Victorian Socialists ‘realistic’ about federal election chances

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With the emergence of more progressive parties competing with mainstream ones for seats in the upcoming federal election, the Victorian Socialist Party is an “alternative” to the “one-sided class war” that has impacted Australians’ for ages, the party’s candidates say.

Aiming to shake up the climate of Australian politics, the party held their federal election launch on the 6th of April, with hundreds of members and supporters gathering on the steps of Preston Town Hall.

Established in 2018 after becoming officially registered by the Victorian Electoral Commission, the party first gained attention from the public during Victoria’s state election last year.

During its first campaign, the Victorian Socialist party received 19,000 first preference votes in the state upper house seat of Northern Metropolitan.

Following that achievement, the party is back again for the upcoming Australian federal election and will campaign in northern suburb seats including the inner metropolitan seat of Cooper.

Kath Larkin, the Cooper candidate, believes the major parties’ concerns aren’t the concerns of everyday Australians.

“So much of what is seen in mainstream politics just doesn’t relate to ordinary Australians’ concerns. We’ve got growing inequality in this country, and yet none of the major parties are talking about things that will actually address any of that,” she explains.

When asked about why the party was formed, Larkin emphasised the importance of what having a left- wing socialist party would mean for working class people.

“Mostly, we’ve seen that in a negative with far-right figures such as Pauline Hanson or Frazier Anning who’ve been able to mobilise and give confidence to the right,” she said.

“[The Victorian Socialists] wants to do the opposite to do and get a left-wing person in to build the confidence of working people and community activists.”

With a background in the transport industry through her role as a representative for the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Larkin’s experience with workers vulnerable to insecure working hours was a prominent focus in her speech.

It resonated with many of the community speakers on the night as she pledged her support to working class voters.

Also representing the party were candidates Sue Bolton and Jerome Small, who were in the running to represent the seats of Wills and Calwell respectively.

All three candidates stressed how a lack of acknowledgement from politicians on issues such as the neglect of the working class, the treatment of refugees and environmental mishandling like the Murray-Darling basin had an impact on those in the community.

The recent factory fire in Campbellfield were acknowledged on the night, with Small also slamming the response of politicians to the recycling plant fire last week.

Scrutinising the people involved with the investigations of multiple fires happening over the course of several months, Small described the neglect of factory workers as a representation of “how little capitalism cares for human life”.

The launch also included speeches from a trade union involved with the Chemist Warehouse workers’ strike, representatives of the Tamil Refugee Council, and community members campaigning for recognition of the impact that the toxic fires have had on them.