"The surge in the vote for socialist candidates in the weekend Victorian local government elections shows that increasing numbers of working people are looking for candidates whom they trust to defend their interests as economic crisis looms", Socialist Alliance Victorian State Convener Sue Bolton said on December 2.
Noting that the socialist vote had grown most in Labor heartlands Bolton said that it largely came from working people who were fed up with being taken for granted by the ALP, but didn´t trust the Greens to take a forthright, pro-worker stance.
"The vote is also an expression of trust in socialists who are active fighters for people's rights, and known as organisers against developer and Brumby government plans to close or privatise essential services and as bulldoze the urban environment."
Bolton congratulated Socialist Party Yarra City Councillor Steve Jolly on his re-election with 29.2% of the formal vote. "Steve Jolly's vote is testimony to all the work he has done in defence of the community and the workers of Yarra City Council", she said.
The Socialist Alliance spokesperson said that the socialist vote also showed that the Brumby government would have a very hard time driving ahead with the cross-city tunnel and the freeway extensions envisaged in the Eddington plan. "Votes like the 18.9% for the Socialist Alliance's Stuart Martin in Maribyrnong City Council indicate that a lot of the community is dead against the Victorian ALP model of urban vandalism."
The Socialist Alliance campaign also struck a strong response in Geelong, where candidates Bronwyn Jennings and Lisa Gleeson won 10.8% and 11.8% of the vote on a platform of "making Geelong a climate action council", with a strong emphasis on improving public transport and housing and residents' democratic participation in council decision-making.
Bolton added that the increase in the socialist vote was part of a wider progressive swing in politics, as the increased vote for the Greens confirmed.
"People are increasingly voting against mainstream Liberal-Labor politics. The Socialist Alliance will build on these results to strengthen real worker and community resistance to the economic crisis, destruction of services and degradation of the environment. We look forward to collaborating with all other political forces that support those goals."
For more information visit http://www.socialist-alliance.org.
The Socialist Vote in the November 29 Victorian Local Government Elections
% of formal vote
Sue Bolton, Vannessa Hearman, Turan Ertekin
For more information or interviews: Sue Bolton on 0413 377 978