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Issue XIX
#1
[Image: c1EdkRN.png]
                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Special Local Council Elections Begun!
By Seraph

December has proven to be an interesting month for the Local Council and the idea of in-game representation and governance, with no fewer than three bills on the topic being proposed in the assembly, two of which stood in direct competition as they reflected the opposing viewpoints of Local Council member Belschaft and Council on Regional Security and World Assembly General Secretariat member Glen-Rhodes/Sandaoguo.  Perhaps the most significant development for this part of our regional government, however, was the realisation that one of the three members of the Local Council, Bulbasra, had Ceased to Exist and that there was therefore a vacancy that needed to be filled for the LC to carry out its duties properly.


One of the assembly bills was a direct response to this, seeking to clarify what actually needs to happen in the event of an unforeseen LC vacancy, as the election act did not specify, but it’s no secret that the possibility of a new member on the Local Council hung over the other bills like a cloud as the two opposing points of view about the purpose of the LC sought to ensure that their vision was dominant.  Eventually our WA Delegate, Tsunamy, started a special election to fill the vacancy on the 29th December and two candidates stepped up, Sepia Island and Aramanchovia.


Both players are well-known amongst the in-game community and have expressed dissatisfaction with the forum government in the past.  Aramanchovia is famous for having run for delegate in 2015 with a campaign proposal to move the entire government to the gameside and his views are often in line with those of LC member Belschaft.  His campaign this time, however, is more varied and focuses on engaging and informing those on the RMB, whilst also keeping the fun alive in the community.  Sepia Island, on the other hand, has taken a more RP approach to his campaign, focussing on attributes of his nation to demonstrate his character, reliability, activity and WA experience.


Whichever candidate is elected, the dynamic of the Local Council will change and it is everyone’s hope that we end up with a body able to best meet the needs of the gameside community.  Voting, which will occur via poll and be open to all native World Assembly members, commences on the 8th January at midnight EDT and will conclude at midnight EDT on the 11th.

Political Parties now Given Official Recognition
By Spenty

Earlier this month, an act was passed in the assembly outlining political parties and their rights. As of November 2016, two political parties have been granted recognition by the assembly, namely the Alliance for the Preservation of the Coalition (APC), and The Island League (TIL). Both parties have already settled in their new offices located at SP Street, where there are state of the art conference rooms and spacious offices. In order for political parties to be approved in the assembly, they must be used for political purposes only. Furthermore, parties used for satirical or social purposes will not be tolerated or approved in the assembly.


In an interview with the prominent members of the two parties, I got a glimpse of both parties. Omega, the current Chair of Assembly and vice-chair of the Alliance for the Preservation of the Coalition (APC), wanted the party to be an alliance that supports transparency and basic rights.


As one of the oldest members of the Alliance for the Preservation of the Coalition, what kind of party did you envision?


When I took over the party following Ryccia's departure, I slowly crafted the foundation that the APC Platform is now built on. That first platform outlined what I envisioned for the party: a group that works to advocate transparency, rights of the people, and eliminating toxicity.


How would you increase the participation of the whole party and gain a majority in the government?


So I'm not the best person to ask about increasing participation as that is more of Griffindor's job. Although the biggest thing we can do is continue to draft legislation and come up with positions for elections and legislation. A majority in government though would be something I could see happening in the next year to two years. The only way I see the APC gaining a majority in the cabinet though, is by making sure people trust our members, our platform, and our party leadership. I think that will take time and energy not just from the Chair of the APCRC, but also from the average members of the APC. That is if that is our long term goal.


And lastly, do you believe that The Island League and the Alliance for the Preservation of the Coalition could cooperate together while maintaining different identities? How do you think the Alliance for the Preservation of the Coalition is different from The Island League?

Well the APC and TIL already do work together on things like our current work on Court Reform. We are able to do this because both groups have things we want in legislation, but we also have things we compromise on. I think one thing all TIL and APC members will agree to is that the parties really aren't in opposition to each other.
I think the primary way the APC differs from TIL is in our leadership structure. Officially, TIL has no leadership and all members are equals. However, while the APC believes all members of the party are equals, we also believe it to be much more efficient if you have centralized leadership, like what we have with the APCRC.


Roavin, the current Minister of Military Affairs, and the rest of The Island League are happy to cooperate with the Alliance for the Preservation of the Coalition. I presented similar questions to Roavin about his political party.


As the leader of The Island League, what do you think the party stands for?


One of our unique key features is actually the reason for an inadvertent mistake in your question - The Island League has no leader! We eschew any kind of leadership hierarchy; instead, all members are considered fully equal, and all party actions are decided by a simple majority vote of all members. This approach has several benefits; foremost among them, it gives new members to the party a much more meaningful say from the outset than in more traditional approaches.


Another key facet is reaching out to new promising players and helping them become better involved in regional politics, be it on the forum or on the RMB. Too often in big regions, those in positions of power are older players who pose a significant entry barrier to newer players who are more motivated and have fresh ideas. We want to help raise new generations of great players, working alongside the older players, to shape our region and its future. Seraph and myself are already two great case studies for the effectiveness of this system, and a new recruitment drive to be launched soon will look for the next generation to step up.


Furthermore, we want sensible empowerment for the non-forum-goers in our region. There are many, many players in our region, each with their own way of playing, and each should have the opportunity to participate in our democracy without sacrificing the core tenets of their experience.


There are other aspects too, but this is getting too long as it is! I invite you to take a look at our platform or just ask any of us (personally, or on our Discord server).


What will you do in order to strengthen the influence of the party and cooperation between members, or if you think the influence of the party is already strong, what do you think it took for it to reach this far?


Cooperation between members has always been strong. Initially, the party started with a small group of friends with similar interests; newer members were embraced whole-heartedly and they in turn entered in kind spirit.


In terms of regional influence, I’d say we have a moderately strong, but not overwhelming presence. Subjectively, I’d place us at par with the APC in terms of total power, with the APC holding more power in their bloc vote and us holding more power in terms of rhetoric. We haven’t put explicit effort into having much influence in the region, but rather I’d say the power we do have comes from having a strong message when it matters and effectively coordinating with each other on that message.


And lastly, do you believe that The Island League and the Alliance for the Preservation of the Coalition could coexist in harmony? How would you make this possible, or how would you make the bond stronger?


Absolutely! We are two parties with many similar ideals but different paradigms, and there is absolutely a place in the South Pacific for both parties to exist — there is no one-size-fits-all. Even going back to shortly after the founding of the Island League, we’ve always stayed in contact with various representatives of the APC, and it’d be a lie to claim our relationship was anything but excellent.


In fact, right now, we are working together with the APC on revising our outdated and inconsistent judicial laws, and you can expect a joint draft to be presented to the region soon.
   


One topic that I asked to both sides was about how they cooperate with the opposite party and how are they different. Omega, the Vice Chair and the second member of the Alliance for the Preservation of the Coalition, believes that the party will continue to work with The Island League as they have done with amendments and acts in the past few months. One of which is the bill for court reform, which will bring massive changes to the Judiciary branch of the South Pacific.  However, while he believes that the structure of TIL and APC (with TIL having no real leader and the APC having a centralized system of governance) are different from each other, they both believe that each member is equal. Roavin, a prominent member of the Island League, also believes that the party could coexist in peace with the APC, and would like to help new and promising players participate in the government.


I conducted a survey about the act, and the population who answered the poll are split in most responses.  Out of the 14 respondents, half are not affiliated with a political party, 4 of which do not plan to be in one and 3 are not sure. Out of the 7 who are affiliated with a party, 3 are in The Island League and 4 are with the Alliance for the Preservation of the Coalition. In regards to the parties themselves, the APC garnered an average rating of 8.25 while the TIL has a slightly higher rating of 8.67. When asked if they have any concerns with parties in the government, some say that it could break the government into factions, or even outright suggested that these parties are nonsensical. However, some believe they have a role to play in this government, but need to have stronger regulations as these could either make the region stronger or break the region into fragments of the past.

A South Pacific Christmas!
By Seraph

For the second time in two years, the Ministry of Regional Affairs of the South Pacific ran a festive advent calendar to help our citizens get into the Christmas mood and to encourage engagement and involvement on both the forums and the Regional Message Board.  Covering topics as diverse as everyone’s favourite carols and the origins of Santa Claus, this year’s calendar has even featured some roleplaying content and a short work of satirical fiction created especially for the calendar by the Minister of Regional Affairs, Seraph.


The idea was spearheaded by Punchwood, appointed by Seraph to the role of Director of Journalism at the start of the current term. Punchwood first attempted an advent calendar in December 2015 and managed to find enough varied and engaging content to see the region through to the 18th December, before running out of steam.  On the 31st December 2015 he released a statement apologising for the fact that the calendar did not continue on until the 24th, as would be traditional, blaming it on ‘a lack of planning’.


In his opening statement for this year’s calendar, the Director of Journalism had said, ‘this year, there has been real planning done in advance and we now have the numbers and creativity to make this year a complete success!’  Despite this there had been some difficulty in getting more than a few Ministry fellows to contribute to the daily content and the Minister actually authored the majority.  He said that he was ‘disappointed by the level of engagement in Regional Affairs as a whole, right now’, but that he hoped to make ‘a bigger push for recruiting new members and encouraging older members to get involved again over the coming weeks’.


There’s no denying, however, that this year’s advent calendar has been well received and there have been many responses to most of the interactive entries on both the forums and the Regional Message Board.  Pencil Sharpeners 2, an RMB regular, described the calendar as ‘awesome’ and praised the ‘great variety of content’.  He also noted the efforts the Ministry has been making to involve the in-game community more, adding, ‘it's nice to see something that's working on both the RMB and the forum.’

19 and Counting
By Punchwood
This will be the 19th issue of the Southern Journal. First published in 2014 and here we are in 2017, still going strong. The Southern Journal has seen numerous successes, from 19 issues, dozens of small one article releases, to the Southern Onion, to the creation of Treasure Island Report, TSP Weekly, Real Time and just recently Cabinet’s Questions. It’s not just the Southern Journal that has seen success however, there have been many independent news organisations that have been set up and while most fell to inactivity we do now have a regular independent news organisation releasing its own information.

As I hand in my resignation as Director of Journalism I hope to see more success in journalism. I hope to see another 19 issues of the Southern Journal, more independent news organisations and more issues of Cabinet’s Questions. I hope that my successor will be able to do an amazing job in growing our journalism and making it even better than it already is.

I've always loved journalism and the Southern Journal so it feels strange to be walking away from it all. But I know that I have not been giving the job my fullest attention and so it is best for me and the region that I step aside and let someone else take control and lead the Southern Journal as Director. I hope that they will help not only The Southern Journal but all of The South Pacific’s news organisations grow and to become stronger than they already are.   

Southern Journal does not necessarily share the views or stances contained in this opinion piece.
Former Local Council Member
Former Minister for Regional Affairs
Former High Court Justice







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