After an impressive campaign in the 2018 Victorian State Election, the Victorian Socialists are running in the same region of Melbourne in the Australian federal election of 18 May 2019.
The election platform (https://www.victoriansocialists.org.au/election_platform) has a generally OK grab bag of demands, essentially left reformist, but including traditional socialist demands for nationalisation, with variations of calls for community, workers' or democratic control.
These include: tax the corporations and the rich; public ownership and investment; defend workers rights to organise; indigenous, asylum seeker, women’s, LGBTI, youth, social, and civil rights; against racism; climate and environmental action; public transport in public hands; education, housing, and free healthcare for all. Workers’ Liberty disagrees with the call to “isolate Israel”, as singling Israel out from the many nation states that commit racist atrocities.
Socialist Alternative have focussed strongly on this campaign, which continues a turn over recent years from their previous abstract propaganda group student orientation, toward a concrete, if essentially reformist, propaganda and organising orientation to working class communities.
Despite being a federal election, the campaign has significant focus on taking up local issues. This reflects a large focus on about building upon the local base in working class communities developed in the state election.
Platform calls for public ownership have been followed through to some degree in response to current events. One example was when a proposed solar thermal plant fell through when the private operator pulled out with financing issues. “Building a renewable energy sector is too important to leave up to the whims of the private market. The Federal government should step in to build this project directly and run it as a publicly owned utility. Hundreds of jobs and the environment are on the line.”
Another current issue that has been a strong campaign focus has been a toxic fire at a waste dump – the fourth in three years the working class north-western suburbs of Melbourne. Victorian Socialists candidates and other spokespeople received significant television coverage through speaking at public meetings and calling a demonstration at the local council meeting. Press releases, speeches, etc. have been geared to trying to relate to working class community issues, and nudge responses a little further towards active working-class organisation and nationalisation.