Following the 21 May 2022 federal election, where Labor beat the incumbent Liberal-National Party coalition government, Labor has also overtaken the Liberal Party in the average annual household income of their voters.
According to new figures from Roy Morgan Research, households in Liberal electorates now earn an average of $118,880 per year, while households in Labor electorates bring in $122,020 per year.
That’s the inverse of the situation after the 2019 election. Back then, Liberal households averaged $126,940, to Labor’s $121,020, according to the Australian Financial Review.
However, the Guardian suggests that even in the 2019 election, lower-income electorates experienced a swing towards the Liberals, while richer electorates were more likely to swing towards Labor, although those figures ignored seats where the Liberal party was taking on independents, not Labor.
These figures suggest that the Liberal Party’s voter base is trending away from that of the Liberal Party of Menzies and Howard, with the Labor Party similarly moving away from Hawke and Keating. The Liberal Party is no longer the party of the middle-class, while Labor seems to be moving away from its work-class roots. This is a trend that follows the 2019 election, according to the ABC.
Of the 15 electorates with the highest average incomes, only three, the electorates of Bradfield, Berowa, and Mitchell, remain in the hands of the Liberal Party, with Labor holding five and the rest falling to the crossbench, reports the Australian Financial Review. Meanwhile, the AFR states that some of the lowest-earning electorates saw swings towards the Liberals.
The 16-strong crossbench, the biggest ever in Australian history, includes four Greens and ten independents, the majority of whom are ‘teal’ independents who won or retained formerly Liberal seats. And this is reflected in the statistics, with households in Greens and independent-held electorates averaging $145,690 per year. With Labor’s primary vote at 33%, and the Coalition’s at 36%, it appears that there is a shift towards minor parties and independents.
The Liberals are on the backfoot in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. The Liberals now only hold the fringes of east Melbourne, losing Kooyong and Goldstein to independents, and Chisholm and Higgins to Labor. In north Sydney, independents took the wealthy seats of Mackellar, North Sydney, and Wentworth, while Zali Steggall successfully defended Warringah from Liberal challenger Katherine Deves. Reid and Bennelong in Sydney were both won by Labor.
Even in Queensland, which fell heavily to the LNP in 2019, the electorates of Brisbane and Ryan were won from the Liberals by the Greens, as part of the ‘Green wave.’
This is in part due to women being less likely to vote for the Coalition, especially in inner-city areas, including in Adelaide, where one of the only two Liberal seats in the city, Boothby, fell to Labor, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The other issue, as pointed out by the AFR, is that Millenial and Gen Z voters are increasingly turning to left-wing parties. This is especially the case on climate change, which is why the Greens not only took the electorates of Brisbane and Ryan from the Liberals, but also the electorate of Griffith, Rudd’s old seat, from Labor.
This is just one of the many changes brought about by the 2022 election, but it signals a big change in the Australian political landscape, one whose implications we don’t fully understand yet.
Stuart Jeffery, aka LibertyDownUnder, is the founder of the Australian Liberty Network. He is also the host of the Gumtree of Liberty and Gumtree of Liberty Live podcasts, and is editor of the Liberty Review. Stuart is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in international relations, at the University of Southern Queensland.