Newly elected Maribyrnong councillor Jorge Jorquera has made history as the first member of the Victorian Socialist party elected to local government in Victoria.
The Maidstone resident, who is a university curriculum adviser, arrived in Australia at primary school age after his family fled Chile’s Pinochet dictatorship.
He said he would bring the party’s socialist values to bear on issues such as rates, rents and unemployment.
“We ran for council because we felt that ordinary working families, migrant families, young people and elderly citizens, especially in the context of the pandemic, are massively under-represented from the point of view of their needs in local government,“ Cr Jorquera said.
“Our general view is that there should be very clear financial support for people with hardship cases – that’s particularly the case with pensioners.
“We definitely think there should be even greater differentiation than there is now with rates in terms of businesses vis-a-vis homeowners.
“Over time … we’d like to investigate things like why it is that the same rates are paid by family-home owners as by multi-property investors.“
The soccer coach said defending public space and supporting community sport were also personally important to him.
Cr Jorquera received 1632 (8.76 per cent) of first preference votes and was elected to Yarraville ward on preferences after two recounts were conducted.
At one point during distribution of preferences, only two votes separated Cr Jorquera from former Labor councillor, Martin Zakharov, according to the Victorian Electoral Commission.
After preferences were distributed, Cr Jorquera’s final vote of 4746 – 228 more than the final closest rival, Angela Burmeister.