‘Highlights,’ ‘the best of 2014,’ ‘year in review,’ and the ‘year that was’—all things you’ve no doubt seen in your newsfeed, or wherever else you get news. It’s been a pretty bad year for Australia’s politics, being the first year of the Abbott Government, managing to surprise even the most cynical. But we all know how devastating it’s been, so was there anything to be grateful for?
I talked to a few people on the frontline: candidates, staffers, party officials, and ordinary branchies who are anything but ordinary.
I asked these Lefties what their proudest moments were in 2014.
There’s no parade when you stop something horrible from happening
…the community campaign and sustained pressure from Labor in NSW saving many women's refuges—especially Lillian's in Erskineville. – Penny Sharpe, Candidate for Newtown
Labor successfully blocking higher education reforms and the $7 GP co-payment – Michael Vaughan, Redfern Branch
We won a few things
Watching Daniel Andrews come to power in the historic Victorian election—Bryce Roney, Battery Point Branch
There are some that wanted [this election] to be all about unions and workers, and that is exactly what it was. –Daniel Andrews, Victorian Premier
Won back Charlestown at the State By-Election with the amazing Jodie Harrison—Declan Clausen, New Lambton/Lambton & Kotara Branch.
Nuatali Nelmes winning back the Newcastle Lord Mayoralty.—Declan Clausen.
Remembering the legacy of Labor heroes
Being at Gough Whitlam's funeral made me so proud to be running as a candidate for Labor. I hold the Gough Labor values very dear to my heart. Those values are the type of Labor I want to be a part of…—Eddie Lloyd, Candidate for Sydney
Sitting in Neville Wran and Gough Whitlam's memorial services and hearing about power for purpose…—Penny Sharpe
Fighting alongside the community is rewarding
Being part of the community occupation to save historic Thompson Square in Windsor from being destroyed by the NSW government.—Susan Templeman, 2013 Candidate for Macquarie
Standing in solidarity with Anthony Albanese and the Millers Point Community against the Liberals attempts to evict them—Eddie Lloyd
Joining thousands to protest against cuts to the ABC—Susan Templeman
Achieving change for Labor
Queensland Left in majority, the NSW reforms passed at conference—Alex Hamilton, Kings Cross Branch.
The NSW Left moving to strongly support marriage equality at our Annual General Meeting.—Michael Vaughan
Forming a Labor Action Committee (LEARN) and recruiting more teachers to the Labor Party…—Steven Moore
Leading LEAN (NSW)… and working to negotiate the passing of an ambitious climate goal through state conference…—Declan Clausen
And then you realise why politics matters: because people
Supporting legislation that allowed for the expungement of convictions for gay men convicted when homosexuality was illegal. Seeing the tears, relief and vindication of someone who has lived with a conviction since 1956 and the moment when he knew he was finally truly free. –Penny Sharpe
We fought hate with love
#illridewithyou –Michael Vaughan
I also asked them what they were looking forward to in 2015.
NSW and QLD elections looking good for Labor
All the good Lefties likely to win seats in NSW election, Qld election and Campbell Newman losing his seat—Alex Hamilton
March 28!—Eddie Lloyd
Seeing the tide start to turn against the Liberals in NSW and Queensland –Bryce Roney
Assisting new progressives to enter Parliament with the upcoming state election. We have such a strong team of amazing candidates like Verity Firth, Penny Sharpe, Yasmin Catley, Trish Doyle, Paul Spooner, Charishma Kaliyanda and Cameron Murphy.—Declan Clausen
Working to ensure progressive education policy is maintained at National Conference—Steven Moore
Gearing up for National Conference 2015. The key fight this conference will be Climate Change. Labor needs to continue to lead on this issue…—Declan Clausen
The Left taking a strong stand on marriage equality at NSW State Conference—Michael Vaughan
Keeping up the fight for marriage equality, party reform…--Penny Sharpe
Closer to 2016
Preparing for the 2016 Federal election.—Susan Templeman
Bury the GP copayment and $100,000 degrees for good. Turn the Abbott Government’s cuts to foreign aid from a political asset to a liability.—Michael Vaughan
Seeing off Tony Abbott & everything the Tories stand for—Penny Sharpe
What these statements say is that the work of a progressive is never done, but also, we’ve achieved a lot and we’ve got a lot to be hopeful for, despite the horrible things.