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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 November 2006

Australia - Big increase in votes for Socialist Party in Richmond

IN LAST week's Victoria state elections the Socialist Party (SP - CWI, Australia) stood Yarra Councillor, Stephen Jolly, in the seat of Richmond in Melbourne. Steve secured 1,632 first preference votes, just over 6%.

In the last election four years ago, we got 1.9% (629 votes) in this seat with the same candidate. Two years ago the SP won a Council position in a ward of Yarra Council (Langridge) that makes up about half of the state seat of Richmond.

Many people in this seat have had a taste of the Socialist Party in action on issues such as child care, public housing, fighting dodgy development, industrial relations and a host of others issues.

Our vote rose from 1.9% to 6.09% (more than trebling). This is well over the 4% needed to retain our deposit and qualify for state funding.

In the polling booths of the Richmond seat that were situated inside our Langridge ward our vote was even better. Outside the Langridge ward, our vote doubled or so (eg, from 1.6% at North Richmond in 2002 to 4.7% yesterday).

At a new booth at the massive Fitzroy public housing estate (Atherton Gardens) we won 20.3% of the vote, coming second to the Australian Labour Party (48.8%) and beating the Liberals (8.6%) and Greens (18.3%). (Overall, the Green vote dropped from 28.6% last time to 22.8%.)

The Atherton Gardens Residents Association believe that most ALP votes at this booth came from the richer houses outside Atherton Gardens, and that amongst public housing residents we got a majority of the vote.

The seat looks likely to be retained by the ALP's Richard Wynne whose vote rose from 47.4% in 2002 to 48.5% so far in this count. If he wins it is expected he will be elevated to be Minister of Housing.

This State election puts the SP in a very strong position for the November 2008 council elections where we aim, in alliance with progressive independents, to gain control of Yarra Council and have the first genuine socialist council in Australia.

Socialist Party reporters, Melbourne

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