Fourth socialist elected to a local council in Australia

Friday, September 14, 2012
No Nuclear Waste signs by The Battler activist group in Auburn. Photo: battler.org.au

The Communist Party of Australia's (CPA) Tony Oldfield was elected to Auburn Council in the NSW local government elections on September 8. He became the fourth socialist to be elected as a local councillor around the country. The others are Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance, Fremantle Council) and Steve Jolly and Anthony Main (Socialist Party, Yarra City Council, Victoria).

Oldfield was elected as part of a local community activist group called “The Battler”. The group has been campaigning to stop the Coalition state government sending radioactive waste from the north shore suburb of Hunters Hill to a storage facility in Lidcombe.

Tony was one of two CPA members who stood as candidates in the NSW local council elections. The other, Denis Doherty, stood together with Aboriginal independent socialist Ray Jackson and Socialist Alliance members Andrew Chuter, Jay Fletcher and Raul Bassi in the "Housing Action" ticket in the City of Sydney.

Housing Action did not win a position but had a strong impact on the public debate in the lead up to the election. The campaign raised the fact that more than 20% of people living in private housing in Sydney are under housing stress, opposed the privatisation of public housing stock and pointed out that public housing tenants battle great insecurity.

Socialist Alliance also fielded teams in the September 8 election under its own name. In Marrickville’s north ward, it won 3.9% of the vote (391 votes). This is slightly less than its 2008 result where it received 4.6% (468 votes). In Woodville ward, Parramatta, the Socialist Alliance won 2.13% (333 votes). Visit http://www.socialist-alliance.org/sydney/ for more details about those campaigns.

Pip Hinman, the Socialist Alliance's lead candidate in Marrickville, told Green Left Weekly that "a small swing against the Greens in its inner-city stronghold went to the ALP and the Liberals".

The Liberals gained two councillors, one in Marrickville’s north ward and one in the west ward. This is first time Liberals have been elected in Marrickville, although conservative “independents” have been on council for many years.

In the north ward, the Liberals benefited from a preference flow from Sergio Redegalli, a sympathiser of the far-right Australian Protectionist Party.


From GLW issue 938