Veteran socialist councillor Sue Bolton has been pre-selected to run for the Socialist Alliance in the inner northern seat of Wills in the federal election.
“The pandemic has supercharged inequality,” Bolton told Green Left. “I put my hand up to run because I’ve got experience as a councillor in working with those who the system ignores and lets down.”
Bolton is a councillor in Moreland City Council. She was first elected in 2012 and has been re-elected twice.
Bolton has a stand-out record of working with residents and communities to push for reforms, including saving parks and open space, stopping outdoor pools being closed, campaigning for better public transport, pushing for more public and affordable housing, opposing racism and championing international solidarity.
Bolton said with inequality on the rise, elected representatives need to commit to fight.
“Even before the pandemic, the growing social and economic inequality illustrated by the housing crisis was clear for all to see,” Bolton said. “Regardless of how hard people work, the fact that so many can only get casual contracts means their whole lives are more insecure, more precarious.”
Bolton said the next federal election presented an opportunity for parties to show they had ideas about how to deal with the lack of affordable housing, stagnating and low wages and below poverty level Jobseeker payments.
“'Tax the rich' is not just a slogan — we have to make happen if workers are to ever have better health care and services.
“The major parties rely on the billionaire class to keep them in power,” Bolton said. “But these are the same political elites who insist we need to keep digging up coal and gas, despite the climate emergency.
"In a rich country, we should have all been vaccinated by now, or at least nearly be there," Bolton said. "Inequalities in society — such as those who have no choice but to work and often in several jobs — has led to the pandemic spreading.
“The pandemic has spread because the federal government, responsible for the vaccination roll-out, framed it all through its profits-approach.”
Bolton said her Wills campaign would focus on both achieving secure and well-paid work and pushing for real action on climate change in which workers are front and centre of the shift away from fossils fuels.
An experienced campaigner, Bolton knows what it takes to bring about real change.
“We know that unless movements, of thousands of people, are built which force governments and bosses to take action, nothing will happen. Only mass movements have the power to force a total shift in priorities and that’s a central reason to support our campaign.”