Matt Hrkac

More than 70 people packed Geelong Trades Hall (GTH) on September 13 to launch the Victorian Socialists campaign for the Western Victoria Region Legislative Council electorate.

Former Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) secretary Tim Gooden has been preselected as the Victorian Socialists lead candidate for the Western Victoria Region Legislative Council electorate in the November state election.

There was once a time when racist, divisive and discriminatory commentary would be condemned by many viewers and readers of the establishment media. Not any more.

Hundreds of union members and supporters made the trek to the ExxonMobil (ESSO)/UGL Longford Gasworks on June 28 to mark the first anniversary of an ongoing industrial dispute.

Unionists from across the state attended. There were contingents from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Electrical Trades Union and the Australian Workers Union — the three main unions in the dispute.

The Victorian Socialists’ campaign to get Stephen Jolly elected to the Victorian Legislative Council ramped up on June 17, as nearly 100 people blitzed the Richmond electoral district in the party’s first major doorknock of its campaign.

Activists, including candidates Jolly, Socialist Alliance’s Sue Bolton and Socialist Alternative’s Colleen Bolger, braved the rain, wind and frigid temperatures to knock on more than 2000 doors. The response received was mostly warm and positive.

A contingent of Victorian Socialist members at a union rally

Clearing its first major hurdle in emphatic fashion, the Victorian Socialists gained registration as a political party in Victoria for the November 28 state election.

For a party to be registered in Victoria, a minimum of 500 people must confirm with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) that they are members of that party.

In an email sent out to party supporters, Victorian Socialists secretary Corey Oakley thanked the members who returned their letters to the VEC confirming their membership. The VEC confirmed the party’s successful registration on June 6.

The Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) held its state conference over the weekend of May 26 and 27.

The conference was held amid rising tensions within the Victorian ALP; with several prominent unions including the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime and Energy Union (CFMMEU) splitting from the Socialist Left to form the new “Centre Unity and Industrial Left Alliance” faction with a number of right-wing unions including the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

The formation of Victorian Socialists is continuing to generate excitement among progressives in Victoria, with about 600 people attending the election campaign launch in Collingwood on May 12.

Organisers anticipated about 300 people would attend, but the venue was soon filled to capacity and about 200 people were relocated to the building’s basement. The three candidates and other speakers had to give their speeches twice!

More than 50 people attended the annual May Day Dinner held in Geelong on May 5. Speakers at the dinner included Maritime Union of Australia women’s liaison officer Mich-Elle Myers and Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association secretary Craig McGregor. Former Secretary of Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) Tim Gooden also gave a toast to Green Left Weekly.

Green Left Weekly asked Myers and McGregor, as well as current GTHC secretary Colin Vernon, why it is important to celebrate May Day.

In the biggest union mobilisation in Australia in more than a decade, up to 120,000 unionists and supporters descended on the streets of Melbourne on May 9.

The protest was organised as part of the Change the Rules campaign. The rally followed a mass delegates meeting in April and was the conclusion of nearly a fortnight of union actions across the country to launch the campaign.

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