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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-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.
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.
Australian Socialists in Local Government
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.
Rob Pyne was elected as a Councillor to Cairns Regional Council in 2008 and Re-Elected in 2012. Likewise, as a committed Socialist, Rob contested the 2015 state election 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 with an unfavourable boundary change), he lost his seat at the subsequent election. He was again was elected as a Councillor to Cairns Regional Council in 2020.
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.
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 from history
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.