‘Can’t get a look in’: The political fault lines dividing NSW electorates

Forty of the state’s 93 electorates have a median age below the NSW average of 38. But just four of them are outside of Sydney — Maitland, Cessnock, Wallsend and Wagga Wagga. And of the 24 seats with a median age of 35 or less, all of them are in the Sydney basin.

James Cameron, 24, will be voting in Auburn, one of the state’s youngest and most culturally diverse seats.

He says that technology, environment and transport are the areas of policy most important to him.


«Normally I look at their policies on environment and technology mostly,» he said.

«I try and listen to what my friends say about candidates, and if they’re going to take care of the internet and other technology-related things. I also think we need to do far more in terms of environmental action in the future, it’s a very pressing topic.»

The Lidcombe resident also said he would ‘definitely’ favour a younger candidate in the event that two prospective MPs had similar policies.

«Personally, I think that younger candidates just can’t get a look in because becoming a candidate itself, it feels like it requires so much experience.

«A lot of people aren’t willing to give young people the chance in leadership roles.»

Across NSW there are 27 electorates where more than one in four people are over 60 and with the exception of Pittwater on the northern beaches, all these places are outside Sydney.

There are seven seats in the 2019 state election that did not exist in 2006, and redistributions have changed electorate boundaries between 2006 and 2016.

In 2006 the oldest median age of an electorate was 46. In 2011 it rose to 49, and in 2016 three seats median ages hit 50 or more — Bega, Myall Lakes and Port Macquarie.

Like many electorates with an older age profile, all three have a high share of retirees who tend to be on relatively low, fixed incomes.


Sydney University political scientist, Dr Stewart Jackson, said the trend for some regions to age at a much faster rate than others would produce fresh political and policy challenges.

«This is a real problem that has been developing for the past 20 years or so,» he said.

«Fifty or sixty years ago the ageing of the population was much more evenly spread but now it is accelerating in particular areas and governments must provide particular services in those places.»

Household incomes are following a similar political fault line.

The five seats with the lowest median household incomes in NSW are all in regional areas and have some of the highest median ages.

Median weekly household incomes in NSW have risen in the decade from 2006 to 2016 by about $450 (from $1038 to $1486).

Across NSW 5.4 per cent of households earned over $2500 per week in 2016, and if spread evenly would equate to about 1,500 households per electorate. But in the harbour-side electorate of North Shore, almost one in four households had an income over $2500 per week at the last census.

In a string of north coast electorates including Myall Lakes, Oxley, Clarence and Lismore the share was around one in 70 or 80.

Put another way, more households earned $2500 plus in the North Shore electorate (7772 in total) than the lowest income 21 state seats combined (7702 households).


The Liberal and National Party hold seats at both extremes of this income spectrum, with their MPs representing the 12 highest and lowest median household income seats. Among the twelve seats with the lowest median household income, nine are held by Nationals and three by the Liberals.

The north coast electorate of Myall Lakes had the state’s lowest average weekly household income of $883 per week as well as the state’s second highest median age — 51 years.

The neighbouring seat of Oxley had the state’s second-lowest median weekly household income ($915) and the fifth highest median age (48 years).

The median household income in the state’s best-paid electorate — Davidson on Sydney’s north shore – was almost three times higher than that in Myall Lakes and Oxley, with a weekly pay packet of $2581.

Matt Wade is a senior writer at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Nigel Gladstone is The Sydney Morning Herald’s data journalist.

Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Most Viewed in Politics


Источник: Theage.com.au

Источник: Corruptioner.life


You may also like...