Local government elections held in Melbourne at the weekend have opened a number of windows on to small miracles of Australian democracy. The first is that we now have a leading former-Liberal luminary at the helm of a major Australian city. Robert Doyle was of course state Liberal leader once upon a time, but has now stood for council unburdened by that affiliation and has — in fact — won a mayoralty aided by Labor preferences. This must surely be a model Malcolm Turnbull and Co are obliged to consider federally.

The other little wonder — and a better guide to the health of the Left in our body politic than the federal ALP platform — was the election of the country’s senior representative of the beleaguered but still hopeful Socialist Party of Australia: take a bow Councillor Stephen Jolly, re-elected to the chamber of inner-Melbourne’s City of Yarra. Here we see in full bloom the state of modern socialism, forced to retreat from once fondly held notions like seizing the means of production, establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat and nationalising the banks, to more mundane, but achievable, notions like roads, rates and tackling Yarra’s strange reluctance to provide a coherent position on hard rubbish collection.

Arise, wretched of the Earth!

Peter Fray

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