Victorian Socialist platform pushes union rights, corporate tax reform

Kath Larkin chairing the 2018 international women’s day rally. Photo: Liz Walsh.

Kath Larkin chairing the 2018 international women’s day rally. Photo: Liz Walsh.

Kath Larkin says she has been a socialist since she was a teenager and strongly supports her party’s motto of people before profit.

The Victorian Socialists candidate has lived in Cooper for most of her life and currently lives in Preston.

Larkin attended Northcote High, where she started the first LGBT ally group in the school’s history.

The rail worker, is a “rank and file” leader with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union and its first female delegate.

Larkin is a passionate supporter of unions and unionised action and in 2015 played an integral role in organising the first strike in her industry in 18 years.

She is also involved with Unionists for Refugees, and her campaigning for gender equality in wages led her to become the RBTU’s Women’s Officer from 2014 until 2017.

Larkin describes the wage disparity between genders as a capitalist method of “keeping us down”.

“ACTU research has found that women are more likely to be delegates, they’re more likely to be co-delegates and to be actively involved in their unions, despite the fact that officialdom is still dominated by men”, she said.

She compared organised militant union action in the 1970s to today’s industrial struggle, which she describes as being at a “low ebb”.

“Today the majority of work places don’t have an active union presence let alone a union that dictates terms to the boss,” she said.

Larkin says mass militant action is necessary to combat neo-liberalism, while working through legal channels can lead to “class collaboration”.

“The rich get rich by stealing the larger portion of the value we create,” she said.

If elected Larkin would remove anti-union laws and restrictions on the right to strike, seeing these as threats to the working class’s quality of life.

Larkin has vowed to “legislate for an immediate increase of minimum wages from $18.93 to $25”, while increasing all award wages and restoring penalty rates.

“We need secure jobs we can rely on,” she said.

Larkin and her party say that taxation in Australia is unfair and the system disproportionately represents the richest 200 while gouging the working class.

“The corporate tax rate has been cut from 49 percent in the 1980s to 30 percent today,” she said.

“A third of major corporations pay no tax – there should be a wealth tax for the super-rich.”

Larkin and her party then propose to use the liberated tax revenue for public services that have received regular cuts in funding.

“We can use the proceeds to fund public education and health, and make Uni and TAFE free,” she said.

In the same vein, Larkin and the other Victorian Socialist candidates have sworn to only take a public servant’s salary of $87,000 and put the rest back into community campaigns.

“Politicians are out of touch with ordinary people. No wonder, when their salaries start at $207,100 a year,” she said.

Larkin wants real action on climate change, saying it’s an issue threatening her constituent’s standard of living.

“Climate change is already affecting the most vulnerable in our society,” she said.

Larkin supports her party’s policy to reverse privatisation of the power industry in order to phase out coal and gas and have Australia exclusively powered by renewable energy within 10 years, while transitioning industry workers to “guarantee secure jobs for workers from the fossil fuel industry in the renewable energy sector.”