|Slogans:||For real change Vote Socialist|
|Themes:||…for real change vote Socialist|
|Electorates:||Upper House: Eastern Victoria Region, North-Eastern Metropolitan Region, Northern Metropolitan Region, South-Eastern Metropolitan Region, Southern Metropolitan Region, Western Metropolitan Region, Western Victoria Region
Lower House: Broadmeadows, Brunswick, Essendon, Footscray, Greenvale, Kalkallo, Kororoit, Laverton, Melbourne, Niddrie, Northcote, Pascoe Vale, Point Cook, Preston, Richmond, St Albans, Sunbury, Sydenham, Tarneit, Thomastown, Werribee, Williamstown
|Preferences:||Like pretty much everyone else, the Vic Socialists are mixing it up from region to region. But their top four preferences always go to some combination of Animal Justice, Legalise Cannibis, Reason and the Greens, inevitably followed by the ALP and Transport Matters in that order. The rest of their ticket is fairly unsurprising, although the DLP ranks higher than you might expect, and CAP is always near the bottom, although ahead of UAP, One Nation and Freedom.|
|Previous Reviews:||2022 — 2019 — 2018 (VIC)|
Policies & Commentary
The federal election being only six months ago, there’s been little change in the policies that the Victorian Socialists (hereafter VS) had then. With that in mind, I’m not going to examine them in great depth here, but I will highlight a few of the more specifically Victorian policies.
First of all, there’s a lot of existing laws, including several introduced by the Andrews government, that VS want to repeal or reverse, including:
- all legal restrictions on the right to protest and introduce greater protections for the right to protest
- Labor’s lifting of the ban on new gas projects
- the privatisation of public transport by putting Victoria’s train, bus and rail system back into public hands, without compensation
- the privatisation of VicRoads
- the privatisation of Melbourne Airport
- the Victorian Labor government’s below-inflation pay cap for public sector workers
- all laws that discriminate against LGBTIQ+ people
- Remove all current exemptions that allow institutions to discriminate against LGBTIQ+ people on religious grounds
- restrictions on research into therapeutic uses of psychoactive substances including MDMA, ketamine and psychedelics
- public drunkenness laws
- the privatisation of Victoria’s prisons
- all ideological criteria for accessing public funding: the state has no place in determining the content of art and culture
I must admit, that last one impresses me: not many ideologies are willing to cede that kind of ground.
They have ambitious ideas on climate change, wanting to phase out the use of coal and gas for electricity generation and make 100 percent of all new car sales electric vehicles, both by 2030, along with installing 1,500 electric vehicle charging stations across Victoria by 2028 among other things.
On Education, they want to see an end to so-called “voluntary contributions” from parents, and to make the state government fund all schooling costs – including excursions, buildings, maintenance, devices and uniforms. After seeing party after party simply plan to throw money (and bodies) at staff shortages in this area, it is refreshing to see how nuanced VS’ approach is:
- New staff to be allocated across the sector on a needs basis.
- Student support staff should include administrators, counsellors, educational psychologists, nurses, doctors, lawyers, disability workers, youth workers and social workers. In particular, schools need to be provided with the necessary staff and facilities to properly cater for the special needs of students with disabilities.
- Existing school staff should decide on the balance between new teachers and support staff, based on their evaluation of the relative importance in their school of measures like reducing class sizes, reducing face-to-face teaching time, reducing teachers’ administrative loads, and increasing resources to deal with welfare and behavioural issues.
Again, with energy, they’ve thought more about what things should look like beyond the headline (and in more detail than the ALP seem to have):
- Has a charter mandating that it acts to secure the long-term energy security of the state.
- That it oversees the transition away from fossil fuels in energy production.
- Returns quarterly revenues above operating costs to a government energy infrastructure fund to finance the expansion of a 100 percent renewable energy grid.
- Progressively reduces household energy bills as the power generation and transmission capacity of the grid expands.
Look, I’ve barely scratched the surface here, and there’s still lots of ground to cover. And frankly, we’re running out of time here. I encourage you to look at the wider policy information on the party site, which has a large number of areas of concern. I don’t agree with them on every count, but it’s obvious that thought has gone into each and every one: each page starts with a declaration of guiding principles, then expands on what that means in concrete terms. And yes, they’ve thought about how to pay for it all.
All in all, I’m quite impressed by what I’ve read, and I wish I had more time to devote to it. The Victorian Socialists will be near the very top of my preferences.