bill presented to Parliament. Participants can then swap votes with others in order to accumulate votes for the issues they care about.
Afterwards, the actual vote takes place with participants able to vote yes, no or, interestingly, anywhere in between. Votes are then relayed in their final proportions to Parliament, essentially making elected representatives dumb proxies without the autonomy wielded by other members of the respective House.
Alternatively, votes may be given to other participants such as community leaders, specialists, charities or even friends. Otherwise, votes may be accumulated over time to build "political capital" by abstaining from votes.
As to how exactly this "voting economy" will actually be achieved remains to be seen. The Flux website does explain that the voting system will be fully transparent and will run on a "distributed public network" which can be "verified by everyone, everywhere, constantly, and consistently." Given Spataro and Kaye's experience with Bitcoin, one might conclude that blockchain technology could exist at the core of Flux's vote management system. The idea may not be entirely far-fetched in the political arena with the UK Government recently urged to use blockchain technology to manage public money.
Flux could present a radical change to the way Australians engage with politics by embracing the benefits of technology compared to more traditional methods employed by other parties.