The biggest socialist campaign ever seen in an Australian State election will occur in the Victorian seat of Richmond this year. The seat comprises the municipality of Yarra in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs and has been held since 1999 by the Labor Party’s Richard Wynne, who is also the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Local Government, and Housing.
The Socialist Party (SP) will be standing its local Councillor for Yarra, Stephen Jolly, for the seat. In the 2008 Yarra Council elections, Stephen beat the ALP and Greens into first place in his ward with 30% of the first preference vote out of 8 candidates vying for 3 positions. Across the municipality, SP won 12.1% of the vote.
We have already received important support from wide layers of the electorate for our decision to stand in the November 27th election. Public housing tenants are desperately keen for leadership in their fight for basic amenities and better refurbishments and maintenance for their dwellings. Stephen and SP have been in the front line of many battles to improve life for public housing tenants and we expect good support from the three main estates that are situated in the electorate.
Residents want a representative from the area in Parliament who will fight against over-the-top development that overshadows homes, and puts extra stress on parking, traffic and social services. Any extra development needs to be matched with childcare and public transport.
Residents also want a representative who will fight to stop a tunnel and freeways as a solution to the transport chaos every rush-hour. We need free, expanded and integrated public transport to get people out of cars and also to protect the environment.
Most importantly residents want a fighter for the area representing them in State Parliament – not an apologist in the area for the Labor government and their developer mates.
The Greens will be standing ex-Yarra Councillor Kathleen Maltzhan for the seat. Eight years on from their initial electoral breakthrough in Yarra, increasing numbers of residents are asking the question “What have the Greens achieved on Council?” The truth is they have voted for every one of the budgets of the past years – including this year’s budget which cut funding for Arts grants and community grants as well as the usual over-inflation rate rise.
The Greens do not offer a principled alternative to the State government pro-capitalist policies. Every time they get into power they crumble and retreat from their promises to residents.
Whenever residents in Yarra have had reason to take on dodgy developers or the State government it is SP that they have been most able to rely on to help organise and lead this struggle.
In contrast to all other candidates Stephen is pledging that if elected he will only take the wage of a skilled worker. Unlike other parties SP does not take money from developers or big business. Unapologetically, SP represents ordinary people and not the profiteers. Stephen already has a reputation as the best fighter that money can’t buy. We will be taking this message into the election campaign.
We call on all of our readers to support this important campaign. We need help with letterboxing, doorknocking and on election day. We are also in need of finances to ensure we can run a professional campaign. If you can donate, or help in any way, email our National Office.
By Socialist Party reporters