Steve Jolly, Socialist Party councillor in Yarra council, Melbourne, topped the poll in his ward in last week’s local elections, winning 29.9% of the vote, to the Greens No.1 candidate on 26.0% and to the Labour Party’s (ALP) No.1 candidate on 15.4%. Steve’s vote is a massive increase on his first preference vote when he was first elected, in 2004, on 12%. The result is a huge endorsement for a well-known socialist campaigner and for socialist ideas.
Many supporters and trade unionists financed the campaign and over 100 people helped at the polling booths, door knocked the entire electoral ward and letter-boxed 75,000 leaflets. Supporters also staffed pre-polling booths for four weeks.
Steve’s vote shows that voters moved, in big numbers, from the Greens and ALP to the Socialist Party. The terms ’socialism’ and ’socialist party’ in this area which is historically linked to ‘left’ Australia politics (the area was the heartland of the Victorian ALP and, more recently, the first place the Greens won a seat and then a Mayoralty) are now clearly identified with socialist campaigners, like Steve, who has fought, for example, for public housing tenants against big business developers, for childcare and kindergartens, and for real action on the environment.
The Socialist Party also stood in neighbouring wards. We still do not have the final results for the Melba and Nichols Wards, where we stood Denise Dudley and Anthony Main respectively but preliminary results show that Anthony got about 5 % and Denise got about 2 % of the vote. These results are credible and impressive considering the Socialist Party campaign was aimed primarily at re-winning Steve’s seat and therefore limited in these other wards.
A more detailed report of Steve’s election win and the local election results will be available on socialistworld.net later this week.