Federal Election Platform


INTRODUCTION

There have been over 10 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide since the pandemic began. In the richest countries in the world, deaths and hospitalisations are again trending upwards despite high levels of vaccination. 

Millions more in low-income countries are dying, in part because they are denied access to vaccines that have been patented by pharmaceutical corporations. This global crisis is far from over.

Lockdowns, border closures, and boosts to welfare shielded Australia from the worst of the pandemic in 2020. But we are now facing a turning point, with big business and right-wing politicians pushing relentlessly to end health restrictions before any children are vaccinated and while COVID is circulating widely in the community. 

The socialist left in Australia will fight to put health before profits. We will fight for measures that will save lives and financially support working class people through the pandemic.

The pandemic has shown us that decisive and unprecedented government action to confront an emergency situation is possible and can work.

The pandemic has also demonstrated that we aren’t all equal in an emergency. Over the past year the billionaire class has massively enriched itself, while front line workers, working class families, the vulnerable and the young, have been left behind.

The climate crisis is also an emergency that threatens every one of us. We need to stop dithering and radically transform our economy and society to meet this existential threat. That means throwing “incentive schemes” for business and other half measures out the window. We need direct government action to take over key sections of the economy and reorganise them so we can stop catastrophic climate change and protect the lives and livelihoods of us all.

COVID and the climate emergency are unfolding against the backdrop of the other great crisis of contemporary society - out of control economic inequality which sees the gap between the ultra-rich and the majority greater than at any time in history.

According to a 2020 UNSW study, the total wealth of the top 20% of Australians is 90 times that of the bottom 20%. The average wealth of a person in the top 20% is $3,255,000. For the bottom 20% it’s $36,000.

That’s bad enough. But it’s the wealth of the ultra-rich that is the real obscenity. The wealth of Australian billionaires increased by 56% between January 2020 and January 2021. The 10 richest billionaires increased their wealth by over $68 billion. If that number - just the increase in wealth of the 10 wealthiest people in Australia over the last year - was distributed among the whole population, every person in Australia would get 

Victorian Socialists stand for a transformation of our society so that it looks after everyone. That means taking the money and the power out of the hands of the super rich and using it to build a society that works for all of us.

We need to fight to end economic inequality once and for all. And we also need to fight for the rights of all those done over and left out by the status quo. 

That’s why Victorian Socialists are unequivocal in defending the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, of refugees who come here seeking our help, of victimised migrant and religious communities, of LGBTI people, women, the unemployed, people with a disability and different abilities, and young people.

Our policies are about taking on the political and economic elite and fighting to unite the rest of us in the struggle for a different society - a socialist society defined by genuine democratic control of the economy, equality, and social justice - where we can organise together to save our planet and reclaim our future.

PANDEMIC RESPONSE

Public Health Over Profits

We need urgent action now to secure the health and economic security of people living in Australia, eliminate COVID from the community, and put Australia at the forefront of a global effort towards elimination of the virus everywhere around the world.

Victorian Socialists will fight for

Health measures

  • A COVID elimination policy that rejects constant demands by right wing politicians and self interested businesses who want to “open up” and “learn to live with COVID”, putting public health at risk in the interests of corporate profits.
  • Rejection of the current “National Plan” to end most health restrictions when vaccination rates hit 70% and 80% of the 16+ population. This cannot be supported while children remain unvaccinated and the virus circulates widely in multiple states.
  • Full government funding for emergency construction and opening of publicly run medical quarantine facilities in every state to replace the disastrous hotel quarantine system.
  • Emergency action to roll out currently available vaccines to all people in Australia.
  • Establishing publicly owned and locally-run vaccination production facilities.
  • A public vaccine development program that as quickly as possible develops a publicly controlled Australian vaccine that we produce for Australia and for the world, with an open access patent that we make available to any country that wants it.
  • The abolition of vaccine patents. The Australian government must stop protecting corporate profits of pharmaceutical giants by opposing vaccine waivers in international forums or supporting delays in technology transfer.
  • Australia must stop buying vaccines from COVAX, vaccines meant for low-income countries.Research into long-covid and the establishment of clinics that focus on treating people suffering from covid related disabilities.
  • Tougher workplace health and safety regulations to combat the virus, i.e.  improved ventilation to workplaces, provision of PPE, rostering to limit whole of staff interaction. Workers control over OHS processes.
  • The establishment of separate dedicated COVID hospitals to best support patients with COVID and protect vulnerable COVID-negative patients

Economic support

  • A “pandemic pay” system that ensures workers do not suffer economic hardship during lockdowns. This should be a government subsidy of 100% of normal wages to any workers who cannot work because of lockdown restrictions, or because they need to take time off to test or isolate.
  • Reinstitute and make permanent the Job Seeker payment for all unemployed workers at a minimum rate of $1,500 per fortnight (the JobKeeper rate), with future increases tied to wage growth.
  • Permanent reinstatement of free childcare for all families.
  • 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 universally accessible public aged care system to end the domination of for-profit providers who have failed to safeguard the health and human rights of aged-care residents and workers during and before the pandemic. All forms of healthcare - including aged care - should be universal, fully government owned, and free.
  • Massive expansion of the public health system  

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CLIMATE ACTION

End corporate control of our climate future

Australia is among the world’s worst climate and environmental criminals. Neither the Coalition nor Labor will take the action required to change this. The major parties, in fact, are part of the problem. 

Promises of “net zero emissions by 2050” are a recipe for disaster. They are designed to give the impression of action while allowing the environmentally destructive reliance on fossil fuels to continue indefinitely. We need to take action based on what is necessary to avert climate catastrophe, not just what is palatable to the corporate lobbyists that have constrained real climate action for the last 3 decades.

Victorian Socialists will fight for:

  • 100 percent of electricity from renewables by 2030
  • A zero emissions economy by 2035
  • Bringing the energy sector under public ownership and democratic control
  • An immediate ban on new coal mines and a ban on coal fired power by 2030
  • An end to fracking and all unconventional gas extraction
  • A ban on new gas projects 
  • A guarantee of alternative secure jobs and retraining for workers from the fossil fuel industry
  • Increased investment in public transport
  • Justice for those displaced by climate change
  • A ban on logging of old-growth forests and an urgent program of reforestation, sustainable farming and biodiversity protection
  • An end to uranium mining and stopping any attempt to build an Australian nuclear industry
  • Investment in publicly owned recycling and green tech facilities to reduce waste going to landfill. Take the private market out of the waste industry.
  • An end to the profiteering of water trading and crackdown on the stealing of water by agribusiness
  • New regulation for urban planning and design to ensure environmental efficiency and sustainability

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PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES

To solve the three key crises facing modern capitalism - inequality, the pandemic, and the climate emergency - we need to take economic and political power out of the hands of private corporations and their political lackeys. 

We have to reverse privatisation and bring the key sectors of the economy under social control to reorganise the economy in the interest of people and the planet rather than profits.

Victorian Socialists will fight for:

  • Putting transportation (airlines, public buses, trains and trams), freight and delivery back in public hands. 
  • Making public transport publicly owned, safe, and free
  • Reversal of privatisation of communications infrastructure and service delivery.
  • Renationalisation of Telstra 
  • Replacing NBN with an integrated, publicly owned and run broadband network that provides free high speed internet to every residential property. In contemporary society, high-speed internet access is necessary for full participation in society and so should be guaranteed as a right for everyone.
  • A public takeover of the dysfunctional, price gouging and polluting energy industry.
  • Immediately putting coal mines in public hands to manage their decommission, and establish a new publicly controlled renewable energy system, managed by the states in a national regulatory framework geared to providing cheap, reliable renewable power and generating tens of thousands of well paid public sector jobs.
  • 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.
  • Nationalisation of the big banks, and an end to rampant financial speculation in real estate, and utilisation of the enormous funds of the finance sector to invest in green jobs and infrastructure.

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TAX CORPORATIONS AND THE RICH

Our society has the wealth to pay for the transformative policies we need. The problem is that wealth is currently hoarded by a tiny minority at the top.  Labor has now signed on to the Liberals plans to slash tax rates for the richest in our society. We need to be doing the complete opposite. Victorian Socialists stand for a radical overhaul of our taxation system to take that wealth from a tiny few and put it to work building a fairer, sustainable society.

Victorian Socialists will fight for:

  • 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

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WORKERS’ RIGHTS

Strong Unions and Living Wages

Workers create the vast wealth of society. But our wages are stagnating while inequality is soaring. We need governments to stop deregulation and casualisation, and instead legislate for improved wages and conditions for workers. Even more important, workers need to act collectively – to organise and strike against exploitation and injustice in the workplace.

 Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Give workers the right to strike at any time
  • Lift the ban on solidarity strikes
  • Restore industry-wide bargaining
  • Reform “right of entry” laws to remove restrictions on union access to worksites
  • Legally enshrine the right to picket
  • Scrap all anti-union laws 
  • Increase the minimum wage to $30 per hour (currently $20.33)
  • Restore penalty rates
  • Recognise the right to secure work for all – reverse casualisation
  • Ensure full industrial, residency and citizenship rights for all migrant and guest workers
  • Expand apprenticeship programs
  • Introduce a 4 day work week with no reduction in weekly income – to reduce unemployment, and ensure the benefits of automation flow to all. 
  • Guarantee the right to  retirement and access to the pension for all at age 60.

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SOCIAL JUSTICE

The power of the ultra rich shapes the society we live in, which divides and oppresses people along class, racial and gender lines. Minorities face police harassment and violence, are thrown into the brutal prison system, deprived of welfare or decent wages and face regular assaults on basic rights.

Victorian Socialists social justice policies are about standing up against every form of discrimination, and fighting for justice and full rights for all. 

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER RIGHTS

Sovereignty and Justice For Indigenous Peoples

233 years after invasion, institutionalised and systemic racism remains central to Australian capitalism, ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remain the most socioeconomically disadvantaged, most policed and most incarcerated group in the country. Victorian Socialists' upholds the principle of Aboriginal self-determination beyond tokenistic Constitutional recognition.

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Facilitate a rapid and targeted expansion of public housing development to address chronic housing shortages and overcrowding within indigenous communities.
  • Defund the police. Replace police and prison funding with community development, education and infrastructure programmes determined by indigenous communities
  • Repeal the “Stronger Futures”/NT Intervention laws
  • Implement all the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
  • Shut down youth prisons and end the lifelong harm created by youth incarceration
  • End incarceration for unpaid fines and support changes to bail laws that reduce the skyrocketing rate of Aboriginal men and women placed in remand;
  • Replace punitive welfare measures with unconditional and drastically higher income support. Abolish racist welfare quarantining, cashless debit card schemes and compulsory income management
  • Pursue Treaties with the First Nations people to bring justice, sovereignty and land rights, and in doing so end the privileging of mining interests over indigenous self-determination 
  • End the closure of Aboriginal communities and destruction of sacred sites that are being sacrificed to make way for environmentally destructive mining developments. 
  • Support Stolen Generations reparations schemes, cultural healing programs, funeral funds throughout Australia, and full implementation of the Bringing Them Home Report recommendations
  • Recognise Invasion Day as a day of mourning, not a celebration
  • Fund language and cultural programs and bilingual education in schools

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REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

No Crime to Seek Asylum

The abhorrent treatment of those who have come to our country seeking asylum over the last 3 decades is one of the great blights on our society, a shame in which both major parties are implicated. To overturn the decades of bipartisan racism and brutality, we seek to help build a mass movement on the streets and in the workplaces in support of refugee rights.

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Close offshore and onshore detention centres and end mandatory detention
  • End boat turn-backs
  • Abolish Border Force
  • Offer asylum to all refugees and asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru
  • Reinstate Permanent Protection Visas for all refugees - scrap Temporary Protection Visas
  • Restore family reunion rights
  • Give work rights, income support & Medicare to all asylum seekers
  • Fair processing of asylum claims - restore appeal rights, end “fast-track” process
  • Protect the rights of medical, teaching and security staff to speak out about abuse in detention
  • Reaffirm Australia’s commitment to the Refugee Convention and honour our UNHCR obligations
  • Restore all Australian territories to the migration zone
  • End deportations and end ASIO security veto of refugees
  • Break links with authoritarian governments. Cut diplomatic and military ties with Rajapaksa regime - Sri Lanka is not safe for Tamils

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DEFUND THE POLICE, DEFEND CIVIL RIGHTS

Civil rights are under unprecedented attack. Police forces are more powerful, and more militarised, than ever before. The racism and class hatred of the poor that have characterised the police since they were established is as strong as ever, even if now these sentiments are disguised by self-serving “sensitivity training”. 

The facts, though, speak for themselves. As of May 2021, 475 indigenous people had died in police custody since the 1991 Royal Commission into black deaths in custody. Religious minorities, such as Muslims, are disproportionately targeted by police, as are immigrant minorities such as Sudanese and other non-white young people.

But while racialized policing victimises some people in particular, the general increase in police powers and curtailment of democratic rights and personal freedoms threatens everybody.

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Defund the police: divert spending on policing and state surveillance into spending on social services.
  • Repeal authoritarian ‘anti-terror’ laws
  • Abolish ASIO and all spy agencies
  • Repeal data retention laws
  • Adopt a Bill of Rights
  • End the racist targeting by police of First Nations people, Muslims and African Australians
  • Defend and support Julian Assange and other political prisoners
  • Abolish imprisonment for non-violent offences of poverty and non-payment of fines
  • Prosecute corporate tax evasion and other corporate crimes including environmental vandalism
  • End mandatory detention
  • Support prevention programs, community-oriented rehabilitation schemes and alternatives to imprisonment
  • Fully fund legal aid
  • Abolish private prisons
  • Legislate against any police involvement in industrial disputes

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INTERNATIONAL POLICY, MILITARISM, AND SOLIDARITY

No to War

Australia is a warmongering nation. We face no sovereign threat, and yet embroil ourselves in alliances with great powers like the US purely to advantage our own multinational corporations and advance Australia’s imperial interests. We need to end Australia's militaristic foreign policy, remove ourselves from great power rivalry, and forcefully reject any involvement with or support for future wars in the Asia Pacific or more broadly.

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Oppose warmongering and military escalation. No to a disastrous war with China
  • End Australia’s aggressive, militaristic international posturing
  • Cut military funding - no to a new armaments program
  • Pull Australia out of the ANZUS alliance and ban all US military bases and personnel from Australia
  • No nuclear weapons or nuclear energy programs
  • End uranium mining and export  
  • Oppose Australian support for apartheid Israel - demand a free Palestine and stand in solidarity with Palestinians against Israeli aggression
  • End Australia’s interference in the affairs of countries in the Asia Pacific
  • Support independence for West Papua
  • Disband the war-criminal SAS

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SOCIAL WELFARE

Everyone has the right to live with dignity. And every person has the right to a living income, housing, food, and heating, and adequate social support. These are the prerequisites of a civilised society, but things our current system utterly fails to deliver. 

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Reverse the attacks on sole parent pensions
  • Scrap “Work for the Dole” schemes
  • No compulsory income management and other forms of welfare quarantining
  • A guaranteed basic income for all
  • Lift all welfare payments to a minimum of the $1,500 a fortnight rate of JobSeeker in 2020, and index these payments to maintain real value into the future.
  • Boost funding to publicly-owned community-based aged and childcare services
  • Expand disability services and access
  • Restore the universal right to the aged pension
  • Abolish the punitive  Job Network and reestablish a Commonwealth Employment Service with a service provision focus.
  • Abolish the ‘mutual obligations’ regime and ‘the activity test’

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SENIORS  

A proper pension and high quality public aged care should be a right for everyone too old to work. But decades of cutbacks and a relentless focus on super-funded retirement has created a massive underclass of older people in Australia. 

Victorian Socialists  will fight to:

  • Restore the universal right to the Aged Pension and lower the eligibility to 60 years of age, while allowing older people to keep working until later in life by choice. 
  • Make the pension a liveable income. It should be increased to a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight, indexed to maintain value into the future.
  • Fund public community-based nursing homes
  • Legislate aged care staffing ratios across all aged care services. 
  • Publicly provide home care for seniors and people with disabilities.

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JUSTICE FOR WOMEN

The recent exposure of the misogynistic behaviour of politicians makes clear, sexism continues to run rampant in our society. While women have made great strides for equality in recent years, women's oppression continues to be  structured into our society. There is so much more to do to win liberation.

Victorian Socialists  will fight to:

  • Eliminate the gender pay gap —  legislate to enforce equal pay
  • Make abortion and contraception legal, safe, accessible and free
  • Fund affordable public housing for women
  • Restore and expand funding to women’s refuges and community anti-violence programs
  • Full decriminalisation of sex work, and recognision of sex workers’ right to organise collectively for their pay and conditions
  • Legislate for employer funded parental leave for 12 months at full pay
  • Legislate for superannuation to be paid on the paid portion of parental leave

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LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, INTERSEX RIGHTS

Despite many gains, LGBTIQ+ people still face widespread discrimination and villification. 

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Make all discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people illegal – no support for religious exemptions
  • Full rights for trans and intersex people
  • Full, publicly-funded medical services for gender confirmation
  • Fully-funded school programs for non judgemental sex education and anti violence campaigns
  • Full adoption rights for all

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YOUTH RIGHTS

Young people are systematically discriminated against and denied basic rights. 

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Lower the voting age to 16
  • Boost funding to youth services
  • Establish full pay for young people – no youth wage!
  • Expand youth housing programs
  • Expand apprenticeship programs and reform TAFE
  • Restore Austudy and Youth Allowance to a living wage

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DRUGS, SUBSTANCE USE AND ADDICTION

Problematic use of drugs and substances (including alcohol and tobacco) by individuals should be dealt with as a health issue. Using a criminal law framework to address substance abuse in the community exacerbates the potential harms to the individual and the community. The criminalisation of drug use disproportionately impacts on low income people and minorities. People with drug or substance abuse problems should be treated with respect and dignity and provided with evidence-based treatments within a harm-minimisation framework. Pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for promoting harmful and addictive treatments. The repeal of public drunkenness laws in Victoria, which were applied disproportionately to Aboriginal people, should be generalised to all states and territories.

Victorian Socialists will campaign to:

  • Decriminalise the possession and non-commercial production and small-scale distribution of drugs for personal use
  • Legalise a regulated and taxed cannabis market for adults use, including clear content and potency labelling, and licensed consumption venues
  • Expand medically supervised injecting facilities
  • Establish publicly funded pill testing services
  • Immediately release and expunge the criminal records of all current prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug crimes including personal use, possession and non-commercial production
  • Campaign against public drunkenness laws throughout the country which are used disproportionately against Indigenous people.
  • Redirect taxed revenue from cannabis sales to community programs that benefit groups disproportionately affected by criminalisation including indigenous communities
  • Encourage substitution therapy and other dignified treatments for persons seeking treatment for substance use disorders.
  • Legalise a regulated market for adult use of nicotine based vaporisers as a harm reduction measure.
  • Fund research into the safe use of cannabis-based treatments and therapies, and other therapies based on stigmatised substances including ketamine and psilocybin, and expand Medicare to cover evidence-based proven treatments.
  • Remove legal barriers to the establishment and funding of scientific research into drugs and drug-use disorders
  • Oppose ‘war on drugs’ style law and order campaigns in relation to drug use in the community.
  • Establish needle and syringe programs in custodial setting

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EDUCATION FOR ALL

Education should be free, publicly funded, and available to everyone

.Australia has one of the most segregated and inequitable education systems among the rich countries of the developed world, and the situation is getting less equal. Class privilege is passed on through a family’s ability to pay for high quality, well-resourced schooling and tertiary education, increasing the educational divide. Our public system is underfunded while a greater slice of taxpayer funding goes to already well-resourced private schools. 

Victorian Socialists believe that education should be free, fully publicly funded, and available to everyone from early childhood to post-graduate level. 

We believe that education should do more than serve the needs of capitalism; it should foster creative and critical thinking, active citizenship and human flourishing in a humane civil society. 

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • End the public funding of private schools and for-profit private Registered Training Organisations, tertiary institutions and training colleges
  • Make high quality public education free at all levels from early childhood to tertiary, funded in line with the best public education systems in the world.
  • Ensure secure, well-paid conditions of employment for all educators and education support workers 
  • Establish a free, universally accessible public preschool/childcare and early childhood education provision system accessible to all, guaranteeing decent high wages and secure jobs for early childhood education workers
  • Expand and increase funding for the public vocational education and training sector and TAFE
  • End public funding to rich private schools and for-profit private RTOs, tertiary institutions and training colleges
  • Cancel all student debt (including HECS/HELP/VetFee HELP etc).
  • End NAPLAN and all high stakes testing that distorts the focus of the curriculum and promotes league tables and competition between schools and institutions. The current accountability system is the source of stress, misery and mental ill-health.

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HOUSING FOR ALL

Housing is a human right. No one should be homeless. No one should be denied the right to a safe, secure, adequate and affordable place to live.

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Cap rents and mandatory mortgage repayments at 25% of household income.
  • Tackle homelessness and the housing shortfall with a large-scale expansion of commonwealth funding for quality carbon-neutral public housing to meet all unmet demand for public housing, starting with the burgeoning public housing waiting list.
  • Pressure states to end punitive tenancy management practices in public housing  and abolish fixed term tenancies, which push public housing tenants out of the system
  • Pressure states to end the privatisation of  public housing land and transferring public housing management and ownership to poorly regulated community housing providers
  • National minimum rental standards - all properties available for rent should meet minimum standards including those addressing safety, security and thermal comfort.
  • Scrap negative gearing for investment properties
  • Rental income on first investment property taxed at ordinary rates. If individual owns more than 1 rental property, income received on all but first investment property taxed at highest income tax rate
  • Expand emergency accommodation services and transitional housing, introduce regulation to ensure that tenants are not evicted into homelessness
  • Axe negative gearing and capital gains tax property exemptions
  • Seize dwellings deliberately left vacant for over 6 months, by landlords who seek to make profit through speculative buying and selling or land banking without providing a home, and allocate them to people on the public housing wait list. 
  • Make ‘inclusionary zoning’ mandatory so that developers are compelled to include a percentage of truly affordable housing a part of all developments
  • The Commonwealth Rent Assistance to be increased by 30% and regularly adjusted in line with the ABS rent index for the local area

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DEFEND AND EXPAND MEDICARE

Free access to healthcare is a human right. In Australia we have won Medicare against relentless opposition from the right. We need to defend and expand it.

Victorian Socialists will fight to:

  • Restore free, universal health care
  • End hidden co-payments
  • Boost funding for preventative care and chronic disease management
  • Free dental care - make dental care part of Medicare
  • End subsidies to private health insurers
  • Expand community-based health care networks, reproductive and sexual health clinics
  • Boost funding to public mental health services
  • Legislate for aged-care staffing ratios
  • Legislate to support people’s choice to die with dignity
  • Replace NDIS with Medicare-funded publicly run disability services.

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