The Albanese Govt at 12 Months: Poll Report
Kos Samaras is Redbridge's Director of Strategy and Analytics
It has been 12 months since Anthony Albanese was elected as this country's 31st Prime Minister. Notably, from this author’s perspective, he is also the first Australian Prime Minister to have a significant connection to the Mediterranean through his Italian father.
Based on numerous public polls, his government has been given a fairly good report card. Over the last 12 months, our own research has found that Australians appreciate that it’s a new government, focused on cleaning up a mess the previous Morrison government left behind.
Some commentators like to define this period as a political honeymoon but in reality, it’s like buying a new car. At first, you are excited by the change and willing to overlook some of the faults that you did not identify before the purchase. Over time, these faults become more of a nuisance and if not corrected, you end up selling the car.
Over the next 18 months, the Albanese government will need to show the Australian electorate that its willing to tackle some of the biggest existential threats faced by millions of voters across the country. Housing attainment, inflation, interest rate rises, cost of living and stagnating wages to name a few. To date, it has struggled to articulate its plans to address these issues. A fault that is tolerated right now but may become a major problem come 2025.
Our recent Victorian-based federal poll suggests the car is still new.
Labor’s primary is up from 32.85% last May to 41%. The Liberal Party have hardly moved, still hovering at around 28%, down 1% from the May 2022 election. It appears that Labor has successfully soaked up the ‘other’ vote, that opted for minor parties last year. Hence, it’s still vulnerable to another bruising experience in some of its once safer seats if people continue to struggle through the cost of living crisis. Within some of these electorates, mortgage delinquency rates have already doubled, and that’s before thousands of mortgagors move from fixed to variable interest rates later this year.
What should worry the Coalition about our poll is not the now predictable low primary vote but clear evidence as to which demographic groups are supercharging their electoral decline in Victoria.
The Liberal Party only secured 14% of all respondents who are not religious. This is a huge problem for them given their once strongholds through Melbourne’s eastern suburbs are now the least religious. It may in part explain the massive loss of seats throughout that corridor.
Furthermore, the Liberal Party’s support amongst the two largest ethnic groups adds more evidence to the hypothesis that what we are witnessing in Victoria is a structural decline and not a product of cyclical politics. They only secure 14% of Victoria’s Hindu population, whilst just managing 16% amongst respondents reporting as Buddhists.
The largest Indian Australian population is found in Melbourne. By the end of this decade, over 500,000 of them will be enrolled to vote in Victoria, whilst close to a million of them will call this state home. This highly skilled and educated community was in part largely responsible for at least half a dozen critical marginal seats being secured by the Dan Andrews’ Labor Party at last year’s Victorian election. As a community, the dwarf established European migrant communities that settled here during the 1950s and 1960s.
So in summary, the 3 demographic freight trains running through Melbourne’s suburbs are overwhelmingly turning off the Liberal Party (or were never with them). Non-religious, highly educated Millennials, Indian and Chinese Australians are the main catalyst behind the Liberal Party’s structural crisis in Victoria and as you can see, it’s clearly evident in our latest poll.