Results are in for the 2020 council elections, and we are very excited that Jorge Jorquera, a Victorian Socialists candidate in Maribyrnong, has been elected as a councillor!
In a post on the campaign page after hearing the result, Jorge wrote:
“A massive thanks to everyone who was part of this campaign! Thank you to everyone who letterboxed, put corflutes in their yards, made phone calls, talked to their neighbours and friends, and found all sorts of creative ways to support this campaign in the most difficult of times.”
“It feels like we are part of something - the type of change that is so desperately needed!”
“Only minutes after finding out about the results, I went down to the Inner West Community Bike Hub to pick up a couple of bikes I had in for repairs. The guy there recognised me and the Victorian Socialist council campaign. He started talking about how we needed to organise a 'critical mass' style bike action to fight for a bike lane along Barkly Street, where there have been so many accidents. This is exactly what Victorian Socialists aim to do, help inspire communities to take action and organise in defense of our rights and fight for our needs and aspirations.”
“We hope you will join us in trying to make Maribyrnong a beacon of justice, equality, solidarity & friendship!”
We are sure Jorge is going to be a fantastic councillor, and together we will use this new platform to demonstrate to people across this city what a fighting socialist politics can achieve.
Jorge was the only one to be elected, but Victorian Socialists candidates received impressive votes across the seats we stood in.
While Jorge got up in Maribyrnong’s Yarraville ward off a primary vote of 8.76%, Liz Walsh actually got a higher primary vote in the neighbouring River Ward, coming in 2nd with 10.61% and only losing narrowly on preferences in the 2 person ward. Andrew Charles, standing in Stony Creek ward, received 7.95%. Overall this was a fantastic result in the West where we have not campaigned before, especially given COVID restrictions that made in person campaigning impossible.
The northern electorates of Moreland and Darebin also saw good results.
In Moreland, Nahui Jimenez finished third in a huge field of 15, receiving 10% of the vote, but narrowly missed out on a spot once preferences were distributed. The other Moreland seat we contested, North West, where Daniel Taylor won 4.21% of the vote, has been thrown into chaos after the VEC alleged serious issues involving hundreds if not thousands of fraudulent ballots. The case is now before VCAT, where we are arguing that a by-election should be held. Sue Bolton, the incumbent Socialist Alliance councillor in North East ward, was also re-elected.
In Darebin we knew we had very little chance of winning, because the disgraced former Local Government minister Adam Somyurek rammed through changes that forced the creation of single member wards in place of multi-member wards (which allow for proportional representation). Darebin had 9 single member wards, in which Victorian Socialists candidates did well. Impressive results were recorded particularly in some of the more working class wards in the centre and north of the municipality, like George Kanjere in West ward (12.64%), Omar Hassan in Central ward (8.73%), Seb Evans in North Central (7.97%) and Steven Chang in North East (8.74%). Adam Bottomley won 5.66% in North West ward, where an independent socialist, Gaetano Greco, who we worked collaboratively with, was re-elected in a landslide. In the southern wards Ali Hogg received 7.72% in South West ward, Jess Lenehan 6.67% in South East, Liam Ward 4.49% in South, and Roz Ward 7.72% in South Central.
This campaign cemented the Victorian Socialists profile in Darebin, an area that will be crucially important in our attempts to win positions at the next state election in 2022.
We also contested the Lord Mayor position in Melbourne under the slogan “The next Lord Mayor should be a front-line worker”. The Lord Mayor team, Kath Larkin and Daniel Nair Dadich were up against it with over 60% of votes in Melbourne City Council elections being cast by businesses. They received 3.29% of the overall vote, a percentage you can probably more than double if you counted the actual people voting, and not the businesses (which each get TWO votes!). The councillor team, Chris di Pasquale and Jesse Lambourn, received 1.6% of the vote.
In Hume, which covers the outer north of Melbourne, Chris Giddings ran in Meadow Valley ward, centred on Broadmeadows, and received 5.2% in an extremely crowded field, coming in 7th out of 20 candidates. This was a good result and important in laying the basis for further work there in future election campaigns.
Overall this was a great result in a difficult context. As we so often say, our (not so) secret weapon is our hundreds of campaigners getting out and convincing voters in person – we weren’t able to do that this time due to COVID-19 restrictions. We are confident that if we had been able to campaign properly, we could easily have won another 1 or 2 spots.
Now this election is over, Victorian Socialists will continue campaigning to make socialist politics a significant force in this city. We won’t just be waiting around for the next federal and state campaigns, but will be out fighting the pro-business establishment politicians and standing up for working class people, fighting for climate action and resisting racism.
We are really excited to finally have someone in elected office who can help spearhead that fight. Jorge’s passion for justice and decades of experience campaigning for socialism make him the perfect person for the job. But we know politics isn’t about elected politicians doing things for us - change happens when people get together to fight for what they believe in.
So if you haven’t already, please consider joining Victorian Socialists and getting involved in this campaigning. We have a world to win.