HEMP Party sets itself an ambitious membership goal

HIGH HOPES: James Moylan, HEMP Party campaign director, in his Lismore office.
HIGH HOPES: James Moylan, HEMP Party campaign director, in his Lismore office. Patrick Gorbunovs

FROM a small office in his Lismore home, James Moylan has big plans.

The national campaign director of the HEMP Party is trying to attract more members than the federal ALP by the time the election is held.

The HEMP Party has about 4000 members compared with the ALP's 40,000 but Mr Moylan is confident of reaching the target.

"We're getting 50-150 new members a week online. There's a constant stream. Our online reach is getting up to 60,000 people, which is bigger than any of the other small parties and nearly as big as the big parties," Mr Moylan said.

The HEMP Party was registered for the 2010 election but didn't run any candidates and struggled with membership. But after some lobbying of the Australian Electoral Commission to allow digital signatures, things have taken off.

"They (the AEC) would only accept paper forms with signatures that had to be posted out and back, which never works and costs thousands. I pointed out it was legal for digital signatures.

"Then there was 18 months of to-ing and fro-ing until seven months ago they wrote to every party saying they would now accept digital signatures. Now within seconds of joining you get a confirmation that you are a member."

He puts the success of their membership drive down to being "online, instant and free".

"Every other party requires a donation to join. We ask people to invest yourself in the issues."

And he described it as "more like a grassroots movement under the guise of a political party".


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