Thursday, September 14, 2006
Socialist Alliance election result
The Socialist Alliance in Australia just contested a by-election in Brisbane, and received a very creditable 2.03% in the polls. You can read the official vote declaration here.
The electoral terrain in Australia is more unfavourable for the left than in much of Britain, due to compulsory voting which favours mainstream parties, and due to the very established electoral presence of the Green party.
This is a very good result, and one that the SA can build upon. The following is a thank you letter from Sam's campaign.
A huge "Thank you" to everyone who supported or helped in the Socialist Alliance campaign for Sam Watson to take on Peter Beattie in Brisbane.
Our whirlwind 18-day campaign - without corporate backing, TV ads, mainstream media coverage, nor spin-doctored politics - saw a tremendous group of Socialist Alliance members, supporters and friends come together to put forward real alternatives to the horrific social problems that face people in Brisbane, across Queensland, and indeed globally.
Sam scored 1.95% of the vote, with more than 400 people casting a conscious vote for socialism, for changing the system. But the real successes were what we achieved on the ground, raising issues that the other parties ignore - from Aboriginal stolen wages to Black deaths in custody to homelessness and the prioritisation of corporate handouts over public health.
Election day saw over 60 SA members and supporters talking to people at almost every Brisbane booth. While all the other parties hid from political discussion, SA members proudly stood on our principles of justice and solidarity, anti-racism and socialism. Many people commented they loved our slogan "For the millions, not the millionaires". SA supporters challenged Beattie at every booth he turned up to, asking him why the Stolen wages were not being returned to Aboriginal people in full? Why he wasn't bringing racist cops to justice?
Many people who voted were impressed that, unlike the other parties, we have alternative media with Green Left Weekly, that SA is active all year round, and that we speak to people after they vote as well! Many people bought GLWs, badges, signed petitions, took leaflets for our film nights and left their name to be contacted.
The election night party reflected what Socialist Alliance is all about - incredibly diverse peoples coming together for a better future, which puts humanity and our environment ahead of profit. We heard from political punk rapper Scart, and some didgeridoo from Adrian, and the 50 people roared their support for our candidate Sam, declaring that while we may not be in George Street, the powers that be can expect to find us in every other street!
Over the 18 days, SA members and friends have letterboxed 15,000 leaflets highlighting real solutions to the problems the majority of people face; helped lead a rally against black deaths in custody and police violence; put out media calling for Cuban doctors to be sent in to Queensland to help address the health crisis; and done numerous campaign stalls across the area.
While the corporate parties receive millions from companies, SA had to rely on members and supporters - fantastically over $1000 was donated in such a short time to allow the campaign to go ahead.
Most important of all, today we have many new members of Socialist Alliance, many more friends and supporters, and so the forces for social change have been strengthened.
The SA campaign in Brisbane reverberated around the country and even beyond. We received support statements from many activists, from progressive unionists in WA and Victoria, and even radicals from New Zealand, Malaysia and Norway that were inspired by our campaign.
As Sam said to cheers at the election party, "only Socialist Alliance raises the issues of the oppressed majority, the homeless, the youth, Aboriginal people. We should be proud of what we've done, what we stand for."
Well done and thanks everyone for your efforts. Now the struggle continues - toward the federal election, and in the day-to-day struggle against every injustice that exists in this society.
Viva Socialist Alliance!
Brisbane Socialist Alliance