Podcast: Talk with Ben Ballingall from Flux Party

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This is a friendly talk with Ben Ballingall member of the Australian based Issues Based Direct Democracy political party.

In this talk, we will be talking about meeting a British citizen who told us about his experience with Brexit. We then talked about what is Issues Based Direct Democracy and Flux party as well as the potential pros and cons of such a system.

This was recorded on 2020-02-11


Some of the questions we asked is about the IBDD system that Flux is implementing:

  • Q: What Issue Based Direct Democracy

  • Q: Citizen Juries vs Flux (Issues Based Direct Democracy)

  • Q: People aren’t engaged; not aware they’re not in democracy; media doesn’t tell them their choices. How to get to people if not aware of?

  • Q: Is there an algorithm for selecting issues - as representative as possible?

We also talked about more Flux specific questions:

  • Q: What is the theory and philosophy behind IBDD and Flux?

  • Q: Will interest groups cause problems? How would you stop that in your proposal?

  • Q: If you manage to get a representative into parliament, how is it going to work with the normal representative? (They’re assumed to be an autonomous actor in the parliament.)

  • Q: What sort of result would you need in the next elections before you can get a representative into parliament?

  • Q: Is there an algorithm for selecting issues - as representative as possible of the public?

Bonus content as well

Automated Transcript for Talk With Ben Ballingal From Flux Party

Automated Transcript, there may be errors

Brian k 0:00
Welcome to design the open democracy. I’m with Ben from flux, and I will be your host, Brian kick. So Ben is a representative of the Victorian branch of flux Party, which is a issue based Direct Democracy Party, which uses smartphone technology to help people have a more direct say in how the government should act. But before then, we actually met a guy from Flinders Street Station. Was it like was it again, it was a

Unknown Speaker 0:34
federation. We did down down Federation Square,

Brian k 0:37
just before I met you for this. Yes, yes. And we met a guy named Owen grant who like came from the UK, you remember?

Unknown Speaker 0:45
Yeah, yeah. Well, you introduced me, you introduced him to me as a political refugee,

Brian k 0:51
but not the Brexit. Yeah, but yeah, it was

Unknown Speaker 0:57
claimed to have left Britain due to the results of Brexit. So, um, yeah, it’s quite a spicy conversation to come into as a pro digital democracy, advocate for whatever I want to tell myself. So

Brian k 1:09
yeah, it was, like, I think the most important here is that it provides us with the introduction onto the background of where your party is trying to slide into, which is, for example, the year kind of had this issue of the referendum which led to the Brexit. And his feeling was that it came as a total surprise to him and his left leaning friends.

Unknown Speaker 1:30
Yeah, I love that. It’s

Unknown Speaker 1:32
love that it makes me sad, but no bricks, it’s definitely pointed to as this example of democracy. But it’s it even in that chat, you know, several guys this is for quite a few years. You know, he’s, he’s seen Brexit as this terrible example of democracy that went wrong, but I guess getting to have a chat with him and, you know, even just bringing up that, you know, who made up the question? What was the wording of the question? Like, why wasn’t it Why didn’t Take two years to implement that. These are what people’s real problems are, you know, at least it turned out in his case. So yeah, it was just a good chat because it’s it’s sad that Brexit is is a negative for

Brian k 2:10
Yeah, yeah. And I think this led to a very good starting point of this loss of faith in democracy in general. And, like, what do you feel led to this kind of loss of faith? And of course, you can then talk about like the issue based on Moxie that yeah, it was that’s a

Unknown Speaker 2:30
huge question that Brian right off the bat, but yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s something we got to with him, there’s so many facets to it. It’s it’s, you know, how is the question asked, who’s it asked? What’s the, you know, how are people incentivized to give an answer they truly believe in, you know, like, you could look at Brexit, again is the first time people have had a referendum in decades. How many people actually really truly thought about the reaction and the result and how many people were like

Brian k 2:58
Kiki? There was two events that I thought was quite interesting. For example, one of it was Boris Johnson big red bus in a gigantic letters of how much it gonna cost

Unknown Speaker 3:09
to sold to people coming in

Unknown Speaker 3:11
India,

Brian k 3:12
as well as after the referendum, the biggest search, whereas what is the year?

Unknown Speaker 3:18
Yeah, exactly that. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. What is it a true representation of democracy when the people who voted and took part in the vote, didn’t have a clue or didn’t even really

Unknown Speaker 3:32
care or didn’t even really know what they were voting on?

Unknown Speaker 3:37
Yeah, that’s a that’s definitely a takeaway from at least from direct democracy as we think about it now. And something we’re aiming to fix with issue based direct democracy. Well, we believe we fixed with,

Brian k 3:49
we’ll definitely follow up on that aspect. It was before we started with that, like, a couple years ago, we had a vent on citizen juries and Nicholas grand had this quote which I find quite Interesting what we’re seeking for in a system is the REL considered opinion of the population. Is that what you’re thinking of as well?

Unknown Speaker 4:08
Yeah. I mean, we, we focus it through a guess the lens of specialization. You want people who specialize in the question to be answering the question.

Brian k 4:21
I say, again, now we can start actually getting to, if I remember you said flux is an issue based director, Moxie, what is initiative basically?

Unknown Speaker 4:31
So the the philosophy we’re calling issue based, direct democracy is what I call is a progression of a few of the, the thought processes around direct democracy. So it combines obviously direct democracy that we know you know, being able to vote yes or no, but this comes with problems, which has been discussing people have to vote yes or no, they’re gonna have to give a response. They might not be informed about the subject. Well, then No care about it

Brian k 5:00
or not. In other countries, you don’t have to. But in Australia, you have to fake so maybe I should make this clear for those are overseas in Australia, it is mandatory to vote.

Unknown Speaker 5:12
Right? I’m talking about something different. This would be direct democracy director or not, but not voting on politicians. Okay, so you like in a direct democracy, for instance, Brexit vote, you had to vote yes or no, there was no option not to vote, there was no option to do anything else with your vote. So this is where flux comes in. So we’re not just a direct democracy, we’ve added in another element called liquid democracy, liquid democracy. So this is Yeah, this is when you don’t know about the subject but you do think it should be dealt with by professionals or by insightful people or scientists, so having a leader that you trust, so you can delegate on that one issue, or in that one field, to have someone else use your vote and tell you where should go. So that’s the secondary should be directed. So where should be directed you delegate to them, then move it on. So this, this cleans up a lot of the problems with direct democracy. But it also brings in a, I guess, a few extra problems in that there’s, you know, the hubris people are just going to keep going to the same leader, when it’s not necessarily the best idea.

Brian k 6:16
It’s just kind of related to the trouble effective racing.

Unknown Speaker 6:20
Yeah, I mean, it’d be it’d be a much smaller version right now we see it in the whole party, but you’d still go, you know, Dr. Carl, is my science and tech guy, and he always will be for the next 20 years because I know him, but he might not still have the best ideas. So what you actually want is a way for people to specialize and hyper specialized in their skills, some so so the other addition part from liquid democracy is the ability in a vote where none of the answers are good, any good to you. The addition the ability to not vote at all and abstain from voting, and then you would store up a little bit of that vote energy, and then you can put it towards your own novel idea, or something you’re really, really passionate about? Because Yeah, you know, we don’t want we also want to reward. We don’t want to. We don’t want to incentivize people just giving away their vote. Obviously, liquid democracy is easier, but it might not be the best answer for you.

Brian k 7:17
So in other words, it sounds like you’re almost trying to, like, get people to to abstain from certain issues, if they’re not passionate enough about that particular issue. 100% remember, you made a analogy between those who Christian, those who are atheists and in regard to say, the abortion debate, if everybody has the same amount of fear may not choose to vote in a way that is suitable for the entire nation, but instead you want to get them to actually make a decision of who they are what they Campbell hope and maybe they care more about religious right rather than banning abortion completely. So maybe you tell me a bit more on your way. Is that the angle?

Unknown Speaker 8:02
Yeah, I don’t know, this specific analogy, but I’ll pick it up.

Unknown Speaker 8:07
I think it’s that the Yeah, you know, it’s

Unknown Speaker 8:11
or even or even the the alternative of maybe you believe in every single Christian value, except for being anti abortion. So even taking it from the other side, and then it’s like you would have to be right now, if you wanted to have support for all of your other 49 values, you have to, by default support that other one. And that’s not necessarily what we want because that not my unit might not truly view that as the best, say Christian values. Sticky want to stay with but let’s go with it. Christian values of kindness and humility and being kind to others. You might see them being upheld in every other way except for this one. So it’s kind

Brian k 8:53
of like similar to having to choose a cable TV packaging, but like a lot of them forces you to Hey, there’s

Unknown Speaker 9:01
an analogy I feel much safer going into. Yes, exactly. And this is,

Brian k 9:08
that makes me feel so much better.

Unknown Speaker 9:09
Right now in your voting, you could specialize just in the sporting package. Yeah. And you would be everybody wants to, yeah, you just want that sports package, you don’t care about anything else. And you would be rewarded by instead of saving money for not buying those other packages, you would be rewarded by getting more political energy that you can spend on sports related things that are thank you for giving me that analogy rather than be tiptoeing through Christian values.

Unknown Speaker 9:38
But yeah, that’s it. That’s a really great analogy though.

Brian k 9:41
Okay. So I think now you’re explained a bit more benicia based democracy and so the audience will at least know what IBD D stands for. But there’s also this other model Richard would have had a cut a bit and I mentioned not too long ago about citizen juries. And flux, on the other hand implements IBD. So I’m kind of curious, why didn’t flux? Yes, citizen juries why I really did.

Unknown Speaker 10:07
I am laughing about this

Unknown Speaker 10:10
because I was like, jokingly being a little rough on citizen cherries. I really so citizens, juries and IBD, I think come from the same place in that. They’re both trying to fix bad representation. They don’t want us to be represented poorly by people who aren’t us, you know, the people. So in that way, I think citizens juries are really great. They they empower ordinary people who are interested and don’t, you know, actually want to see the change happen. But what they don’t do is they don’t reward specialization and they don’t reward someone getting the correct answer. Someone doing really well in a citizen jury may never be caught up again. And that’s something flux wants to limit with IBD. So we kind of similar to how

Brian k 10:57
you notice within modern Society, everybody is starting to hyper specialized in their own engineering, doctors fields and so on.

Unknown Speaker 11:07
Yes, that’s almost perfectly it’s um, you know, it’s, it’s if everybody’s specializing in their fields, we want to reward that we don’t, we don’t want to try and create these representatives that are really great at most things or a jack of all trades at most things, when we could have masters at everything, delivering the results that are given to you know, that a confirmed by the people

Brian k 11:34
as opposed to maybe the other analogy you could probably make as well is the patent system and how a lot of the issue with the patent system is that those that do the reverse of the patent systems are not always the same people that are specialized in understanding how it works, especially when you put it to the jury system. But even at the moment, if I understand when you have pattern conflicts people need to create experts to talk to the juries. But a lot of the issues is that the juries in a very short amount of time have to pick Okay, yeah, network stack, all sorts, computer theory, etc. And like this can in some ways overwhelm the jury system in trying to deal with making the right choices of her to or the pattern to on whether the pattern is valid or not.

Unknown Speaker 12:24
Yeah, I think so. And I think it’s like,

Brian k 12:27
and I think this ties into the aspects of what you’re trying to say about the need for hyper specialization, on maybe even on the complex issues.

Unknown Speaker 12:37
Yes, that’s it.

Unknown Speaker 12:38
That’s exactly it’s like, you know, you could, you can hope that especially in this patent case, you can hope that a jury will be able to see the just thing to do. And, you know, they might be if someone can explain it to them correctly. They can make the correct decision because they have less they don’t get they have no dog In the fight, so they kind of decision because that is their task as the jury. But you’re adding in the fact that they know they can be bamboozled or just jog and until they don’t actually know what that they’re looking at, whereas that’s something you could never get. You couldn’t do to a specialist. So instead having that jury you have a specialist everybody trusts. And they copy bamboozled hopefully,

Brian k 13:23
of course, the biggest issues that we’re delegating our trust to a politician What’s not to say that this isn’t going to happen as round with those we delegate our trust.

Unknown Speaker 13:33
Yeah, that’s, that’s that is a look at

Unknown Speaker 13:36
saying a floor in liquid democracy that used to tempt hubris, but also, but also the Moxie IBD deals yes within IBD. So, you know, that’s a problem. It is. It is great that you can delegate to someone but they can either get lazy or they can be corrupted. The best thing about IB or within a digital liquid democracy is the second they do that. The Outback

Brian k 14:01
say so does I like accountability feedback loop that you’re saying that is missing from the original undercook democ. Sega was supplied by the Pirate Party of another country if I remember they tried to test it but pure liquid democracy, but they had a bit of issue that you’re talking about. Yeah. What would you say this IB D, the sugar and stomach. Direct Democracy is an evolution of liquid democracy.

Unknown Speaker 14:28
Yeah, of

Unknown Speaker 14:30
evolutions, maybe not the term I’d use just

Unknown Speaker 14:33
liquid democracy is just one facet within IBD that serves a purpose. It serves the purpose to remove the static Enos of direct democracy and make it a bit more fluid and make it sure that people who care and people who want to help, can be empowered. But it’s not. You know, it’s not it’s not so much a evolution in that it’s a logical progression of progression to prevent that They serve separate purposes and the three keys, direct democracy, liquid democracy and the issue based vote sharing. They also different purposes, they’re not necessarily like a linear thing.

Brian k 15:12
I think that’s pretty sensible. So paper on engaged, they’re not aware that they’re not into democracy, the media doesn’t tell them the choices, even if unlike this whole concept of the flux IBD system, how do you get people to use it if they’re not aware of this system system? Or could find it difficult to understand

Unknown Speaker 15:35
the difficult one?

Unknown Speaker 15:37
I mean, obviously, we’re looking at the most straightforward thing, get a get a member

Unknown Speaker 15:41
represented elected and a representative into parliament.

Unknown Speaker 15:46
So obviously election campaigns and and running successful ones are those are the black and white answer to that question. That’s our hope. That’s our goal for it all. Secondary to that would be We’re hoping to release an app that allows people to mirror parliament and have their vote, and then have it displayed, you know, according to their community, and we’re hoping that, that as a method of method of people lobbying their representatives, and the idea could really catch on, you know, the idea that what’s happening in Parliament, I’ll have a look, I’ll vote on it. And I’ll push it to my friends and more importantly, my MP. Yeah, that’s the stepping stone to getting people to

Brian k 16:28
realize. It does. Yeah. So Well, once you do get it in, like every kind of curious to know about the algorithms and like, how put these issues be selected, like as representative as possible?

Unknown Speaker 16:42
Yeah. So initially, I imagine with one MP a lot of the time we just straight reacting to other parties. And we’re allowing every person in our electorate to vote yes or no to what other political parties want. But what you can do with when you elect not to vote on things in that parliament, you store up that energy And then you can put that up into like, I guess, a separate voting mechanism in the flux ecosystem. So yeah, you could, you know, renege from making up these numbers but 50 votes, and that should afford you enough to be able to put forward a piece of legislation that you yourself can write up. And then yeah, everyone can vote on that from with just within your community.

Brian k 17:23
What is the therapy and the philosophy behind IBD and flux? So without explored citizen juries and flux, but I’d be curious to know, portraying flux and IBD t like how what is the relation of IBD flux?

Unknown Speaker 17:41
flux? So IBD

Unknown Speaker 17:41
is the you know, the democratic model, that flux the political party uses? So IBD is just a voting system. So in that regard, it only I guess it you know, it only touches on the legislative arm of government policy. MPs voting on things. That would be what I VDD does, as opposed to what flux does, you know, flux is a political apparatus, it’s going to put MPs into parliament who obviously they vote, they vote according to IBD. But they also have to look into, you know, how do we make government transparent, as transparent as possible that safe so that we giving people the information so they can make the right decisions. And there, but, you know, we’re not maybe giving away enough that we could damage national security or commerce, which will be a lot of a lot of what we’re doing, actually, technically, you know, also following up other parties and making sure where their information comes from making sure that’s

Unknown Speaker 18:43
transparent. That would be a lot of you know, flux as a political party, and

Unknown Speaker 18:49
actor, not related to a democratic system that

Brian k 18:52
we use. So from the interest groups like, part of the consent a lot of people been talking to me is about Like parties or doing things in the interests of big donors, and that gave me the systems. How would you stop this in your proposals like

Unknown Speaker 19:10
that’s one of the best things about the blockchain technology we use a gives a full ledger that shows every single vote. Obviously, these votes are anonymized. So you can actually link them to a human person and find their house. But you can, you can rest assured that it is one person that took that vote. So this means as long as we as a party and as MPs, as long as we stick to literally one room, we vote how the app says

Unknown Speaker 19:41
we can’t actually be corrupted by

Unknown Speaker 19:43
the usual you know, here’s a briefcase full of money vote no. And if we do everyone will know what that one second and then we’re dead in the water. So it means that if these big companies and stuff do you want to manipulate people, or manipulate the political process, they actually have to manipulate the entire community, I say, so now you’re looking at, they have to do mass media or a mass information campaign, which for them is going to be incredibly expensive that it can’t be manipulative or based on a lie. That’s the

Brian k 20:15
current issue right now, as a lot of people are concerned with the concentration of media if I remember.

Unknown Speaker 20:21
Yeah. So it’s, it’s, um, you know, it’s like, we can’t storm in and say that we’re going to destroy Murdoch and only use this open source, internet based media system like

Unknown Speaker 20:34
that’s, that’s not how the level or that’s my it might work eventually, like that, but

Unknown Speaker 20:38
that’s not how it works nowadays. But what it does do is it means that these parties and these financial backers have to get the voting of the people and to do that they have to inform them. And if they lie, they lose that trust forever. And they just blew $8 million on an advertising campaign. So it’d be better for them, not to lie and to give

Brian k 21:00
doesn’t suck. I do remember in our last election in 2019 $90 million something dropped wasn’t nearly $16 billion. Yeah, for sure.

Unknown Speaker 21:13
But yeah, exactly. And it’s like and and what’s worse is, you know, people point to that as like click on I did that but if you remember his ads, they would idiotic they gave you nothing. They were just like Australia. Yeah. If he wanted to blow $60 million to affect one issue, it’s not gonna work just being like, Oh, yes, it would actually require informed me why I should vote yes. Cuz Dave on his couch just did a live video on youtube for free. And it explained why I should vote no. Yeah, so that’s what I think it’s like, you can’t destroy money wanting to affect politics, but you can make a system where it’s stupidly expensive to try and lie and you have to be trusted. apparent to the people like that’s what we’re going for it. Yeah.

Brian k 22:04
That’s quite interesting. So, like for the audience here, listen to your very and understand the idea and actually accept and want to see this happen. Like some of the concepts that would have in terms of the implementation is if you manage to get a representative into parliament, how is it gonna be back within the normal system that we got, and soon to be a tongueless actors? So can they just vote the right they want against the grish of flux?

Unknown Speaker 22:34
Yes,

Unknown Speaker 22:37
that’s that’s the long and short of it. It’s

Unknown Speaker 22:39
so if we think of normal party politics, and this a bit like so this ability for for a parliamentarian to always be able to vote however they want. It’s actually a really nice thing when you think about normal politics and means that the liberals can’t go

Unknown Speaker 22:55
sign this contract that

Unknown Speaker 22:56
says your vote how I tell you or you only $10 million, and they can’t do that sort of thing. Or you go to jail if you’re the government, you know, like, without this protection, that something could happen. So it’s actually a good thing. When it comes to representing the people, it’s a negative, obviously, people, these people, an MP could openly go against the people’s voting. However, if they did that, then they’re not able to ever come back. You can you can vote against the Liberal Party and then be like, Oh, I just disagreed on that one. But I agree with the rest I’m back or you can just sit as an independent and still pretend you’re holding up

Unknown Speaker 23:37
the values that you said you would at the start.

Brian k 23:40
So it’s kind of like how you don’t really see members of one political parties switch to the other then switch back?

Unknown Speaker 23:46
Yeah, it’s, I mean, what have we got? We’ve got no Cory Bernardi, he’s one of them. I

Unknown Speaker 23:53
think Santa founded as well. But you know, these people that

Unknown Speaker 23:56
they’re able to backstab their party and not really How the party wanted, which is the only thing they agreed that they would do, and why they got elected. Because they’re able to go out the party has changed or the party’s views changed from my. Whereas if you’re a flux representative, the only thing you’re ever holding is that you’ll do what the people say. So to go against that, you have to be like, I believe I’m smarter than the people. And you’re just dead in you know, you’ve just read maybe I should

Brian k 24:27
phrase it a bit more of what you’re saying is that isn’t a more that I no longer believe in the system that you’re you ever run? Because like, of course, every Friday says is, I’m believe in the world of the public. But essentially, if you’re part of the flux, I think the theory here is that you believe in the strength and accuracy of the flux system. So you will vote with it. Yeah, but if you’re voting against it, and in some ways, you’re saying that you lost trust,

Unknown Speaker 24:57
exactly. it’s it’s it’s something where I’m not gonna lie, if someone did that, it would look shit. It would look terrible for us as flux. But it wouldn’t kill flux, it wouldn’t kill the idea of represent of being represented by the community voting. It would just ruin that person. It would say they don’t trust the people. It doesn’t ruin that voting can happen, and that’s how we should be represented. So it’s, it’d be sad,

Unknown Speaker 25:23
but it’s not. It’s not a it’s not a death knell for

Brian k 25:25
us. Okay. So what kind of results Did you need to see in the next election before you could get a representative in Parliament to demonstrate this kind of system because we have had a election last year. So it’s gonna be a kind of fair years ahead, but it’d be interesting to know what ideas have been helped once it’s gonna take for sure, it’s

Unknown Speaker 25:49
one of the percentages unfortunately right now, but I’m going to make them up. So we just we just got out of a federal election, where, you know, when you look at senate writings and preference slide is and things like that, I believe it was possible with about 4% of the vote

Unknown Speaker 26:04
for us to get

Unknown Speaker 26:05
someone elected, you know, in a lower senate seat, it’d be very, very unlikely for us ever to get a lower house seat, obviously, you need to get 50% or 40% of the vote quite hard. But in an upper house seat in federal court, 4% of the vote upcoming, more importantly, in the next year, we’ve got the why state election and due to some specifics around why election law and also against the strength of micro parties, micro parties in particular NWA, we could be looking at something with maybe two to 3%

Unknown Speaker 26:36
Yeah, which you know, it’s sounds tiny, but it’s a big thing in real in real politics,

Unknown Speaker 26:42
but it’s certainly not crazy anymore to 3% some sliding some, you know, strong team ups with other micro parties, and it wouldn’t be crazy to see something come out of this wi state election, but obviously I’m always blindly hopeful of course. I

Brian k 27:00
think we’ve covered pretty much most of agreed needed to focus on that. For those who are interested in the flux system and like maybe, maybe they’re from Finland or maybe even in Australia, like what’s next for them?

Unknown Speaker 27:16
Well, the first thing you can do is reach out vote flux.org around Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and reach out and get in touch with one of us other than that we have a discord which is getting there couple of few hundred people in our community who can, you know, will fill in a lot of these questions and answers like it doesn’t have to be me. So discord.io forward slash flux party, especially if you’re in a in a country other than Australia, or if you’re in Australia, in South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland or the Northern Territory, please get in touch and we can help you get a party registered in your area.

Brian k 27:53
That definitely sounds exciting and I’m really appreciate that you took your time to come along to have a dishonouring open democracy

Unknown Speaker 28:02
Thank you very much. it’s um it’s been a long time coming the the God and flux collab so I’m glad we got it done. Awesome. Thanks.

Brian k 28:09
Cheers

Automated Transcript for bonus content for Talk With Ben Ballingall From Flux Party

Warning there may be errors

Brian k 0:00
Hi, and welcome to bonus content from designing open boxey. We previously held a recording on the 11th of March 2020. For a warm up with Ben linkle on the talk about his party and how it implements issue based direct democracy system believe that this is a warm up, it is a bit more free flowing. However, it explores a bit more into how flux party itself works. So you may be finding this to be quite an interesting talk that goes into more details and some aspects of flexibility that the original talk did not go into. And welcome to designing open democracy and who we have here is Ben political from flux party. Hey, Brian,

ben ballingal 0:45
thanks for letting me on.

Brian k 0:47
Yes. So tell me a bit more about flux party and what is it?

ben ballingal 0:54
So yeah, I’m with the flux party where a political party registered in Australia Also throughout various states throughout Australia, we’re a political party that believes in or proposes issue based direct democracy. So that’s a way for all the citizens, all the citizenry to vote on the issues that come up in Parliament, and have those results aggregated and shown to a representative and representatives will do what their community votes in Parliament.

Brian k 1:28
So if I understand correctly, what you’re saying is that it’s gonna be a system where people will get to do a bit more direct democracy in their government. Is that correct?

ben ballingal 1:39
Yeah, truly, it’s, um,

it’s a very straight up and down democracy, the people voting on every single issue.

Brian k 1:45
I see.

So tell me a bit more about the history of flux. Like you mentioned, Max Cain was a big part of flux.

ben ballingal 1:54
Yeah, so was it 2000

middle of 2015 I believe it was. Max K and Nathan Spataro, who are the co founders came together because they had both an idea for this new form democracy. But most importantly, perhaps secondly, most importantly, they had the ability and the code behind being able to develop that.

So they developed a prototype of

the app and then used I guess that to generate enough buzz to get the party registered before the 2016 federal election.

So

yeah, at late late

2015 would have been the the true state of flux for just the two of them

Brian k 2:33
led to 16th Yep. Okay. Why did we choose to stop say, electronic voting, rather than say, like, What can I say? Why is there a need to switch?

ben ballingal 2:50
I think we

depends on your views of representative government is all my I’ll stop that but for at least a lot of us in flux. Yeah, we we see the flaws in representative democracy and the government system governmental systems we have right now. And that, frankly, a lot of the flaws that we face politically, as you know, the people if we can call that come from a lack of representation, a lack of transparency, and the lack of accountability of our representatives. So generating some sort of system, especially one that’s democratic and gives empowers everybody, you know, it’s it’s I personally, I think it’s something people have been doing for the entirety of history. I was just happens to be based on blockchain tech and the internet. But, you know, technological innovation is sort of always progressed, some sort of political change. Yeah, I see. It’s just something that everybody sort of felt, and this is how it manifested more than anything.

I guess I can come in come at where like, when designing I’m from democracy, or

what at least what I understand

Unknown Speaker 3:54
of what you’re doing because

ben ballingal 3:57
I’m not fully across signing up. But it’s Suddenly like, Yeah, for sure. So I say this is like flux is one element, if I can of

designing and open democracy in that flux

posit a true democratic form. It allows everybody to vote on issues right now. It’s contingent on parliament, what is put up in Parliament primarily.

Brian k 4:19
So like three year, electorial cycle,

ben ballingal 4:23
exactly three year electoral cycle, we need to get this person in to do this thing. But what it doesn’t sort of, or what what you know, will grow, hopefully symbiotically is how are people going to be informed about these decisions they’re going to make? You know, how do we decide once once we’ve released all these old political parties of leading us? How do we decide what facets of their ideology were good? And what were bad?

You know, and how do we actually have these discussions? That’s,

that’s something that needs to grow. That’s a societal you know, People need to develop this thing in in tandem with the ability to vote on issues and control their MP. So

Brian k 5:06
what you’re saying is that is flux, only one component of what is needed in the society. There’s a cultural element, is that correct? Yeah, there’s like I think maybe what something might have a concern is that you could try to fix the brain people. Right. But is that going to really fundamentally change this this conflict we have? Because there’s also an issue of like, say, media representation, or cultural representation,

ben ballingal 5:30
and etc. I think that’s Yeah, that’s the

million billions trillion dollar question is, and you know, we don’t know,

like when we think of voting, especially nowadays, you know, we think of this voting for a team fighting for a team that has some is, yeah, this this, this tribal team that always been this way. They’ve always held this ideology that comes with, you know, these 50 points. So really changing how culture and society Looks at politics looks at it via every issue and how those issues actually relate individually. Yeah, you know, that’s a huge cultural change. So it’s a huge cultural shift

Brian k 6:12
and mentality,

ben ballingal 6:13
for sure. Yeah. The the actual, the actual mentality, you know, it’s totally acceptable to only like one initiative that the greens put forward. And then the next week to like a one nation initiative. People could not even comprehend how that could ever work. But when you look at individual issues, you know, that greens issue could be a great environmental issue. And the one nation issue is something to do with rural infrastructure. Like they can both be right. And in today’s politics, you can’t that that’s completely absurd. So so that’s a huge change that isn’t solved by be people being able to vote.

Brian k 6:53
So I have this device to talk about, like how would the ordinary verta in Public participate in your system?

ben ballingal 7:04
Yeah, for sure. I mean,

Brian k 7:06
real bill, and I think a great way to ask this question would be like, could you give me a rundown as to how this system oobleck? In typical use case of the public? Yeah, for sure.

ben ballingal 7:18
So it takes a little bit of

the things we have to

suspend our disbelief. First a flux MP has been voted in, in your electorate. So that’s important. But you know, you’re sitting on your couch in uniques. And an issue comes up, you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and an issue comes up that’s being debated. You would go to the app store, or you can go to the website, either Oh, but specifically the App Store and you download an app. The app allows you to log in, create a user created a credit password, create an account and you log in using your federal electoral road details. So these are all verified by the government that you are one person then it would tell you, you know, Obviously, you’re elected state level, federal level, and then the upcoming bills in Parliament. So this is going to be voted on in four days, this is going to be voted in three days. And it would allow you to vote yes, no, or choose not to vote on those ones. And then obviously, say you really like an issue, click on it. It’ll give you the synopsis of the bill, maybe give you some links to the parties, like the proposing parties information, maybe some counter information proposed by other political parties. This is definitely a level where we don’t want to be proposing any information. So you won’t find information from flux. But you might be able to find the information that the other parties have put up. And then yeah, you would, you would vote yes or no, if you wanted to, you’d be given the results of your entire electorate, and then little button down the bottom to post to Twitter, post to Facebook, email my representative. That’d be a really basic, you know, being hit by a bill that you really cared about and acting on that bill.

Brian k 8:57
So I’m kind of curious as to One key aspects. Gill system relies on the use of technology and smartphones and their real pretty concerns on public about the security and viability of technology based electorial system.

ben ballingal 9:16
Yeah, for sure. It’s a big tech one tech security is is something that I guess is initially very scary and especially if you know in that industry you know, I even I am quote unquote in the industry but I can’t read the cook tired to

Brian k 9:29
say like the Iowa election scandal is a scandal or kerfuffle

ben ballingal 9:35
in America have a good turn. Yeah, that’s, that’s pretty perfect, cuz that exact fault was an actual fault in the code, like it been coded poorly, but it’ll still in people’s psyche just be an app broke and it screwed up the vote. You know that it tech gets reduced down so quickly. On a tech forefront. It is blockchain based voting. So you know, The ledger is immutable. We do have the strongest security and anonymization. In industry, you know, there is no other way. It’s the same stuff that protects you bank gets your banking and all your online communication. There is a level where it’s open source, you can read it. If it’s got a flaw, people will find it. And right now we are telling you there are no flaws.

Brian k 10:27
And you got to understand that like most people are probably not technologically literate in the idea of the blockchain. And so I imagine part of the aspects to getting your story out there and getting traction and the public about your flux system is you probably need to have a bit more acceptance and the idea of relying and blockchain

ben ballingal 10:51
Yeah, it’s um, it’s funny, even in just three years I’ve been with with flux. It’s even how much we have to explain blockchain. Now compared to back three years ago, is markedly less, we definitely still have to, you know, there is a certain it is still freaky new technology, but I think there’s at least enough acceptance, you know, people understand crypto blockchain, it’s something to do with saving and storing money. And being anonymous, like people at least have this sort of rough idea of how it works now. Yeah. And with that acceptance, you know, it’s a lot easier to be like, so you can see how that could be used for voting. Yes. As opposed to having to you know, really explain how the vote worked and how the security works and how that works. It’s getting there.

It’s, it’s one of those ones, you really just have to put up and be like,

it works. And you can’t prove us wrong. And the people that can prove us wrong, agree with us. So what do you want?

Brian k 11:47
Hi, and thanks for listening to this bonus content of designing open democracy. Talk with Ben Berlingo. If you’re interested in this talk and you haven’t had the original talk, I recommend you to Check out the last episode and give it a listen. Oh and if you have not been Australia Don’t forget to check out our physical beta each month recover different topic on relating to democracy. Our next meetup will be likely to be about cooperatives. So I hope to see you then. Else see the next podcast episode. Cheers.