Via the ABC:
A senior Labor official has warned the party will continue to lose votes to minor parties like One Nation, unless it starts talking to more people than just “university-educated, city dwellers”.
ABC analysis of voting trends and census data revealed Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party polled strongly in electorates with a high percentage of migrants, despite an outspoken stance on immigration.
That’s proved a major concern for Kosmos Samara, the outgoing deputy campaign director of the Victorian branch of Labor.
“In Melbourne, we saw significant swings against the Labor party in what one would term traditional Labor heartland — outer western suburbs of Melbourne, north-western suburbs of Melbourne — where you do see quite a lot of ethnic diversity presence,” he said.
“The vast majority of those swings were as a result of Palmer United Party collecting a swag of votes in those suburbs.”
Labor polled relatively well in Melbourne, holding all of its seats in the Federal Parliament.
Migrants voting for One Nation
But the gradual erosion of Labor’s primary vote is of concern to Mr Samaras.
“Unless the centre-left in this country, and I would actually take an extra step in defining it as the broad left in this country, faces the reality that it needs to talk to more people than just urban, tertiary-educated constituencies, it would continue to see the rise of the One Nation vote, or what I would call the alt-right vote in this country.”
Mr Samaras said what was happening in Australia mirrored the voting patterns in other countries.
“Centre-left political parties are losing ground,” he said.
“They are increasing votes among what I would call the professional class — people with a tertiary education, who are progressive — but they are losing votes to the poorer constituency who once upon a time used to be the rock bed of the Labor party.
Egyptian-Australian Labor MP Peter Khalil, who represents an inner-north Melbourne electorate, told the ABC his party could not take the vote of multicultural communities for granted.
He’s part of a new caucus committee set up by Labor to examine a range of issues, including how to better connect with diverse voters.
“We need to work hard constantly to engage, to interact, to understand,” he said.
“Not just taking for granted that just because you’re a migrant — you’re going to vote Labor, it doesn’t work that way.
“We have to do better for migrant communities.”
Experts warning Labor is facing a problem
Emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Technology Sydney Andrew Jakubowicz said the last election saw an alliance formed between conservative migrants of different faiths.
“Whether they are Muslim, Christian, conservative Jewish, Hindus, Sikhs — there is no difference in the morality espoused by these groups,” he said.
“When there is a salient issue, they may very easily lock in together — not for long, and not continuously — but for enough time for people to amass a vote that might bring about change.”
Professor Jakubowicz said Labor’s support of the same-sex marriage vote triggered concern among conservative migrants who were already uneasy about the party’s increasingly progressive policies.
“It really scared many people, they were not expecting the world to change in quite that way,” he said.
“All of that has worked its way through really to the current situation.”
Labor’s wide-ranging post-mortem of its shock election loss is due within weeks, and is expected to examine the party’s efforts to connect with the multicultural communities.
Labor feeling the pain more than Liberals
Professor Jakubowicz said the anger among conservative migrants mainly affected Labor because it was moving them to the right of the political spectrum.
But the ABC’s chief elections analyst Antony Green said the Liberal Party was unlikely to pick up those votes, as people typically don’t change support from one major party to another.
“People might say ‘One Nation is not a centrist party, they’re off to the right’, that’s what a lot of people who follow politics think,” he said.
“But if you actually look at what the voters think, the Australian Election Study has shown most voters view One Nation is a party between Labor and the Coalition.
Professor Jakubowicz said the issue could affect the Liberal Party in the future.
That’s a prospect NSW Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said her party needed to be conscious of.
“They cannot be dismissed. these are voters that have a view, and for whom this particular issue is of importance,” she said.
“Any local member of Parliament doing his or her job properly has to be cognoscente of issues that are of concern to constituents.”
Quite right. The ONLY thing that mattered in the last election was the demolition of Labor in QLD. Labor holds just six of 30 seats in Queensland versus 63 seats around the rest of the country versus the Coalition’s 53.
Labor must win back QLD, which was lost to nationalist parties like One Nation and Palmer United, or it is toast. More at The Australian:
Queensland Labor veteran Robert Schwarten has launched an assault on ALP election strategists and senior MPs, accusing them of losing touch with voters and leaving “working-class” candidates exposed in seats the party should have won.
Mr Schwarten, a former Queensland minister and leader of the house, said the Labor election review would be another “sanitised, workshopped” document ignoring the realities facing regional communities and failed tactics that damaged “working-class candidates”.
The Queensland party stalwart, who represented Rockhampton for two decades and supported the ALP campaign in the key federal marginal seat of Capricornia, said he knew Labor was in trouble when lifetime supporters were asking him why they were “robbing older people and closing coalmines”.
Mr Schwarten’s intervention came after Nick Dyrenfurth, executive director of the John Curtin Research Centre, called for a working-class quota system to weed out staffers, union officials and apparatchiks from ALP parliamentary teams.
It’s extraordinarily easy to do. Abandon negative gearing and franking credit reform and instead pledge to halve immigration to boost wages, take the pressure off house prices and decongest cities. Climate change can still be pursued but it must take into account the losers in QLD with extensive offsetting investment.
Labor returns to its working class roots and wins.