Anyone decent wants to see the back of the Liberal government. But we also know that a future Labor government is not going to be much better.
For starters, the industrial laws we so desperately need to change today are hangovers from the time of the Rudd and Gillard government.
Then there’s the vicious racist scapegoating ramped up to new levels by the Liberals. Shamefully, this is echoed by Bill Shorten, who also talks about the importance of “strong borders” to stop desperate people seeking safety in Australia.
And while the planet is burning, Labor has shown it’s just as committed to the coal industry, refusing to oppose the Adani coal mine.
What we need instead is a radical restructuring of the economy to save the climate and improve living conditions for the majority.
What we’re doing
These are some of the reasons the Victorian Socialists have decided to stand candidates in the upcoming federal election.
At the Victorian Socialists conference on 6 February, we decided to contest three seats in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
One is Calwell, which covers the blue-collar working class and migrant outer northern suburbs, where the population has long been neglected by both major parties.
The other seats we are contesting are Wills and Cooper (formerly Batman). In both these areas we did well in the state election, and they are also where the battle between Labor and the Greens has been most fierce.
We want to make the case to people who are sick of Labor’s sell-outs that they also deserve better than the increasingly right-wing Greens.
All our candidates are socialists who have a long history fighting for working class communities and for social justice.
Jerome Small is the candidate for Calwell. He has been a construction worker for two decades and a trade union activist his whole working life. He is a long-time anti-war and anti-racism campaigner. In the 1980s he led student walkouts against the nuclear industry and US bases, and in the late 1990s he was a leader of the protest movement against Pauline Hanson.
Sue Bolton is the candidate for Wills. She’s been a socialist councillor on the Moreland City Council since 2012. She has a strong record of standing up against greedy developers and demanding action on the toxic waste dumps that scar the northern suburbs. Sue initiated the campaign for more trains on the Upfield line. She also has a proud record of standing with Aboriginal people. In 2017 she was central to the push to cancel celebrations of Australia Day (Invasion Day) in Moreland.
Kath Larkin is the candidate for Cooper. She is a rank and file leader with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union. In 2015 she helped organise the first strike in rail in 18 years, and as the RTBU women’s officer from 2014 to 2017, she helped give women a stronger voice in the industry. Today she is active with Unionists for Refugees. Kath has lived in the Cooper electorate for most of her life. She attended Northcote High and currently lives in Preston.
To organise the ground campaign, we have established Victorian Socialists campaign committees in each electorate. All Victorian Socialists supporters are welcome and encouraged to get involved.
Every dollar you can donate will make a big difference to our campaign. Unlike the major parties, we don’t have big donors. We only have grassroots supporters like you.
Donations for the federal election campaign can be made to:
Account 1098 0094
Our campaign launch will take place on Saturday, 6 April, 6.30pm at the Preston City Hall, 284 Gower St, Preston.
Liz Walsh is Victorian Socialists assistant secretary