The Australian WikiLeaks Party is unravelling after it directed its voting preferences to right-wing parties, with two major members resigning.
Ethicist Dr Leslie Cannold and mathematician Dr Daniel Mathews have both announced their resignations from Julian Assange's WikiLeaks Party, citing the allocation of voting preferences to right-wing parties as the reason for their abrupt departures.
Cannold and Mathews announced their departures on 21 August. Dr Cannold laid the reason at the feet of "white-anting", saying in her formal letter of resignation, "Since June, when I joined the campaign, I have been concerned that where disagreement exists with decisions council makes, these have been white-anted and resisted, forcing council to reaffirm these decisions and assert their right to make them... The failure in WA and NSW for the National Council's instructions for the group voting tickets to be implemented exposed problems with the capacity of the party to sustain its democratic processes."
Dr Mathews went into rather more detail on his personal blog. "Entering this arena, we were playing to win, and in order to win, we need to make the appropriate deals. We probably don't have the primary vote to do it alone, and so we need to make deals. Julian and Greg Barns (who is campaign director, but not on the National Council) essentially held this view," he said. "In between were various shades of idealism and pragmatism of preferences as a moral statement through to preferences as a matter of technical expertise."
Where it all fell apart, according to Mathews, was a lack of communication between Assange and the party, poor organisation, a lack of agreement between the party council members and party council members operating without the agreement of the entire council.
"The initial view was that the party had submitted a mistake; and, indeed, on its face it looks like it could not have been anything else," he said. "Possibly from a prior draft preference list, right-wing parties were mistakenly not moved down. But subsequent evidence has come to light that it may not have been entirely a mistake."
As he stated, the WikiLeaks Party has indeed set up an independent review of its preference communication, and has stated that should it not be able to change its preferences at this time, it will release a tutorial card about how to vote below the line so that voters can allocate their own preferences.
Mathews' closing statements, however, were damning for the WikiLeaks Party. "[Assange] really ought not to have set up a party with internal democracy. As his own political self, he has many innovative ideas, influence, eloquence, knowledge and skills," he said. "He is, however, his own man, and not one suited to a party with democratic National Council oversight. I wish him luck and all the best for the election and the future."
You can read Mathews' entire account here, and Cannold's resignation letter embedded below.