Sunday, October 18, 2009

First socialist elected to Fremantle Council

New councillor for Hilton Sam Wainwright thanks supporters

Newly elected Hilton councillor Sam Wainwright summarised what he saw as the significance of his election to Fremantle Council, “It’s a victory for all those like me who believe that the council can and should play an active role in involving people in decision making, protecting the environment, campaigning for workers rights and making a place in the community for people who are too often left out, such as indigenous Australians or people with disabilities.”

Wainwright is a Co-convenor of Socialist Alliance in Western Australia and activist in the Maritime Union of Australia. He said, “I think I’m the first socialist elected to public office in WA for a long time, if not ever. Most candidates for council try to appeal to the middle ground and keep their political affiliations quiet. I don’t believe in that approach. I think it’s better to be upfront about your beliefs. Throughout the campaign I emphasised that I was a staunch socialist, unionist and environmentalist.”

He added, “I didn’t expect everyone to sign up to everything I stand for. But I did ask people to believe that I would be a hard working campaigner for their rights. I’m really grateful and humbled that so many people have shown their confidence in me and saw my background as a positive.”

Wainwright thanked the diverse range of people that supported his campaign, “Active support came from all sorts of places: members of Socialist Alliance, the Greens and the ALP all pitched in; many unionists and community activists helped out; and last but not least, everyday residents who don’t wear a political label but want to see the sort of change that we talked about in the campaign. The election result belongs to these people and I know that the hard work now begins.”

Commenting on the mayoral election Wainwright said, “With three different Greens members running for mayor I was worried that they would takes votes from each other and allow a more conservative candidate to win. However Brad Pettit’s win was emphatic and I extend my congratulations to him for his strong and vibrant campaign. There has been a real changing of the guard on the council and I expect there will be some passionate and intense debate about the future of Fremantle. I think this is a good thing and will be arguing my case like everyone else. At the same time I pledge to work constructively with the rest of council where we can find common ground on the way forward.”

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