Reds in WA Senate race

12.812NEWS

• Alex Bainbridge hopes an expected blowback against minor parties doesn’t affect the Socialist Alliance. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

MAYLANDS activist Alex Bainbridge will contest WA’s senate re-election as a Socialist Alliance candidate.

After the lost-votes snafu the high court is now fermenting a final decision but a fresh poll is widely regarded as about as certain as Tony Abbott’s victory was in September.

Mr Bainbridge says the election must be held soon so new senators can take their spots as scheduled from July: Any delay in forming the new senate could result in loopholes that may allow the Abbott government to bypass the usual Senate scrutiny of its bills.

There was a public backlash when Sports Party candidate Wayne Dropulich was elected in September with 0.2 per cent of the vote following a round of maths wizardry and complex preference swapping deals with other parties. Mr Dropulich must recontest a new poll if he wants to keep his spot.

Mr Bainbridge is hoping that blowback won’t harm his chances, noting the Socialist Alliance has been around in one form or another for decades.

“It’s true we’re a minor party, but it’s not like we’ve come from nowhere like a lot of these parties have done.

“We’ve got an active record of engaging with elections and activism.”

He says a major policy of the Socialist Alliance is “to bring the big mining companies and banks under public ownership” in order to “democratise those resources and enable a fair distribution of wealth”.

Mooted Medicare copayments (which would see many pay $6 for a doctor’s visit) are also in his sights. He wants the government to reduce support for private health insurers and channel that money into Medicare.

While his party’s chances at the polls are slim, Mr Bainbridge says it’s still important to get out and run.

“We are trying to build support, we are trying to make a gradual progression, one step at a time, to go from a minor party to a major party.

“We are saying something in this election that no one else is saying.”

While he supports most Greens policies he says Socialist Alliance’s plans are “more far-reaching and more practical.

“Implementing the Greens’ agenda in full will necessitate a challenge to the capitalist system, which so far they haven’t made clear that they are prepared to do that.

“Over the last term of government we’ve seen compromise [from the Greens] that I’ve found disappointing.”

by DAVID BELL

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