The Victorian Socialists released this statement on the Batman byelection on March 18.
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The Labor Party has managed to retain the seat of Batman, by offering a progressive and competent candidate in Ged Kearney, after years of imposing the right-wing powerbroker David Feeney on the electorate, as part of factional deals.
However, Kearney’s presence will do nothing to change the direction of Labor, and its neoliberal policies at state and federal level, which have seen rising inequality; wage-power decline; attacks on unions and industrial rights to organise; privatisation of public assets; inaction on institutional racism; and inadequate response to climate change and environmental destruction.
The Victorian Socialists team will be running for the Northern Metro upper house seat in November’s state election on a program to really tackle inequality, the housing crisis, second-rate services in education, health, and transport, and the destruction of the state’s natural heritage.
Yarra City councillor and Victorian Socialists lead candidate Steve Jolly said: “Labor in Victoria has abandoned the fight against inequality and for real change. It looks to the interests of marginal southern Melbourne electorates and ignores the needs of the north. Only a socialist representative will really fight for the interests of people in Northern Metro.
“The Greens, while taking up important social issues, are increasingly the party of the well-heeled. They’re looking to the interests of investors and high-income super recipients, and celebrating the ‘gig economy’ which destroys stable full-time, unionised, work.”
Victorian Socialists want:
- A state-wide program for genuine affordable housing, with mandatory developer provision of low-income affordable apartments, an end to ‘land banking’ and 50,000 new public housing places to be built across Melbourne;
- A revolution in services, with the provision of full-service schools at a neighbourhood level, a ban on ‘voluntary’ charges on state-school parents, the expansion of the Northern Hospital, free public transport and 10 minute trains on all lines;
- State-developed hi-tech industry in outer and northern Melbourne, including recycling plants and renewable energy production, integrated with a renewed apprenticeship programme and TAFE network.
- A super-profits community tax on large property developers, road builders and private infrastructure developers, to contribute to building a Victoria for everyone
- The creation of the Great Forest National Park, an end to old-growth logging without job losses, and the rapid transition of the Latrobe Valley from fossil-fuel to renewable energy production.
“This is a rich state,” Moreland City councillor and Victorian Socialists candidate Sue Bolton said. “Yet most people are missing out on the benefits. That’s especially so in Melbourne’s north, where out-of-control housing prices and poor services are putting people second. Melbourne’s north needs socialists in parliament to fight for equality, workers’ and citizens’ rights and against racism and attacks on multicultural communities.”