Victorian Socialists

Australia has not had a socialist parliamentarian, at the state or federal level, since the 1940s. But this may change at the November 24 Victorian state election, writes Felix Dance.

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.

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.

Victorian Socialists, as trenchant anti-racists, share the disgust and outrage of many at the speech made by Katter’s Australian Party senator Fraser Anning on August 14.

In the context of calling for the reintroduction of White Australia and acceptance of racial discrimination, particularly targeting Muslims, we cannot believe the term “final solution” was used by Anning with any intention but to invoke Goebbels. This was the speech of a fascist. 

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 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!

The November Victorian state election is fast approaching and candidates are being preselected by all of the main parties.

However, it is the formation of the Victorian Socialists, which consists of City of Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly, City of Moreland councillor Sue Bolton and lawyer Colleen Bolger — an unlikely alliance of the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative — to contest the Northern Metropolitan Region in the Victorian Legislative Council that has aroused some serious attention from the left. 

Green Left Weekly’s Alex Bainbridge caught up with Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance councilor in Moreland and Victorian Socialist candidate, to ask her about the Victorian Socialists’ campaign for the Legislative Council’s Northern Metropolitan seat in the state elections in November.

Why are you running on the Victorian Socialists’ ticket?

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