Jacob Andrewartha

Following its successful November state election campaign, the Victorian Socialists held its inaugural conference on February 16, attended by more than 230 members.

While the final results of Victoria’s November 24 state elections are yet to be announced, Labor looks set to go from 47 to 52 seats in the state’s Legislative Assembly, after receiving a primary vote of 43%.

Proposed amendments to the Criminal Code Act of 1995 will make it impossible for media organisations to accurately report on what governments do behind closed doors, writes Jacob Andrewartha.

The Victorian Socialists launched its policy manifesto on August 24 at the Brunswick Town Hall, attracting about 600 people.

The Manifesto outlines a comprehensive set of policies the Victorian Socialists are taking to the state election on November 24, the key ones being affordable housing for all, an expanded public transport system and the renationalisation of the power and public transport sectors.

Socialist groups and community activists of different stripes have come together under the banner of Victorian Socialists in one of the most ambitious bids in decades to get a socialist elected to state parliament. Green Left Weekly’s Jacob Andrewartha spoke to Stephen Jolly, Victorian Socialists’ lead candidate for the upper house Northern Metropolitan seat, about this initiative.

More than 100 people attended a rally in solidarity with former spy Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery outside the Treasury Buildings in Melbourne on July 25. The rally demanded that the current Attorney General, Christian Porter, cease the prosecution of the two.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas unveiled his election year state budget on May 1, with highlights including increased investment in public transport, health and education, with more than $172 million dollars allocated to make TAFE free for 30 priority courses.

Victoria Police are being used by the state Labor government to threaten and harass protesters who have been organising in support of asylum seekers on Manus Island. Activists described the behaviour of the police at a recent rally as state sanctioned violence.

On November 24, a neo-Nazi grabbed the rally microphone and began screaming into it that refugees were rapists and that they should not be bought to Australia.

In a win for residents, the Markham Housing Estate in Ashburton has been saved from being partially privatised.

Coalition and Greens MPs voted on November 17 to stop the Labor state government from amending the planning laws that would allow the partial privatisation of the estate.

Changes to Victoria’s rental laws have been described by campaign group Make Renting Fair as “a significant step in the right direction”. However, spokesperson Mark O’Brien said more changes are needed because the state still “lacks adequate safeguards against eviction”.

More than 50 community services, local governments and others have been working for nearly a year, under the Make Renting Fair banner, to push the government to change the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).

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