Continuing in the spirit of Cate Speaks

Victorian Socialists

Summary

Website: www.victoriansocialists.org.au
Social Media: Facebook
Previous Names: none
Slogans: People before Profits
Themes:
Electorates: Upper House: Victoria
Lower House: Calwell, Cooper, Fraser, Gellibrand, Gorton, Hawke, Lalor, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Scullin & Wills
Preferences: In a show of Socialist communality, the number two spot in the VS preferences goes to Socialist Alliance, with the Greens, the Australian Progressives and the Animal Justice Party following in that order. Bringing up the rear is the ALP. No great mysteries here – 2-5 are all left-leaning parties who are broadly in agreement with VS, while the ALP is party able to form a government that they least dislike.
Previous Reviews: 20192018 (VIC)

Policies & Commentary

Look, they’re a socialist party, the third such that we’ve looked at here this election cycle, and they fundamentally want the same things as the other socialists, with some variations in the details. If you’re familiar with the basics of socialist thought, you probably already know where you stand on this party. And if you’ve read much of this site, you already have a pretty good of where we stand on parties like this. So I tell you now: very little of what’s in the following paragraphs will be any sort of surprise to you.

Still here?

Okay. VS have a very strong and detailed policy regarding covid (and by extension, the future pandemics we keep being told are inevitable). They want a return to elimination strategies, with free vaccines and tests provided to all Australians who need them. They also want to abolish vaccine patents, so that other countries won’t have to research or buy their own but can use our findings to create their own vaccines. They also want to see increased salaries for health workers, increased funding for the health sector and a complete overhaul of the aged care system. Only the abolition of vaccine patents is controversial there, but it’s both morally right and also a way Australia could rebuild its standing with other nations (because right now, we’re slightly more popular than covid). They also want A right to reduced hours with no loss of pay for parents who have to assist with home schooling or have childcare responsibilities during lockdowns – a policy which, my friends with children assure me, would have been an awesome thing to have two years ago.

Their environment policy is similarly extensive, and not even slightly surprising. There’s an end to coal mining, a ban on uranium mining and nuclear power, support for renewables and public transport, 100 percent of electricity from renewables by 2030 and A zero emissions economy by 2035.

They also want Public ownership of essential services, including banks, utilities, transport, the NBN, and coal mines (the last for the purpose of getting rid of them). They also An end to Public Private Partnerships in infrastructure projects and the establishment of a public infrastructure commission to directly carry out the transformation of our economy.

As good socialists they want to Tax the corporations and the rich, and they have a very detailed program for how they want to do it:

  • Reversing tax cuts to wealthy – reinstating a progresive taxation system
  • A one off 50% wealth tax on personal assets over $10 million
  • A one off 80% wealth tax on personal assets over $40 million
  • A one off 99% wealth tax on all personal assets over $100 million
  • A rise in company tax to 50%
  • A 90% tax on all personal income over $300,000 pa.
  • Stringent laws that impose jail time for those who try to hide wealth offshore.
  • A climate tax for big polluters
  • An end to the billions in public subsidies to mining corporations, banks and energy companies
  • Criminal sanction for rampant tax evasion by multinationals
  • An end to negative gearing
  • Abolition of the GST, a regressive tax that hits lower income earners hardest

The flipside of this coin is, naturally, their support for workers and unions, and they’d like to reverse a lot of the last few decades’ laws restricting union activities. Again, this is an entirely predictable and unsurprising position for a socialist party to take. Allied to this, they have strong positions on social justice, including such things an end to the Howard era “Northern Territory National Emergency Response”, completely scrapping the Indue card and the work for the dole program while also increasing Centrelink payments. There’s also a lot of support for indigenous issues, although unusually, there is no mention of the Uluru Statement from the Heart or the First Nations Voice in Parliament (which nearly every other left-leaning party does explicitly support). Similarly, there is a lot of support for asylum seekers, including an end to offshore processing and the abolition of Border Force. In more general social justice, they want to reform and defund the police, to abolish ASIO entirely, adopt a Bill of Rights (sadly without any further details – I’d really love to compare and contrast the Bill of Rights ideas of all the parties proposing them, but that’s an idea for after the election, if at all), and you can add prisons to the list of things they want to see publicly owned.

On the matters of International policy, militarism and solidarity, they’d like Australia to leave the ANZUS treaty, official recognition of Palestine and support for independence for West Papua. They also want to Disband the war-criminal SAS, which, maybe let’s wait until the trial is over? They also want to reduce defence spending and End Australia’s aggressive, militaristic international posturing.

The Victorian Socialists care about and want to see additional support for the aged, the young, women, inhabitants of the QUILTBAG, sex workers, the unemployed and drug users. They also support both Education for all and Housing for all.

I’ve ruthlessly summarised here, and talked mostly about the less predictable elements of their platform. As I said above, I’m assuming that you already have a pretty good idea of what socialists want, and all in all, I have to say I agree with them on nearly every point (I’m not a fan of racing ahead of the court verdict in cases that are still ongoing). I have some doubts about the practicality of some of these measures, and there are some measures I’d like to see more detail on. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think their hearts were in the right place, and that I intend to put them quite high up in my preferences.


Just a reminder that Maz and I lack the necessary Eurovision knowledge to choose the songs that Catherine liked to include, but we’d love to see what you suggest in the comments below 🙂

7 Comments

  1. DS

    My main concern re ending coal mining is that the coal in Newcastle (NSW) is very good quality, and we need it for things like Puffing Billy. Victorian coal is useless in the small fireboxes, not enough stored energy per weight unit.

    I think we’re extracting around 200 million tonnes annually from the Newcastle region at present, and we probably need something like 5,000 tonnes per year for the entire country’s heritage rail sector? (‘Puff uses less than 2,000 tonnes per year, other railways don’t run daily.) So about 0.0025%.

    • Loki

      Assuming that we stop exporting as well, I’d have to guess that there’s a decent-sized stockpile that could last a few years. But you raise an excellent point, and I wonder if VS have thought about that.

      • DS

        Pretty sure nobody’s thought about it, particularly given the economic aspects. I enjoy asking Greens candidates that question, they never have an answer.

  2. Lisa Presley

    Someone mentioned to me that the Vic Socialists are SWERF-y, but did not supply supporting documentation. I don’t suppose you’ve seen any hints of that in your research?

    • Loki

      Well, their platform includes, and I quote:
      Full decriminalisation of sex work, and recognision of sex workers’ right to organise collectively for their pay and conditions

      I would guess it’s one of the other socialist groups that are the SWERFs, but no idea which one.

      • bjeanes

        Almost certainly it would be the Socialist Equality Party.

    • Alison

      The main thing that resulted in me seeing people call them SWERFs was Marxism 2022 (run by Socialist Alternative, the main tendency within VicSoc) hosting an event called “why the normalisation of the sex industry should be opposed”. (https://www.marxismconference.org/program/sunday/love-and-money-the-relationship-between-capitalism-and-sex) I’m not sure if there’s anything else, but I think it would be a stretch to say that Victorian Socialists or Socialist Alternative are anti sex-work based on this alone.

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