Victorian Socialists’ Dunkley results

Posted on Monday, 4 March

Carrum Downs, just a couple of kilometres from Frankston, isn’t known as a hotbed of radicalism. As far as we know, there’s never been a socialist electoral campaign there. 

So it's no small thing that 7% of voters at the Carrum Downs South polling booth gave their first preference vote to Reem Yunis, Victorian Socialists’ candidate in the Dunkley federal by-election on March 3. Just down the road in Seaford South, Reem got 5.3% of the vote. At the Frankston booth, 4.1% voted 1 for Reem. 

Across the electorate, as of the close of counting on election night 1,400 people had given Reem their first preference vote – 1.7% of all voters. 

There’s no doubt our space was crimped by Liberal and Labor throwing everything they had at Dunkley – there were up to 40 campaigners from the major parties on some booths on election day. And many of Vic Socialists’ experienced campaigners are flat out at the start of the student year (including organising the wonderful, defiant, thousand-strong student rally on Thursday!!). So we weren’t able to staff every booth as well as we might in other circumstances, or to doorknock the electorate.

All of which is a reminder that we don’t get to make history in circumstances of our own choosing. Nevertheless, we made some history over the past two weeks. 

Vic Socialists’ Dunkley results are in line with our vote in much of Melbourne’s west when we ran there for the first time, in the May 2022 federal election. We managed to double these modest results later in 2022 in the state election – coming close to getting Liz Walsh elected to the upper house. 

We’ve now started on the job of building a similar foundation in Melbourne’s south and east.

We know we’ve made an impact from the calls we got from lifetime Labor voters, appalled at Labor’s support for the genocide in Gaza, who phoned our office after getting a letter from Reem. We know it from the veteran of the war in Iraq who voted for Reem because we never should have been there. And we know it from voters who had never come across a socialist before, who voted VS because our campaigners were railing against the crimes of the rich and powerful like we mean it – because we do. 

Each of the 65,000 households in Dunkley got a letter from Reem focusing on both the cost of living and the genocide in Gaza. Thousands got our material on the booths, with hundreds stopping for a discussion about the twin evils of gross inequality and militarism.

Reem’s campaign was one small but important step in Victorian Socialists’ project – rebuilding socialism as a living, breathing, organising, political force in this country. 

We’re happy to hear that the despicable Dutton fear campaign seems to have failed in Dunkley. But we know only too well that Labor is just as happy as the Liberals to cooperate with Israel’s genocide (though with an occasional polite tut tut), spend billions on weapons while we can barely staff a school, and generally rule for the rich. It’s a crucial time to rebuild the forces of socialism.

So congratulations and thanks to the hundreds of people who made the campaign possible by donating and sharing material. Thanks as well to the 130 volunteers who staffed polling booths in Frankston, Seaford, Carrum Downs, Langwarrin and surrounding suburbs on election day and at early voting.

And finally, a special shoutout to our inspirational candidate Reem Yunis – who in this time of genocide chose to spread a socialist message of rage, hope, solidarity and resistance.