Government by the old, for the old?


THE 2013 election was probably the first in Australian history in which half of the votes were cast by electors aged fifty or over. Only 47 per cent of people on the electoral roll fall into that age group, but the lower voting rate among younger adults means that it’s highly likely that the older group’s share of votes topped 50 per cent.

Twenty years ago, when Paul Keating fought back to defeat John Hewson in the 1993 election, only a third of adults entitled to vote were aged fifty or over. By 2004, when Mark Latham faced John Howard, it had grown to 42 per cent of enrolled voters. The proportion will continue to creep up, slowly but steadily.

While the challenges posed by an ageing population attract a great deal of attention, this milestone is a reminder that little notice has been paid to the implications of an ageing electorate…

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