Stephen Jolly has been a socialist councillor on Yarra City Council since 2004. In the October 22 election he is standing as part of a team of seven socialist activists across all three wards in Yarra.
Yarra is one of the few places in Australia where community activism still thrives. Jolly has helped to save schools and kindergartens, opposed the sell-off of public housing, campaigned to stop the monstrous East West Link and voted for Yarra to become the first local government in Australia to divest from fossil fuels and pledge not to support companies, institutions, or organisations that profit from abusive practices towards people seeking asylum.
Yarra is a municipality of extremes, with three of Melbourne’s largest public housing estates standing alongside multi-million dollar homes along the Yarra River. In between, property developers are making millions by cramming multiple storeys of ‘dog box’ apartments onto tiny plots of land.
Jolly said: “As a socialist I support development and new infrastructure, but it should be planned to improve our community not simply line the pockets of big developers. We need to fight for the inclusion of affordable housing and increased public transport, parking, schools and childcare facilities to accommodate a growing population. We need to ensure low-income workers, students and pensioners still have a place in Yarra.
“Privatising profits while socialising debt only increases inequality. We need a political revolution that rethinks how we can use public resources to construct a more equal society. In Australia the current political debate is dominated by the scapegoating of those most in need.
“I, along with my team, unashamedly stand for the interests of ordinary people against the dominance of big business. We are not politicians who come out of nowhere every four years to ask for your vote. We are activists who fight for our communities all year round.
“Over the years we have won many victories for ordinary people, but these have mostly been defensive battles. What we really want is to implement solutions. Yarra Council has a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars that is mismanaged and property assets that are shamefully underutilised.
“Our team is fighting for more representation on Yarra Council so we can propose and second motions to use council assets for community need. We have the ideas — many that have come from residents — now we need the numbers to put them into action.
Socialist candidates standing for election in Yarra City Council are:
Langridge Ward: Stephen Jolly, Mel Gregson, Nyadan Gai.
Melba Ward: Toby Dite, Steph Putker.
Nicholls Ward: Chris Dite, Bridgid O'Brien.