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Australian Socialists in Politics

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Serving Australian Socialists

There are a number of prominent Australian Socialists working hard for a fairer distribution of wealth in a country experiencing increased income inequality and an unprecedented housing crises. We look at these leftists, starting with MPs serving in the Australian Parliament.

Australian Socialists in the Australian Parliament

Max Chandler-Mather

Max Chandler-Maher was elected to parliament in 2022 as the Member for Griffith. He has been outspoken on the issue of housing, condemning the major parties for their failure to build public housing and their failure to address the housing crisis.

Max Chandler-Mather
Max Chandler-Mather

Mehreen Faruqi

Mehreen Faruqi is a Pakistani-born Australian politician and former engineer who moved to Sydney in 1992.

Faruqi joined the Greens and was elected to the NSW Legislative Council in 2013 where she served as member until 2018. While there she was a vocal pro-choice advocate, introducing the first parliamentary bill to decriminalise abortion in New South Wales in June 2014. Faruqi is also an advocate for public transport and environmental sustainability.

Filling a casual vacancy, Faruqi was sworn in as a Senator on 20 August 2018, becoming the first female Muslim senator in Australian history. She was re-elected in the 2019 federal election.

Since June 2022, Faruqi has served as Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens. Faruqi has been a noted critic of horse racing and greyhound racing in Australia. In 2021 she released a Horse Racing Transition Plan and in 2023 proposed repurposing ‘racetracks for green spaces and community facilities’. Faruqi has been widely criticised by figures within the racing industry for her opposition to horse and greyhound racing.

Faruqi led her Greens colleagues in a Senate walkout, protesting the Albanese government’s refusal to call for a ceasefire to the 2024 Israel–Hamas war.

Australian Socialists in Local Government

Jorge Jorquera

Jorge began his political activism at age 14, in the Carina branch of the Labor Party in Brisbane. Like thousands of others, he left the Labor Party in protest at the Hawke government’s Accord, which spearheaded the neoliberal policies that have shaped politics in Australia ever since.

In his early years Jorge was elected secretary of the University of Queensland Student Union and coordinator of the National Free Education Coalition, which led the national campaign against the reintroduction of university fees. Subsequently, he helped establish one of the first Greens Party branches in NSW.

However, Jorge is now a member of Victorian Socialists and a Councillor in the City of Maribyrnong.

Jorge Jorquera
Australian Socialists: Jorge Jorquera

Rob Pyne

Rob Pyne was elected as a Councillor to Cairns Regional Council in 2008 and Re-Elected in 2012. He then contested the 2015 state election for the ALP against a conservative opponent. Consequently he was elected to represent the electorate of Cairns in the State Parliament, where he served one term.

However, Rob believed the major political parties had neglected Far North Queensland and were not doing enough on the issues of climate change and  local government corruption. As a result, he resigned from the ALP in 2016 becoming an Independent. However without major party support (and following an unfavourable boundary change), he lost his seat at the subsequent election.

Pyne returned to local government was again was elected as a Councillor to Cairns Regional Council in 2020, this time in Division 2. In 2024 he contested and won Division 5 in the heart of Cairns, becoming the first Councillor to be elected to three separate Cairns Regional Council divisions (3, 2 and 5).

Sarah Hathway

Sarah Hathway is a proud Australian Socialist serving a Councillor in Geelong. A Social Work graduate and former organiser for a health union, Sarah is passionate about equitable access to services that promote good healthcare and wellbeing.

An experienced organiser and long-term community campaigner on range of issues such as environment, worker’s rights, and social justice more broadly, Sarah uses her skills and experience for the benefit of the Geelong community.

Sarah Hathway
Sarah Hathway

Sam Wainwright

Sam Wainwright lives in O’Connor with his partner Janet. He is a disability support worker and councillor at the City of Fremantle. Before that he was a wharfie for over 12 years and is making opposition to the McGowan government’s proposed closure of Fremantle Port one his campaign priorities.

Sam is proud to be part of Fremantle council and its contribution to opening up an honest discussion about the significance of January 26 for Indigenous Australia and the country’s history. However he added, “This is barely the beginning, we need reconciliation based on a treaty with real land rights. 

Australian Socialists: Sam Wainwright
Australian Socialists: Sam Wainwright

Sue Bolton

A bus driver and a public servant, Sue Bolton has been active in the community and as a unionist and a socialist. She was elected to Merri-Bek Council in 2012.

Sue has lived in Merri-Bek for 13 years and is passionate about supporting residents – especially residents who have low incomes, are unemployed, have disabilities, are Indigenous, are homeless, new migrants, young people and women.

Sue is also passionate about improving council services and creating a fair cohesive and proudly multicultural community.

Australian Socialists: Sue Bolton
Australian Socialists: Sue Bolton

Australian Socialists from history

Henry Lawson

Henry Lawson (17-6-1867 to 2-9-1922) was a famous Australian writer and bush poet.

A socialist and a republican, Lawson regularly contributed to The Bulletin, and many of his works helped popularise the Australian vernacular in fiction. Indeed he wrote prolifically into the 1890s, after which his output declined, he was the first Australian writer to be granted a state funeral.

His political ballads published in the Bulletin included, ‘The Song of
the Outcasts’ (1888), ‘Faces in the Street’ (1888) and ‘The Hymn of the Socialists’ (1889).

Australian Socialists – Fred Paterson

Fred Paterson was the only communist ever elected to an Australian Parliament. Fred was politicised by the First World War. During the war, he saw workers on each side of the front line massacring each other for no reason, at the behest of a ruling class.

Petersen won the seat of Bowen in the 1944 state election, defeating the ALP incumbent. In one of his first speeches to parliament he said, “Socialism is in accordance with the highest and noblest traditions and ideals of mankind. But socialism cannot be imposed upon the people by a minority. It is a movement in the interests of the vast majority and will come into existence only when a majority of the people want it and are organised sufficiently to obtain and maintain it”.

On St Patrick’s Day 1948, while taking part in a rally of railway workers, Paterson was attacked by a plain clothes policeman. His skull was bashed in with a police baton. His injuries were so severe that he was not expected to survive. This police violence marked the end of Paterson’s political career. He struggled to recover from his injuries. The government also redrew the boundaries of his electorate, making it un-winnable for him.

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