Longstanding Socialist Alliance member Sue Bull launched the party’s bid for the lower house districts of Geelong and Lara on October 15, saying that the campaign “provides a great opportunity to put forward pro-working class politics where people really need an alternative”.
Angela Carr, running in Geelong, reflected on her own experience of growing up amid disadvantage.
She said the message we need to get across in our campaign is that the cost of living and housing affordability crises is “a crisis of capitalism”.
“It has never been harder for working class people. More of the same is not going to improve our lives.
“People are living on the margins and families are struggling to meet the basics, such as rent, bills, food and medicines. Food insecurity is reaching alarming rates.”
Carr said the solutions were “pretty simple”. “If we had access to free education, healthcare and a range of publicly-owned services, people would have more money to survive.”
Socialist Alliance is campaigning for 100,000 new public houses to be built, an immediate rent freeze and rent caps.
Sarah Hathway, who is running in the northern suburbs, spoke from first-hand experience of working for a health union. She said the Department of Health did not seem to understand the challenges faced by the therapy, diagnostics, nursing and medical professions across acute and community-based settings.
She said the government’s recent declaration that the pandemic was “over” and its decision to remove mandatory isolation for most of the community after testing positive to COVID-19 “demonstrates the [Daniel] Andrews government is continuing to throw healthcare workers under the bus.
“The 2% public sector wages cap is a slap in the face to health professionals, who are expected to take a pay cut.”
Hathway said the public health system, including mental health care, could be rebuilt by taking back into public ownership all the services that have been privatised and reversing the years of funding cuts.
“The public health system needs to stop relying on the thousands of hours of unpaid labour provided by health students,” Hathway added.