Socialist Alliance builds left voice at election

Election night party in Perth. Photo: Alex Bainbridge.

The Socialist Alliance ran seven lower house candidates and a Senate team in NSW in the recent federal elections. Through letterboxing, campaign stalls, public forums and polling day, it engaged people who wanted to be involved in activism and politics in a meaningful way.

The Socialist Alliance took the fight to Kevin Rudd’s seat of Griffith in Brisbane. Candidate Liam Flenady said: “With 10 other candidates running in the seat, I received 0.44% of the vote. The highlight was coincidentally being present when Rudd turned up to vote and heckling him loudly about refugee rights from his car all the way to the ballot box and all the way back to his car — destroying his glamorous media opportunity.

“We managed to have a platform at a large number of rallies, in particular at rallies for refugee rights and single parents and we worked alongside the Greens and the Pirate Party.”

In Geelong, Sue Bull stood in the seat of Corio and received 0.76% of the vote. Campaign volunteer Sarah Hathway said: “Throughout the campaign, Geelong branch had more volunteers than we've ever had letter boxing, postering and running stalls. This included newly arrived Tamil comrades who have been ready and willing to help throughout the campaign.

“On election day itself we managed to staff 18 polling booths with 36 volunteers, most of who stayed out all day.”

In Sydney, Peter Boyle stood in the seat of Sydney and Reg Dare and Jim McIlroy ran as a ticket in the Senate.

Campaign coordinator Pip Hinman said: “The campaign involved about 90 members and supporters. We also involved members of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), several of whom helped out during the campaign and staffed a booth for us.

“We wanted to build on the work done during last year’s council campaign — which was a unity ticket with the CPA called Housing Action. Given that the Socialist Alliance had not run in this seat before, we were pleased with our vote of 0.73%, up against eight others in the middle of the pack.

“Boyle received a great reception at the two candidate meetings he addressed — one hosted by the Glebe Society and another by RedWatch.

“Volunteers letterboxed 8000 broadsheets and 10,000 flyers in the more working-class areas of the electorate.
“Our Senate candidates spoke on the platforms of several meetings in Sydney’s west, including one hosted by the Latin American Social Forum.

“Boyle was interviewed by German, Catalan and Nepali newspapers, as well as several inner city local papers. The Australian also interviewed him for a story that tried to smear the Greens, which was published a week before the elections.

“With the support of allies and friends from a range of solidarity movements — including the Refugee Action Coalition and the Malaysian Bersih democracy movement — we managed to combine in this election building the Alliance, and popularising its policies, with our ongoing work in the social movement campaigns.

“While no match for billionaire Clive Palmer, who admitted to spending upwards of $12 million just in the last five weeks, we can say that our modest election campaign contributed to the assembling of forces needed for the fightback we need under an Abbott-led government.”

[Read a full list of the Socialist Alliance’s election results here.]

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