As the wash up from the Voice to parliament vote continues, it is apparent that Australia is a country divided.

But the division runs much deeper than a Yes or a No.

A close analysis of the votes from the Voice to parliament referendum – and those from the last federal election – shows a nation deeply divided by demographic factors such as wealth, location and political preferences.

Of the top ten electorates by average net wealth per capita, based on data from Roy Morgan, nine voted Yes. The outlier was Scott Morrison’s seat of Cook.

Of the 10 poorest electorates, all 10 voted No.

The two wealthiest electorates – Sydney’s Wentworth and Warringah both recorded Yes votes of around 60 per cent, while the Yes vote in electorates with the lowest household incomes – Queensland’s Hinkler, Tasmania’s Lyons and Grey in SA – recorded a Yes vote of just 20-30 per cent.

Speaking on ABC TV, Tony Barry from polling firm RedBridge Group said:

“I think it is pretty clear patterns about income earning and its impact on the vote, especially in the cost-of-living crisis where it’s really hard to communicate through that prism.”

He added: “If you want to win a campaign that is proposing significant social reform, that pathway, that road, needs to go through not Smith Street, Collingwood but Smith Street, Melton in its scope, through Penrith and not Balmain.”

The results show a distinct divide between inner-city areas and outer metropolitan, regional and rural areas.

Of the electorates with a majority Yes vote, all except two were in urban, inner-city, metropolitan areas.

The two exceptions were Cunningham, which takes in a significant portion of Wollongong, and Newcastle in NSW, both major regional centres with city-like characteristics.

The location-based divisions run deep – the Yes campaign won in seats on both the east and west coasts, but failed to win a single electorate in the centre of Australia – covering the NT and SA.

Victoria had the highest number of Yes-voting electorates, at 13, followed by NSW with 10.

All three electorates in the ACT voted Yes, along with three in Queensland, and two each in WA and Tasmania.

The highest proportion of Yes votes was recorded in Greens’ leader Adam Bandt’s electorate of Melbourne. The Yes vote in Melbourne sits a 78.05 per cent.

Following Melbourne, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s seat of Grayndler, in the inner west of Sydney, recorded the second highest Yes vote at 74.47 per cent.

The third highest Yes vote came from the seat of Sydney, with 71.03 per cent of votes in favour of the Voice to parliament.

Sydney is held by former Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek.

The six electorates with the highest percentage of No votes are all in Queensland.

Maranoa, a seat that takes in the southwest corner of Queensland and is held by Nationals leader David Littleproud, recorded the highest No vote, at 83.99 per cent.

Across all states and territories the highest percentages of No votes tended to be found in rural or regional locations, with a lower percentage No vote recorded in most outer metropolitan areas.

Mr Barry’s colleague, Kos Samaras, a director of RedBridge Group tweeted: “The class dynamic is emerging in the result. During the campaign, we warned repeatedly on this dynamic. You cannot achieve social change in this country unless class politics is at the centre of Australian politics.”

Political preferences also played a key role in the referendum, with every seat that voted Yes held by either the Labor Party, the Greens or an independent.

No Liberal-held electorates recorded a Yes majority vote across the entire country.

Age also played a factor in the referendum outcome, Mr Barry said.

The three seats with the highest proportion of people aged 20-34, which are Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, all recorded strong Yes votes.

In electorates with a high proportion of over 65s, including popular retirement areas such as Lyne on the NSW mid-north coast, Hinkler on the Queensland south coast and Gippsland in rural eastern Victoria, the Yes vote was much lower, at around 20-25 per cent.

If the outcome of this referendum has shown us anything, it is the widening gulf between the rich and poor, the urban and rural and the young and old.

For a nation that prides itself on being egalitarian, Australia faces a deeply divided future if what divides us becomes stronger than what unites us.


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By Rahul

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