Hello again, political tragics. As we proceed with our 2019 profiling, the longer-term damage Labor has done to itself with working class men just keeps getting uglier.
The chart here tracks the declining profile of miners for the ALP since we first profiled national elections back in 1966.
In 1966 the Labor Party and Labour Movement were the same group in strong mining seats, such as Hunter, held by Labor MPs since 1910.
After male Tradies, male miners were the second most significant driver of the Labor 2PP vote in 1966. The strong mining seat of Hunter recorded a 1966 2PP vote for Labor of 74.4 percent, which was ten percent above the vote predicted by our 1966 model.
So Labor was not only winning the votes from miners, but winning extra votes from mining families, turning mining towns and cities like Newcastle and Broken Hill into Labor fortresses. If you worked in the mines, you were in the union and if you were in the union, you voted Labor and so did your family and your neighbours.
From 1966, the vote for Labor in mining seats began a long-term decline, with the profile for miners falling into negative territory in 1998. By 2019 male miners were as big a negative driver for Labor as they had been a positive driver in 1966. In other words, you were more likely to find miners in Coalition seats than Labor seats and the stats were significant to more than 99.9 percent confidence levels.
In 2019, the three seats with the largest 10 percent plus swings to the Coalition were Dawson, Capricornia and the above seat of Hunter, three of the top eight seats for male miners as a share of the male workforce.
The first two of these mining seats – Dawson and Capricornia – are now held by the Queensland LNP, with Hunter, the former rock-solid Labor seat now reduced to marginal status on 52.5 percent 2PP for Labor.
In fact, of the top eight seats for male miners, all but Hunter now elect non-Labor MPs.
To add insult to injury, when we were modelling the swings to the Coalition across these three mining seats, not only did they record ten percent plus swings to the Coalition, but these swings averaged five percent greater in each seat than the national swing model was predicting.
So miners are voting for the Coalition, so are their families and their neighbours. The model from 1966 has been turned completely on its head.
The mining fortress for Labor among working class men in the mines has fallen. Rebuilding it seems a task too far for the Labor party by 2022, if it remains fixated on fighting back the Green challenge to its MPs in its inner urban Green Left seats. The miners don’t want to pay for them anymore.
To quote Labor’s great Finance Minister from the Hawke Government WA Senator Peter Walsh: if you base your policy on the demands of a minor party, you are destined to become one.