Socialist Senate vote rises

An inner west Sydney polling booth on May 18. Photo: Pip Hinman

The Australian Electoral Commission’s final tally for the NSW Senate vote in the May 18 federal election shows the Socialist Alliance (SA) winning 6058 first preference vote. This is 12.5% higher than its 2016 tally (5385) and more than double its 2013 vote (2728).

This rise occurred despite having run more substantial campaigns and multiple lower house candidates in previous elections.  SA did not run candidates for the House of Representatives in NSW this time.

SA’s Senate vote rose in all but 6 NSW electoral divisions compared with 2016, confirming a general rise in support for socialist candidates.

Though less than half of SA’s 2019 NSW Legislative Council state election vote of 14,194, three factors must be taken into account:

• In the state elections, SA had the second spot on a big ballot paper making it much easier for people to spot the party’s name.

• It ran a much bigger state election campaign with lower house candidates in Parramatta and Newcastle.

• The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) also ran in the federal election, obtaining 2100 votes and taking the combined socialist vote to 8158.

SA received significantly higher votes in areas where it has a longstanding political presence and had won some recognition and respect.

Its highest votes were in the seats of Grayndler (in inner west Sydney), Newcastle, Sydney and Cunningham (Wollongong).

SA also got a higher than average vote in electorates adjacent to Grayndler — Barton (Hurlstone Park), Watson (around Lakemba) and Reid (around Strathfield) — and in Sydney’s west — Chifley (Blacktown), Fowler (Fairfield), Macquarie (Blue Mountains) and Werriwa (Liverpool).

The party generally scored higher in working class suburbs compared with wealthier suburbs and did worse in “the Shire”, in Sydney’s south, where the racist right has a base of support.

SA’s regional and country vote also improved. In Parkes (in the state's far west) and Calare (Mudgee-Dubbo), its Senate vote rose nearly five-fold compared with the 2013 elections.