Regional voting changes under the microscope

THE GRATTAN Institute has published a paper looking at regional patterns of Australia’s economy and population as part of a wider study of political fragmentation in Australia.

Using data from the 2016 Census, the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Employment, the paper includes maps showing the current distribution between different regions of income, income inequality, unemployment, population, migration, education and age.

According to the Institute, changing voting patterns (particularly evident in the growing support for minor parties in regional electorates), are being used to justify policy changes such as increased income redistribution, more spending on regional development, tighter migration controls, and more intrusive security regulation.

“But these policies and proposals are all based on assumptions about what is really driving voting patterns,” the report’s authors suggest. “Our future report will explore the common explanations – economic dislocation, cultural change and falling trust in institutions – to identify which of them are plausibly linked to shifts in voting.

“The economic and demographic information in this paper provides important context for understanding these voting trends."  

The report can be downloaded by clicking here