Andrew Chuter, a casual tutor in several university mathematics departments, will run for the seat of Sydney for the Socialist Alliance.
Chuter, a keen cyclist, and for whom public and active transport is a passion, is well-known in action groups in the inner city. He is the current president of Friends of Erskineville, which has successfully campaigned for improvements in active transport.
Chuter helped lead the fight against the publicly-funded private toll road as a co-convenor of No WestConnex. He also helped initiate the campaign group Fix NSW Transport, which reached out to community groups in the north, west and south of Sydney and unions to make the case for expanded public transport instead of motorways.
Asked to comment on the February 21 rail worker lock-out, Chuter told Green Left the NSW and federal governments had tried to create an “artificial” crisis. “It’s bizarre to hear transport minister David Elliott accuse the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RBTU) of engaging in ‘terrorist-like activity’ when the state government ordered the trains not to run.”
The NSW government has since withdrawn its case, hinging on alleged safety issues, against the RTBU in the Fair Work Commission.
If NSW premier Dominic Perrottet and Prime Minister Scott Morrison want to “stir up an industrial confrontation” in the lead-up to the federal election, Chuter said, “they look very flat-footed”. There is enormous public sympathy for the rail workers, teachers and nurses, he said, because they have worked through the pandemic keeping society functioning.
Chuter said the RTBU had been active in pushing for more publicly funded rail lines and in its latest dispute with the government is pushing for job guarantees to be built into the private Sydney Metro line.
Chuter said the Socialist Alliance supported the RTBU campaign for a pay rise and job security. “Essential public sector workers have carried a large share of the burden of the COVID-19 crisis over the past two years.” He said the Socialist Alliance would continue to campaign for public transport to stay in public hands.
Chuter is a proud union activist. He was a NSW State Councillor and union delegate in the National Tertiary Education Union and helped lead the first ever strike of teachers at UNSW Global.
[Click here to see the Socialist Alliance’s federal platform.]