For community need, not developer greed
The Socialist Alliance has announced three candidates for the Inner West Council elections to be held on September 9: Pip Hinman (for Stanmore ward), Susan Price (for Ashfield ward) and Blair Vidakovich (for Leichhardt ward).
Pip Hinman, who has run as a local Socialist Alliance candidate in previous local, state and federal elctions, is an activist in many social campaigns. She is president of Stop CSG Sydney, a community group which successfully stopped fracking in St Peters in the 2011 and eventually got the gas licence covering metropolitan Sydney cancelled.
Susan Price, also a local Socialist Alliance candidate in previous elections, has been an active unionist for more than 20 years. During that time she has held a number of elected roles in the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) including as branch president at the University of New South Wales between 2006 and 2010 during which time she led strike actions to defend workplace rights and conditions.
Blair Vidakovich has been active since he was 16, and is currently organising for the new Retail and Fast Food Worker's Union. He is completing a doctorate in philosophy and is also active in the campaign to defend penalty rates.
The ticket will focus on how to make council transparent, democratic and accountable to the community. Its campaign slogan is: “Community need, not developer greed”.
“People are sick of being trampled underfoot by greedy governments and corporations”, said Susan Price. “They worry that the forced amalgamation of the inner west three councils will mean a less representative and less accountable local government.”
“The NSW government rushed through council amalgamations to weaken comunity resistance to developer greed and to pave the way for the multi-billion-dollar private tollway scam that is WestConnex”, Price added.
"We totally oppose WestConnex," said Pip Hinman. "Money should be spent on expanding and improving public transport not building more motorways. We think WestConnex should be halted immediately and the communities already wrecked by this disastrous project rehabilitated. "We also oppose the privatisation of Sydney Buses."
“People want local government to work for our communities. It is the closest level of government to local communities, and it should be much more responsive", Hinman added. “There is a rich history of democratic and inclusive council practice that was pioneered in the former Leichhardt Council and we should build on that tradition. Councillors should be accountable to local ward and precinct meetings and act as facilitators of direct community action."
“Housing stress is a major issue”, Blair Vidakovich said, after having recently moved to Leichhardt. “Many students and workers are finding it very hard to make ends meet. There are also many people who simply have no place to go. Council must come up with solutions that can ease that stress and this will be one of our key focuses. Council should help provide afforadable, quality and sustainable public housing, support rent regukation and mandate really affordable housing as a significant part of all major housing developments.
Pip, a long-term socialist, has been active in environmental campaigns, women's rights — including the NSW campaign to make abortion legal — and anti-war campaigns. She helped launch Green Left Weekly and volunteers for it. She is a unionist and has worked in nursing homes, factories, museums and universities. Pip helped form Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney community group which stopped a test CSG drill in St Peters in 2011 and eventually led to the former Marrickville Council declaring itself a “gas free council” in 2015 just before the gas licence covering Sydney was cancelled. She has lived in Newtown for 22 years with her partner Peter with whom she has a daughter.
Susan was the Socialist Alliance candidate for Summer Hill in the 2015 state elections. She has been an active unionist for more than 20 years, joining her first union as a high school student. She has held a number of elected roles in the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) including as branch president at the University of New South Wales between 2006 and 2010, where she led a number of campaigns, including strike actions to defend workplace rights and conditions. She is active in the refugee rights movement because she believes that the bipartisan policy of locking up refugees and asylum-seekers and turning back boats is cruel, illegal and must end. She is a committed campaigner for women's rights and have been involved in many struggles over the years —for women's reproductive rights, against violence and for workplace equality, including for domestic violence leave in the workplace. She lives in Dulwich Hill.
Blair, a 26-year-old, moved from Perth and has made Leichhardt his home. He is on track to finishing his PhD in Philosophy at Notre Dame at the end of this year. Blair has been active since age 16 when, working in retail, he felt the impact of low wages. He was worked in warehouses and on army bases as a cleaner. He was involved in the successful campaign to stop university fee deregulation in 2014. He is currently involved in organising for the new Retail and Fast Food Worker's Union, to stop and wind back the dodgy SDA EBAs for retail workers. Blair is also involved in the broader campaign to stop penalty rates from being wound back. He lives in Leichhardt with his fiancee.