Sue Bolton

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.

Nearly 100 workers at Note Printing Australia (NPA) in Craigieburn, which is owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), were locked out by their employer on August 10.

The workers have been campaigning for a wage rise of 3.5%. Their demand is in line with the appeal made by RBA Governor Philip Lowe to federal parliament in February, when he said that a generalised wage rise of 3.5% would help stimulate economic activity.

Residents of the Gronn Place public housing estate in West Brunswick vowed to resist eviction at a community forum on July 15.

Gronn Place residents’ spokesperson Neville, who has lived there for 30 years, said, “We will not let them tear down our homes,” adding that he would chain himself inside his home. “I'm not going anywhere. They’ll have to drag me out.”

About 80 residents and supporters attended the lively community forum, the first since residents received letters that they would be evicted.

The seeds of the current crisis of confidence in the capitalist parties in Australia go back to the 1980s when the Bob Hawke Labor government implemented its version of Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberal economic policies. The Hawke government also managed to achieve what previous Coalition governments had failed to do — seriously weaken the union movement.

While these reforms did not immediately create right-wing populism, once the reforms started to really bite by the late 1990s, it began to develop around Pauline Hanson.

The government has not made a mistake with the Centrelink robo-debt notices. It knows it is sending out incorrect notices.

Centrelink staff warned management the notices would be wrong and the new debt recovery system would incorrectly claim overpayments.

Community activists, residents and supporters came together to launch Sue Bolton's campaign for re-election to the City of Moreland Council in Melbourne's northern suburbs on September 10.

Bolton, a member of Socialist Alliance, received some heart-warming endorsements and pledges of support from a number of community members.

Socialist councillor Sue Bolton convinced Moreland Council on July 13 to reinstate the after-hours Aged and Disability Home Support Services for existing clients as well as new ones.

Bolton said she was enormously grateful to the parents of children with disabilities who spoke up on behalf of all the parents who were unable to come to the meeting or who didn’t think it was possible to fight the cut.

“Those parents put a human face on the implications of a very bureaucratic cut: their stories had an impact on the other councillors”, Bolton told Green Left Weekly.

The “Say NO to Racism in Moreland” rally on May 28 was originally conceived early this year and organising for it started back in February.

We wanted to offer residents and communities an opportunity to take a public stand on the racist policies of the major parties: their Islamophobia, xenophobia and fear mongering. We also wanted to stand in solidarity with First Nations peoples, who are on the receiving end of institutionalised racism.

Disengagement from mainstream politics is so widespread that when the marginalised and poor start getting engaged the establishment, and its media, hits back.

This explains the corporate media's sexist-tinged blitzkrieg against Sue Bolton and Roz Ward, both Melbourne-based activists. Both women have come to prominence recently for their determination to stand up for the most marginalised and dispossessed sectors of society and involve others in the process.

Campaigners hoping to save the Ballerrt Mooroop former Aboriginal school site in Glenroy were in shock after Victorian Labor education minister James Merlino sent them a letter on November 23 announcing that the site would be sold.

Ballerrt Mooroop Working Group chairperson Dorothy Bamblett challenged the government's decision. “It is still possible to save the site,” she said. “The fight isn't over. We have to rally around to stop the government selling off the site. If we lose the site, it will be gone forever. We have to act now.”

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