Skip navigation
We Are Union VTHC
We Are Union Journal
News from the working class
What do you mean, 'Closing the Loopholes'?

Electing the working class

The Victorian union movement has a longstanding interest in putting working-class activists in positions of legislative power. In 2024 we'll be running training for union members interested in running for public office, with a focus on local council.

Candidate School, first run in 2020, provides working people with the confidence, skills and resources to run for office, and provide ongoing support to help them get elected.

The course modules will prioritise teaching the practical skills and resources involved in running an election campaign. For example, providing participants with field skills such as doorknocking, running a barnstorm, writing persuasive emails, developing a ‘theory of change’, engaging with community groups, and fundraising.

Wayne Sproull

Wayne Sproull, was a fitter and turner and OHS Rep for AMWU members at his workplace when he took part in the first iteration of Candidate School in 2020. He was working night shift when, at 2am in a moment of enthusiasm, he applied for the program. By 7am he was nervous he'd made a mistake.

"Without [Candidate School] I wouldn't be in the position I am now", says Wayne, who has been a Councillor for the Central Goldfields ward of Maryborough for almost 4 years. His regional municipality is ranked last in the state for socio-economic status, and tends to vote conservatively, particularly on social issues. "Councils very much appeal to business owner types, retirees, and that sort of demographic. To be able to sit at a table and have influence as a worker is really valuable - they may not otherwise get that other point of view".


Wayne has proudly represented his community and stood up for community values in a number of ways during his term. He pushed council to develop a climate action plan in response to a local climate activist's call, and helped deliver the area's first Pride festival.

"Most recently we had a planning permit in for another bottle shop. There was a fair bit of community push back. Through our health and wellbeing plans I was able to convince other council officers to deny the permit."

Wayne still catches up with some of his comrades from candidate school - especially the other workers who were successfully elected. They share tactics and experiences. He's had to adjust to life inside the tent of political power - lamenting that it's prevented him being more outspoken on some issues - but he is sold on the theory of change. "Having some more progressive councillors at the table makes a difference".

Find out more about Candidate School & Apply today!

22 May
WorkSafe-approved training to help HSRs and DHSRs understand and exercise their...
Victorian Trades Hall Council
54 Victoria St, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia,
27 May
9am -
OHS refresher training for HSRs
Quilt Room, Victorian Trades Hall Council
54 Victoria St, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia,
27 May
3pm -
Walk in the footsteps of John Curtin, Zelda D'Aprano, Bob Hawke...
Trades Hall
54 Victoria St, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia,
28 May
6pm -
Join the WIMDOI WRAW Chat training - and learn how to...
Melbourne, VIC, Australia,