Saturday, December 21, 2013

Socialist Alliance to contest WA senate election

Alex Bainbridge
Socialist Alliance has preselected Perth activist Alex Bainbridge and Notre Dame Uni student Chris Jenkins as candidates for the WA senate election that is expected to take place next year.

With Abbott performing poorly in the polls, this election will have a significant impact on the make-up of the new senate.

It has now been revealed that Labor is teaming up with the Palmer United Party to try to deny voters the chance to have a new election. (The Liberals claim to support a new election but potentially stand to lose from it.)

"We'll be continuing our campaign for public ownership of mines and banks," said Bainbridge, "because these measures are necessary to genuinely implement a serious transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy."

"They will also provide the funds necessary for restoring free education for all students and expanding public housing to solve the housing affordability crisis," said Bainbridge.

"We'll also be campaigning against the early attacks of the Abbott government," added Jenkins.

"The fact that the polls have shifted so early against Abbott is another reason that the people should be given the chance to decide on the new senate make-up."

Bainbridge is a veteran of many campaigns since he joined the socialist movement in 1990. He was a media spokesperson for the 2011 Chogm Protest and a member of the Refugee Rights Action Network. Jenkins is also a refugee rights activist and played an instrumental role in the campaign for free speech at Notre Dame University in 2013.

The Electoral Commission has called for an election on April 26 to allow the election to be held before the new senate sits in July. However a high court judge has indicated that the case may not be finalised before the new senate sits.

Chris Jenkins
"Obviously if the election is not held until after the new senate sits, that will give Abbott a window of opportunity to implement important parts of his reactionary agenda," said Bainbridge.

"Either way, it will take a concerted union and community campaign to truly stop Abbott in his tracks," he added. "We'll be using our election push to advocate for just such a campaign."

Bainbridge and Jenkins have both promised to reject the high parliamentary salaries and instead to live on an average workers' wage. Any excess would be utilised to build grassroots resistance to the neo-Liberal agenda promoted by both Labor and Liberal governments in recent decades.