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Income, votes and parties: a note

12 Aug 2008
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Income played a role in the last election - but not quite the one you'd expect, writes BRIAN COSTAR

TUCKED away on page 101 of a very informative Parliamentary Library analysis of the 2007 federal election is a table which dissects the two-party preferred vote at the 2007 federal election by four socioeconomic groups. A simplified version appears above. Remarkably, the only category in which the “Tories” bested the “socialists” was the one that includes the least well-off citizens. As an American physicist used to ask: “Why is it so?” Well, it doesn’t have much to do with a change of sentiment among the “working class.” Largely it’s because the Coalition does better in rural and regional Australia than does Labor. On the eve of the 2007 election, sixteen of the twenty electorates with the most families earning less than $650 per week were classified regional or rural. Thirteen of these were held by the Coalition, six by Labor and one by an independent. Labor emerged from the 2007 election as the party of the middle class, and now rivals the Coalition among “upper class” voters as well. What would Ben Chifley and Robert Menzies make of this?

Source of table: Scott Bennett and Stephen Barber, Commonwealth Election 2007, Parliamentary Library, 2008

Photo: Alessandro Lippi/iStockphoto.com

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Published year only: 
2008
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