Rise in protest votes sounds warning bell for major parties

  • Written by Danielle Wood, Program Director, Budget Policy and Institutions, Grattan Institute

Protest politics is on the rise in Australia. At the 2016 federal election, votes for minor parties hit their highest level since 1949. More than one in four Australians voted for someone other than the Liberals, Nationals, ALP or Greens in the Senate, and more than one in eight did likewise for the House of Representatives. First-preference Senate votes for minor parties leapt from 12% in 2004 to 26% in 2016.

The major parties are particularly on the nose in the regions. The further you drive from a capital city, the higher the minor party vote and the more it has risen.

Rise in protest votes sounds warning bell for major parties Figure 1 – Minor party vote over time by distance to the GPO. Grattan Institute

What’s going on? A new Grattan Institute report finds that the minor party vote is mostly a protest against the major parties. It’s a vote for “anyone but them” in favour of a diverse group of parties, often headed by “brand name” personalities.

Rise in protest votes sounds warning bell for major parties Figure 2 – Minor party vote by state 2016 election. Grattan Institute

So why are Australian voters angry? And why are they particularly angry in the regions?

Falling trust in government explains much of the dissatisfaction. Since 2007, there has been a significant increase in the share of people who believe that politicians look after themselves and that government is run by a few big interests.

Rise in protest votes sounds warning bell for major parties Figure 3 – Trust in government over time. Grattan Institute

The growing belief that government is increasingly conducted in the interests of the rulers rather than the ruled feeds voter disillusionment. Minor party voters have less trust in government than those who vote for the majors. And outsider parties have tapped into these concerns with their promises to “keep the bastards honest” and to “drain the swamp”.

Economic factors are less important than you might expect. The rise in the minor party vote doesn’t seem to be about stagnant wages or rising inequality: the vote grew most strongly when real wages were rising but inequality wasn’t. And the biggest increase in the minor party vote was between 2010 and 2013 – when Australians were more optimistic about their immediate financial future than at any other point in the past 15 years.

Read more: Discontents: identity, politics and institutions in a time of populism

But economics is still relevant. The minor party vote increased as unemployment rose, and minor party voters are more likely than others to have negative views about globalisation and free trade. The protectionist economic policies of many minor parties may therefore account for some of their appeal. And some of their anti-globalisation and “Australia first” rhetoric also taps into broader cultural anxiety about the pace and direction of change.

Many minor parties appeal to voters who don’t like the way our society is changing. Minor parties want to protect the cultural symbols and narratives associated with “traditional Australia”. They are more likely to oppose changing the date of Australia Day, for example.

These views are particularly prominent among One Nation voters: more than 90% of them strongly agree that maintaining an Australian way of life and culture is important. They are also much more likely to be sceptical about the benefits of immigration: about 50% of One Nation voters believe that multiculturalism has not been good for Australia, compared with 15% of Liberal/Nationals voters (the next highest group).

This sense of being left behind by the pace of economic and social change is more prevalent in regional Australia, where the minor party vote is higher and growing faster. Regions hold a falling share of Australia’s population and therefore of Australia’s economy.

Read more: Same-sex marriage results crush the idea that Australian voters crave conservatism

At the same time, Australia’s cultural symbols are becoming more city-centric: less about mateship and more about multiculturalism. People in regional areas are sensitive to this cultural change and are attracted to parties that promise to restore cultural and political power to the regions. Several of the more popular minor parties to arrive on the political scene in recent years – notably One Nation and Nick Xenophon – have gained higher support in the country than they have in the cities.

The rising minor party vote sends a signal to our major party politicians: Australians are not satisfied with politics as usual. Major parties seeking to increase their appeal should focus on what matters to voters: restoring trust and social cohesion.

Rebuilding trust will be a slow process. A period of leadership stability and policy delivery could go a long way. And improving the way we do our politics – reforming political donation laws and tightening regulation of lobbying and political entitlements – could help reduce the incidence of trust-sapping scandals and reassure the public that the system is working for them.

Politicians should also seek to dampen rather than inflame cultural differences. Politicians can lead by stressing the common ground between city and country and between communities with different backgrounds.

Failure to heed the warning will mean more elections where Australians unleash their displeasure at the ballot box.

Authors: Danielle Wood, Program Director, Budget Policy and Institutions, Grattan Institute

Read more http://theconversation.com/rise-in-protest-votes-sounds-warning-bell-for-major-parties-93068

Australia Today

Dry Carpet Cleaning Vs Steam Carpet Cleaning: Which one to Choose?

News Company

A clean carpet not only improve your interiors, increases your comfort around the office and home but also beneficial for your health. This is why it is necessary to choose the right way to do it. Either you can take the high road and do it yourself, or you can hire the professional to do the clea...

Read more

Creating research value needs more than just science – arts, humanities, social sciences can help

Rachel A. Ankeny, Professor of History and Associate Dean Research (Faculty of Arts), University of Adelaide

Actually yes, science and the arts do work together. from www.shutterstock.com This week we’re launching Making science for people, a series of articles that explores how humanities, arts and social sciences expertise is applied to problems typically corralled into the science and technology s...

Read more

Patriarchs on pedestals? How doctors are taught to improve their bedside manner

Mark Wilson, Associate professor, University of Wollongong

Student doctors need good role models to learn good patient communication. from www.shutterstock.comUp until around 30 years ago, in the days of paper patient files, doctors were on pedestals and patients generally did as they were told, in a more patriarchal model of patient care. Over 2,400 years ...

Read more

How the Anglican Church has hardened its stance against same-sex marriage

Muriel Porter, Honorary Research Fellow, Trinity College Theological School, University of Divinity

In the aftermath of the legalising of same-sex marriage in Australia, the Anglican Church has ramped up its discrimination against gay people to new heights.Not content simply with the discrimination built into the legislation – per ministers of religion to refuse to marry same-sex couples &nd...

Read more

rejecting neoliberalism shouldn't mean giving up on social liberalism

Richard Holden, Professor of Economics and PLuS Alliance Fellow, UNSW

shutterstockRichard Denniss’s Quarterly Essay, “Dead Right: How Neoliberalism Ate Itself and What Comes Next”, is a thought-provoking call to arms against an array of perceived ills – economic rationalism, market forces, small government, tax cuts, incentives, even corporate ...

Read more

Holidays & Travel

Dredging works underway Plantation Island

Tourists and workers travelling to popular tourist destination Plantation Island, Fiji, are set to benefit from safer access when marine channel dredging is completed at the end of June 2018...

Top 5 Tips for Traveling With Dogs

Travelling with your dog can be thrilling, but sometimes it can turn into a real nuisance. Unless you know how to properly restrain the pooch, whether it’ll be able to...

Top Island Destinations for 2018

When we picture island destinations in our minds, we often imagine a tropical beach of white sand, a sun lounger laid out in the shade of a line of palm...

Why Car Rental Excess Insurance is a Smart Choice

Some car rental agencies include basic damage cover in the standard rental fee, with the option to add on liability reduction, or excess insurance. The addition of excess insurance normally...

More Than a Third of Australians Feel 'Too Busy' With Work to Take a Holiday

New research from InterContinental Hotel & Resorts has unveiled a large number of Australians (32 percent) are simply too busy with work to take some much-needed rest and relaxation. Almost...

Matakauri Lodge and Mahu Whenua Lodge

TRIED, TRUE AND SOMETHING NEW  A luxurious accommodation package at Matakauri Lodge + Mahu Whenua Lodge South Island, New Zealand  Available 1 May, 2018 - 30 September, 2018   Central Otago, NEW ZEALAND –...

Heaven is the Adelaide Hills

Looking for a quick getaway? Enjoy food and wine? How about stunning countryside? Look no further! The Adelaide Hills has something for everyone. We flew to Adelaide for a weekend-getaway...

5 Amazing Australian Holiday Ideas

Australia is one of the most fantastic places in the world to travel, explore, and witness all of the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer. With so much rich...

Top Amenities You Enjoy by Renting Luxury Caravans for Road Trips

Do you love to undertake road trips? What the luxury cruises on the ocean are for ocean travelers, luxury caravanning is the same for land-lubbers. Traveling in a luxury caravan...

Fashion & Beauty

Simple Secrets To A More Confident Smile

We all know just how important first impressions are. After a handshake, what’s one of the first things people will notice about you? It’s your smile. A friendly smile is...

Improve Your Body Confidence and Feel Great

No matter how good you feel about yourself, sometimes you just can’t help but see a few little flaws that seem gigantic to you and make you feel self-conscious. Whether...

First-Timer Tips For Your First Lip Filler Appointment

Getting injectable lip fillers can be a quick and effective way to plump up your smile with minimal drama. They’re a cost-effective and safe way to boost the natural shape...

The Most Common Skin Conditions and How to Deal with Them

We often underestimate the importance of our skin, but as the largest organ in our body, and our primary layer of defense, it is constantly affected by many environmental factors...

Beach Babe Basics: Everything You Need to Look Stylish at the Beach

Summer is right around the corner, and this year, we all should make the best of it. Right now, it is not just about looking stylish on the streets, it...

Easy Dress-Up Tips for Lazy Girls

Look, getting all dolled up is fun, but you may not always be in the mood for it. Unfortunately, though, this is exactly when you are asked to go to...

HEALTH

My Health Yoga

Carrie-Anne Fields of My Health Yoga has taken her Gold Coast yoga teacher training worldwide. She started her health business 20 years ago aged 22 and has grown into a...

Fit Body 101 - Increase Your Fitness Effectiveness

You have to find some space for physical exercise in your weekly schedule in order to live a good life. Embracing this way of life is very beneficial because it...

The World of Dentistry: 5 Most Common Dental Procedures in Australia

Are you dissatisfied with the state of your pearly whites? Do you often experience discomfort and pain while eating and drinking? Well, be sure that you’re not the only one...

How You Can Conquer Your Dental Anxiety

Does the thought of going to the dentist fill you with dread? Well, you will be pleased to know that you are not the only one. A large number of...

Up and away: the impact of flying on your health

These school holidays, many people will take to the skies, unaware of the risks flying can pose to their health. Brisbane based house call doctor Ryan Harvey said it was important...

How to Lose Weight After 40

As you age, your metabolism slows down, which makes losing weight much harder. Additionally, your hormones start to fluctuate significantly, causing easier weight gain. Sticking to the same tricks you...

LIFE STYLE

Dry Carpet Cleaning Vs Steam Carpet Cleaning: Which one to Choose?

A clean carpet not only improve your interiors, increases your comfort around the office and home but also beneficial for your health. This is why it is necessary to choose...

Carpet cleaning: Things you need to know

Carpets are one of the most essential room interiors, and the kind of maintenance it requires is nothing worth comparison. We understand the importance of good health and hygiene at...

Get The Look: How to build a beautiful weatherboard home

Coastal, Queenslander and Contemporary Australia’s love affair with the weatherboard look can be seen in many of our historic and most popular styles – from the Queenslander to coastal and new...

The Fabrics That Make the Simple Indian Saree Sizzle

6 Yards of Sophistication and Sensuality Saree – an attire that can take you from boardroom to cruises; from kitchen to red-carpet; from lounging to marathon; from weddings to vacation –...

6 Tips for Mixing Design Styles Like a Pro

Each interior style is unique in its own way, creating a specific ambiance in our homes. While some accentuate simplicity and formality, others embrace playfulness and authenticity. Thus, you’re left...

Deborah Hutton: Designing My Dream Hamptons Inspired Home

Television presenter, magazine editor and media personality, Deborah Hutton is renovating her charming three bedroom house in Bronte, into her own Hamptons inspired forever home, with work due to be...

FOOD & DINING

Morning greens: the breakfast skincare regime

It’s safe to assume that most Aussies fail to eat enough greens. Although this was momentarily resolved with the rise and popularity of the green juice movement, the lack of...

Best Hidden Gem Hong Kong Restaurants

You finally find yourself enjoying the endless beauties of China and this fascinating city. In a place with so much variety, all your senses will be wide awake, and your...

JOHNNY DI FRANCESCO NAMED OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR OF EAT STREET MELBOURNE

Johnny Di Francesco, world champion pizzaiolo and owner of Melbourne’s Gradi Group of restaurants, is excited to announce he has been named official ambassador for Eat Street Melbourne 2018. As Ambassador...

The best Mother's Day gift EVER!

Whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion, or just wind down at the end of a long day, there’s nothing much better than pouring yourself a glass (or two…) of...

Sing for Your Supper at Chargrill Charlie’s

To celebrate the final curtain call of the Barden Bellas, Chargrill Charlie’s is giving you the chance to Sing for your Supper! Show off your best acapella vocals to win...

MAKE IT WINE TIME, ANY TIME

Whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion, or just wind down at the end of a long day, there’s nothing much better than pouring yourself a glass (or two…) of...