Voting in Australia

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A tale of two states

Greg Adler

State elections were held today [Saturday, March 18] in Tasmania and South Australia. The incumbent Labor Party governments were returned in both States. In South Australia there was a swing of about 11 per cent to Labor. In Tasmania there was about a 2 per cent drop in the Labor vote and a similar drop in the Greens vote. However, Labor is still expected to win a clear majority of seats.

Commentators on the election have noted that a strong part of the Labor campaign in South Australia was that a victory for Labor would be a means of workers being protected from the draconian industrial relations regime being introduced by the federal Liberal (actually conservative) government. Possibly it will look at taking action like the Labor government in New South Wales has done and make public service workers direct employees of the state to remove them from the reach of the federal government’s new laws.

Workers across the country face a continued struggle against those laws and part of that should be a strong demand on Labor in SA to live up to its claim to being able to protect workers’ interests. The DSP front organistion the Socialist Alliance claims to be a leading force in the fight against the Liberals’ new laws. That this is just one of the delusional beliefs it holds is again demonstrated by the support its candidates won in the two state elections.

In the seat of Port Adelaide in South Australia the SA candidate had a vote of 169 or 1.4 per cent of the valid votes so far counted. In Tasmania the DSP/SA ran candidates in two seats. In Franklin its candidate got 225 votes out of 55,751 or 0.40 per cent of the votes so far counted and in the seat of Denison the DSP/SA got 198 votes out of a total of 50,695 so far counted or 0.39 per cent. All the figures I have quoted are not final but it is highly unlikely that the percentage of the votes will change in any significant way.

The point of noting these results is not to flog a dead horse. It is just a way of underlining the fact that when DSP/SA loyalists such as John Tognolini replied to my previous postings with the claim that the SA is”going from strength to strength” such claims are ridiculously remote from reality.

The SA as dominated by the DSP has proven to be dead end for the left in Australia. Its use is as an example for active socialists in how not to build a unified leadership in the struggle.

Discussion, more discussion

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