Victorian Socialists candidates don’t take part in dodgy preference deals in any elections – state, federal or local. We are the only party that can say that. At the last state election, micro-parties (most of whom are far-right outfits in disguise, but also others, like Fiona Patten’s ‘Reason’ group and the Animal Justice Party) collaborated to get elected off a tiny primary vote. All the major parties – the Liberals, Labor and the Greens – dealt with them to try and push their own agenda and get their candidates into office on the back of other people’s preferences, regardless of what voters wanted.
We refused to participate in any of this.
The whole thing is a scandal. If parties are going to publish How To Vote recommendations, they should be on the basis of who they want elected if they don’t succeed, not on who they have done some backroom deal with.
Victorian Socialists is the only party which recommends preferences based on what we think of the other candidates and parties, not some shonky deal.
We preference from left to right.
We put the Liberal and other right wing candidates, including right-wing independents, last, with the exception of far-right candidates like One Nation or other dodgy far-right types, who we will always place at the very bottom of our preference recommendations.
Where there are other socialist tickets running, as is the case in Moreland in this election, we have put them second, after our own candidates.
We don’t automatically put non-party or micro-party candidates above Labor and the Greens because they are supposedly “independent” of the major parties. A large number of independent candidates, in local elections in particular, are very right wing, even if they pose as “apolitical”. And some are basically proxies for one or other parties. But where there are independents who we know are to the left of Labor and the Greens, we put them higher on our How to Vote cards. We have done this in a number of electorates at this election, including some wards in Maribyrnong, Darebin and in Melbourne City Council.
Labor and the Greens are both to the left of the Liberals and the other open candidates of business. But neither offer a real option for left wing voters.
The Labor Party, despite its connection to the union movement, is a loyal servant of big business, and was the pioneer of neoliberal deregulation and privatisation in Australia. On social issues, most infamously refugee rights, it has shamefully followed the Liberals further and further to the right.
While the Greens may have more progressive policies on some social issues, they have in recent years cemented themselves as the party of the privileged, and mostly white, inner city middle class. The increase in their vote has closely tracked the gentrification of the inner city, as working class residents have been pushed further out.
Where there are Labor and Greens candidates competing, we are ranking them based on a combination of our assessment of the individual candidates and the situation in the particular electorate.
So for example we are putting the Greens ahead of Labor in Hume, in Melbourne City Council and for Lord Mayor. In Moreland the Greens are mostly above Labor.
In Darebin, however, we are putting Labor above the Greens in most wards. This is because of the particularly bad role the Greens have played on Darebin council, which they have had effective control over for the past 4 years. In that time they have failed to protect the Preston Market, failed to oppose privatisation of aged care and other council run services, and in general have had a more right wing voting record than the Labor councillors.
The figures in charge of the Darebin Greens, most notably councillors Susanne Newton and Trent McCarthy, represent the right wing of the Greens, and are thoroughly committed to neoliberal managerialism.
There are several wards (in Darebin and Maribyrnong) where we have not issued How to Vote cards, and candidates have left it to voters to decide how to preference. Of course Victorian Socialists voters have the right to preference however they want - our How to Vote cards are just a recommendation.
We are publishing this explanation of our preferences policy because we believe there needs to be more transparency in how parties allocate preferences. We note that no other party, to our knowledge, publishes any explanation of why they order candidates as they do on How to Vote cards.
If you want to look at our How to Vote cards for specific wards, you can view them via the PDF link below.