The Victorian Socialists are rallying to get City of Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly elected to State Parliament in November, the first time the new party has put up a candidate for a state seat.
“We’re confident that by getting Stephen Jolly into the public eye, we can get the socialist voice into the mainstream debate,” said Victorian Socialists’ secretary Corey Oakley.
The Victorian Socialists was formed earlier this year when a number of socialist organisations got together, including the Socialist Alternative, the Socialist Alliance, individual activists, unionists and community organisers.
Of the 11 Victorian Socialists candidates planning to contest November’s state election, the party’s secretary believes Mr Jolly has the strongest chance of success at the polls.
“Stephen doesn’t just vote or move motions on social issues, he organises community meetings and community protests, and that’s going to be our approach,” said Mr Oakley.
On November 24, the Victorian Socialists will be out in force at 172 polling booths in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, planning to contest 11 lower house districts.
Mr Jolly hopes to represent the Northern Metropolitan Region in the Upper House.
“Quite frankly it’s about time something like this happened in Melbourne,” said Mr Jolly, a progressive socialist councillor for the City of Yarra for the past four years.
“One key reason that we’re doing this is pressure from below. So many of the working class voters have been disillusioned by major parties and their conservative policies.”
Melbourne’s north, traditionally a Labor stronghold, has become hotly contested by Greens candidates, particularly in the inner suburbs. Victorian Socialists hope to offer an alternative for progressive left-leaning voters.
“It’s time that the left has stepped up to try and appeal to these voters,” Mr Jolly said.
Political activist Toby Hall believes there’s a huge appetite for left-wing politics in Melbourne’s north.
“Political trust ratings are at an all-time low. The only people who believe in mainstream political parties are members of them. There is a crying need for a national socialist party.”
The Victorian Socialists have cited the public housing debate, re-nationalising public transport and job creation as key issues in the forthcoming election.
“We think public transport should be made free, it should be brought back into the public hands, and there ought to be a massive network expansion,” Mr Jolly said.
“We want to focus on generating industrial jobs, and investing in public housing for our future.”