Sue Bolton: Councils should be about more than ‘roads, rates and rubbish’

It is now less than one week until the Moreland City Council election.

Campaigning for Sue Bolton at the early polling centre in the suburb of Fawkner, you can sense the level of community recognition for the socialist councillor. When a group of school kids and their teacher were looking for a public toilet at the playground adjacent to the polling centre, one of them suggested I “get Sue Bolton onto it”.

Campaigners have been reporting a good take-up of Bolton’s material at early polling centres, with some voters making a bee-line for her leaflet.

One of Bolton’s campaigners posted on Facebook: “Prepolling for Sue Bolton: my slogan is ‘she helped [my] family, I’m sure she can help yours’.”

Another of Bolton’s supporters posted photos on Facebook of a commuter at a railway station, carrying one of Bolton’s election signs , with the caption: “I'm guessing this guy is voting for Sue Bolton. I know I will be.”

Another supporter posted to Facebook: “I had a nice time letterboxing for Sue recently. I have my spiel down pat now: ‘Sue Bolton has a good position on cultural diversity; she has a good position on refugees; she has a good position on sustainability; she has a good position on community engagement. She is responsive to residents and she is a genuinely nice person.’ Vote 1 Sue Bolton! If you are in the North East Ward of Moreland, please do.”

The final weeks of Bolton’s campaign have included “meet the candidates events” in Coburg and Fawkner, daily leafleting at train stations, staffing early polling centre rosters, leafleting the local mosque, lunchtime and weekend stalls in suburbs across the North East Ward, attending community cultural events, doorknocking and speaking with campaign supporters.

Janine, a local resident and an active member of Bolton’s campaign team, has mounted Bolton’s election signs on her bike and rides around the North East Ward promoting her campaign.

Three new campaign videos have been produced for Bolton’s campaign, focusing on her achievements on council, on being an activist councillor and why racism is council business. 

Highlights of Bolton’s record on council include the reinstatement of the council’s respite care service (known as Home and Community Care) for families with kids with disabilities, reinstatement of the climate budget, staving off of the sale of the Ballerrt-Mooroop college site, which is a site of great significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, reinstatement of part of the Moreland community bus service, and the founding of the Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel campaign, which, along with other transport groups had a victory in the abolition of the East West Link.

On being an activist on council, Bolton said: “The part I really like is working with residents to help create community campaigns, so that residents get treated seriously by council.

“People get bureaucratically dismissed as not having genuine or realistic concerns. And so people often feel a bit powerless or very disenchanted.

“As an activist councillor I can help people get organised and also I can raise residents’ issues within the council. And this often results in victories, which then help the residents’ campaigns move forward to actually win their demands.”

On why racism is council business, Bolton is clear: “I believe the council needs to do more than just focus on roads, rates and rubbish. It needs to take a stand on important social issues that affect large numbers of our community.

“That means standing up for refugees; it means standing up for Aboriginal people with real initiatives, not tokenism; and it means standing up against racism and Islamophobia.”

Local video journalist, Faraz Karachiwala interviewed Bolton at the early polling centre at Fawkner Leisure Centre on October 12, about her campaign and wished her well.

“Sue is always available for all of the residents of Fawkner ... I live here, and whenever I need her ... she is always there to stand beside me or any other resident ...”

To get involved with Sue Bolton’s campaign, visit her website.

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