Chapter Ten:
The Inner Metropolitan Republic

Malcolm Mackerras


Perhaps it may be best to start with these overall voting statistics of the republic referendum. First, there were 12,392,040 electors enrolled to vote and the turnout was 95.1 per cent. Second, the total formal vote was 11,683,811 and the informal vote was 101,189. That meant the total votes cast were 11,785,000. Third, there were 42 seats voting 'Yes' (25 Labor and 17 Liberal) and 106 voting 'No'. In other words, majorities in 72 per cent of the seats said 'No'. Fourth, electoral divisions voting 'No' covered 7,686,103 sq km and those voting 'Yes' 6,259 sq km. Expressed in another way, seats voting 'No' covered 99.9 per cent of the area of Australia and seats voting 'Yes' covered 0.1 of one per cent of that area.

As is clear from the above, I say that electorates voting 'Yes' were exclusively from Australia's inner metropolitan areas. That is why I am calling this paper The Inner Metropolitan Republic. It needs to be admitted, however, that the Australian Electoral Commission does not define all those 42 divisions as 'Inner Metropolitan'. Rather, it defines 27 as being such, while 13 (Aston, Berowra, Boothby, Bruce, Calwell, Deakin, Fowler, Hotham, Jagajaga, Maribyrnong, Menzies, Ryan and Scullin) are defined as 'Outer Metropolitan'. Two seats, Cunningham and Newcastle, are defined as 'Provincial'. For more information see Table 4, below.

In the cases of Cunningham and Newcastle the AEC description as 'Provincial' is very difficult to defend. I would have thought the description 'Inner Metropolitan Wollongong and Newcastle' would be appropriate. It is a striking fact that Cunningham and Newcastle voted 'Yes' while all the outer metropolitan Newcastle and Wollongong divisions (Charlton, Dobell, Hughes, Robertson, Shortland and Throsby) voted 'No'.

In the cases of the 13 AEC 'Outer Metropolitan' seats which voted 'Yes', I can see how Ryan in Brisbane (238 sq km), Berowra in Sydney (463 sq km) and Calwell in Melbourne (234 sq km) might merit that description. However, the AEC describes both ACT electorates as 'Inner Metropolitan'. Canberra has an area of 1,900 sq km and Fraser has an area of 535 sq km. For that reason my picture of the 42 seats voting 'Yes' is that every one of them may sensibly be regarded as inner metropolitan. No wonder they combine to cover only 0.1 of one per cent of Australia's land mass!

Altogether 14 seats classified as 'Inner Metropolitan' by the AEC voted 'No'. They were Banks, Blaxland (Paul Keating's old seat), Cook, Fremantle (Carmen Lawrence!), Hindmarsh, Lilley, Moreton, Parramatta, Perth, Port Adelaide (Mick Young's old seat), Reid, Stirling, Swan and Tangney. Still, while monarchists may rejoice at the result in a seat like Blaxland, it has to be admitted that the Queen was, as they would say, 'done like a dinner' throughout inner metropolitan Australia -- and in every State.

Meanwhile the republic was massively rejected everywhere else.

The above observations may sound rather partisan. Tables 1 and 2 record the situation in formal terms.

 

Table 1: Formal Votes and Percentages for Republic Referendum

State/Territory

'Yes'

'No'

Total

Formal

Votes

%

Votes

%
New South Wales 1,817,380

46.4
2,096,562

53.6
3,913,942
Victoria 1,489,536

49.8
1,499,138

50.2
2,988,674
Queensland 784,060

37.4
1,309,992

62.6
2,094,052
Western Australia 458,306

41.5
646,520

58.5
1,104,826
South Australia 425,869

43.6
551,575

56.4
977,444
Tasmania 126,271

40.4
186,513

59.6
312,784
Australian Capital Territory 127,211

63.3
73,850

36.7
201,061
Northern Territory 44,391

48.8
46,637

51.2
91,028
Australia 5,273,024

45.1
6,410,787

54.9
11,683,811

 

Table 2: Formal Votes and Percentages for Preamble Referendum

State/Territory

'Yes'

'No'

Total Formal

Votes

%

Votes

%
New South Wales 1,647,378

42.1
2,261,960

57.9
3,909,338
Victoria 1,268,044

42.5
1,718,331

57.5
2,986,375
Queensland 686,644

32.8
1,405,841

67.2
2,092,485
Western Australia 383,477

34.7
720,542

65.3
1,104,019
South Australia 371,965

38.1
604,245

61.9
976,210
Tasmania 111,415

35.7
200,906

64.3
312,321
Australian Capital Territory 87,629

43.6
113,293

56.4
200,922
Northern Territory 35,011

38.5
55,880

61.5
90,891
Australia 4,591,563

39.3
7,080,998

60.7
11,672,561

Since two questions were put to the people the Preamble result is also recorded here. The fact that the formal vote was some 11,000 less for the Preamble is another way of saying that the Preamble's informal vote was some 11,000 greater than for the republic. It can be seen from Table 3 opposite that its 45.1 per cent affirmative vote gave the republic a rank of 30 out of the 44 referendum questions put since Federation. In other words, there were 14 proposals getting less overall support than the republic which, in any event, was markedly more successful than the Preamble. The dismal defeat of the Preamble was shown by its 39.3 per cent affirmative vote, placing it at number 38 when ranked by national 'Yes' percentages. In not a single electorate (not even in Bennelong) was support for the Preamble greater than for the republic. Now please excuse me for writing no more about it. The less said about the Preamble the better!

If readers should wonder why only formal votes and percentages are shown, there is a good reason. It relates to the accepted interpretation of section 128 of the Constitution. The fourth paragraph of that section actually reads:

"And if in a majority of the States a majority of the electors voting approve the proposed law, and if a majority of all the electors voting also approve the proposed law, it shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent".

When I first read those words (as long ago as 1951) I assumed that the 'Yes' vote must exceed the combination of 'No' and informal votes both nationally and in four States. Otherwise the proposal would be deemed to have failed. Certainly the words create that impression.

Table 3: Referendum Results Ranked by National 'Yes' Percentages

  Subject Date Government

% 'Yes'
1 Aboriginals May 1967 Non-Labor

90.8
2 Senate elections Dec 1906 Non-Labor

82.7
3 Retirement of judges May 1977 Non-Labor

80.1
4 Referendums May 1977 Non-Labor

77.7
5 State debts Nov 1928 Non-Labor

74.3
6 Senate casual vacancies May 1977 Non-Labor

73.3
7 Simultaneous elections May 1977 Non-Labor

62.2
8 State debts Apr 1910 Non-Labor

54.9
9 Social services Sep 1946 Labor

54.4
10 Aviation Mar 1937 Non-Labor

53.6
11 Marketing of primary products Sep 1946 Labor

50.6
12 Terms of senators Dec 1984 Labor

50.6
13 Industrial employment Sep 1946 Labor

50.3
14 Trusts May 1913 Labor

49.8
15 Legislative powers Dec 1919 Non-Labor

49.7
16 Trade and commerce May 1913 Labor

49.4
17 Communism Sep 1951 Non-Labor

49.4
18 Corporations May 1913 Labor

49.3
19 Industrial matters May 1913 Labor

49.3
20 Nationalisation of monopolies May 1913 Labor

49.3
21 Railway disputes May 1913 Labor

49.1
22 Finance Apr 1910 Non-Labor

49.0
23 Nationalisation of monopolies Dec 1919 Non-Labor

48.6
24 Simultaneous elections May 1974 Labor

48.3
25 Altering constitution May 1974 Labor

48.0
26 Democratic elections May 1974 Labor

47.2
27 Interchange of powers Dec 1984 Labor

47.1
28 Local government bodies May 1974 Labor

46.9
29 Reconstruction, democratic rights Aug 1944 Labor

46.0
30 Republic Nov 1999 Non-Labor

45.1
31 Prices Dec 1973 Labor

43.8
32 Industry and commerce Sep 1926 Non-Labor

43.5
33 Essential services Sep 1926 Non-Labor

42.8
34 Rents and prices May 1948 Labor

40.7
35 Parliament May 1967 Non-Labor

40.3
36 Monopolies Apr 1911 Labor

39.9
37 Legislative powers Apr 1911 Labor

39.4
38 Preamble Nov 1999 Non-Labor

39.3
39 Fair elections Sep 1988 Labor

37.6
40 Marketing Mar 1937 Non-Labor

36.3
41 Incomes Dec 1973 Labor

34.4
42 Local government Sep 1988 Labor

33.6
43 Parliamentary terms Sep 1988 Labor

32.9
44 Rights and freedoms Sep 1988 Labor

30.8

Note: Due to the majority of States requirement, all proposals supported by less than 54 per cent nationally were defeated. However, of the nine highest 'Yes' percentages only eight were carried. The 1977 simultaneous elections proposal was defeated because of 'No' majorities in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.

 

However, I checked the records and found that in September, 1946 the social services amendment was deemed to have been carried in all six States. Yet in three States it was not true that 'a majority of the electors voting approve the proposed law'. In Queensland the affirmative vote was 299,205, the negative vote 284,465 with 28,500 informals. In South Australia the affirmative vote was 197,395, the negative vote 184,172 with 17,734 informals. In Tasmania the affirmative vote was 67,463, the negative vote 65,924 with 11,493 informals. On an apparent literalist interpretation the social services amendment would never have been carried. It 'failed' in three States.

The explanation is that the relevant part of section 128 has always been interpreted as though it reads as follows:

"And if in a majority of the States a majority of the electors casting a formal vote approve the proposed law, and if a majority of all the electors casting a formal vote also approve the proposed law, it shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent".

Constitutionally speaking, informal votes have exactly the same status as votes not cast at all. Therefore, let me ignore informal votes entirely. However, when I use the expression 'the accepted interpretation of section 128' (see above) it should be noted that at least one man will dissent from me vehemently. Mr Justice Ken Handley (Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of New South Wales) has given me details of a Scottish case in 1921 (Latham v. Glasgow Corporation) which he claims settles the argument. The judges wrote:

"In terms of subsection (3) of section 2 of the Act of 1913, the effect of the poll depends on whether or not certain percentages of the total 'votes recorded' are in favour of a resolution or resolutions to a certain effect. The question which is raised is: What is the meaning of the expression 'votes recorded'?"

In brief, the judges decided the proposal had not been carried because the combination of negative and informal votes was high enough to counter the 'Yes' votes. When our High Court makes a similar finding in some future Australian case I shall change my analytical practices.

The 45.1 per cent affirmative vote means that the republic would have gained an overall national majority with a mere five per cent lift in its support. However, that would not have carried the republic proposal.

There are, in fact, seven different vote values in an Australian referendum. Seen from the pro-republic perspective the unfortunate fact is that, by and large, their support was greatest where vote values were least. By contrast, opposition to the proposal was strongest (again, by and large) in the States with the best vote values. A vote cast in either the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory has the same value as each other. However, such a vote has the least value of all since it is counted nationally but not by State. Of the seven values, therefore, the Territory vote is the least valuable. The second least valuable vote is that cast in New South Wales. At the other extreme of value is the vote cast in Tasmania. If we combine the two votes (ACT plus Northern Territory) we get 58.7 per cent Territory support for the republic. In other words the only affirmative vote among the seven was the one with the least value! On the theory of uniform swing, a national 'Yes' vote of 54 per cent would have seen success for the republic. It would then have carried the four States needed for passage -- Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. That would have left Queensland and Tasmania as the dissenting States.

It is often asked why the Australian Capital Territory was the only jurisdiction to record an affirmative vote. Throughout this paper readers will come to understand that the ACT has every feature which would predict its high republican vote. The three main characteristics are those of residence, socio-economic status and party. The republic was always a Labor cause, and the ACT is the most strongly Labor of the eight jurisdictions. The referendum result, however, was one in which the 'Yes' vote was essentially an inner metropolitan phenomenon with a link to high socio-economic status. As the most Labor, most inner metropolitan, jurisdiction, with high indexes of relative socio-economic advantage, the referendum vote in the ACT should cause no surprise.

Table 4: Electoral Divisions by 'Yes' and 'No' and by AEC Description

 

'Yes'

'No'

Total
NSW and ACT      
Inner metropolitan

13

5

18
Outer metropolitan

2

9

11
Provincial

2

5

7
Rural

--

16

16
Total

17

35

52
Victoria      
Inner metropolitan

9

--

9
Outer metropolitan

9

6

15
Provincial

--

4

4
Rural

--

9

9
Total

18

19

37
The rest      
Inner metropolitan

5

9

14
Outer metropolitan

2

14

16
Provincial

--

9

9
Rural

--

20

20
Total

7

52

59
Australia      
Inner metropolitan

27

14

41
Outer metropolitan

13

29

42
Provincial

2

18

20
Rural

--

45

45
Total

42

106

148

 

Table 5: Electoral Divisions by 'Yes' and 'No' by Party

 

'Yes'

'No'

Total
Labor

25

42

67
Liberal

17

47

64
National

--

16

16
Independent

--

1

1
Total

42

106

148

Before I leave the ACT (for the time being) it is worth noting a point from Table 6 below. The combined votes of the adjoining seats of Sydney and Grayndler give a higher 'Yes' percentage than the combined votes of Canberra and Fraser. The combined votes of adjoining Melbourne and Melbourne Ports give an even higher affirmative percentage. Thus we can say that inner metropolitan Labor seats in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra provided the heartland of support for the republic.

The point about place of residence is so clear from the aggregate data that recourse to opinion poll findings has not yet been necessary in my analysis. From now on that changes. I rely increasingly on the findings of the opinion polls. I contend that the second best predictor of the vote is by political party.

On the day (6 November, 1999) of the referendum itself The Weekend Australian carried the results of the Newspoll taken on 3-4 November. Overall they showed a 'Yes' vote of 47 per cent, a 'No' vote of 50 per cent and three per cent uncommitted. That was a moderately accurate prediction of the outcome, albeit an under-estimate of the magnitude of the republic's defeat.

Table 6: Electoral Divisions Voting 'Yes'

 

Seat

AEC Description

Area

(sq km)

% 'Yes'
Labor seats        
1 Melbourne (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

54

70.9

2 Sydney (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

63

67.9

3 Melbourne Ports (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

43

65.9

4 Grayndler (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

29

64.8

5 Fraser (ACT) Inner Metropolitan

535

64.5

6 Canberra (ACT) Inner Metropolitan

1,900

62.1

7 Batman (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

54

61.2

8 Wills (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

52

58.7

9 Brisbane (Qld) Inner Metropolitan

72

57.3

10 Chisholm (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

60

57.3

11 Gellibrand (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

75

56.9

12 Jagajaga (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

84

56.8

13 Maribyrnong (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

64

56.8

14 Lowe (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

53

56.6

15 Scullin (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

104

56.3

16 Kingsford-Smith (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

90

55.2

17 Bruce (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

64

54.5

18 Watson (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

33

54.4

19 Hotham (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

71

54.2

20 Calwell (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

234

53.9

21 Cunningham (NSW) Provincial

356

53.6

22 Denison (Tas) Inner Metropolitan

222

52.4

23 Fowler (NSW) Outer Metropolitan

53

51.9

24 Barton (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

39

51.8

25 Newcastle (NSW) Provincial

127

51.0

Average 'Yes' in Labor 'Yes' seats  

57.9

Liberal seats        
1 Kooyong (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

49

64.2

2 Higgins (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

39

63.7

3 North Sydney (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

42

61.3

4 Wentworth (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

26

60.2

5 Menzies (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

116

59.9

6 Goldstein (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

48

58.0

7 Adelaide (SA) Inner Metropolitan

66

56.4

8 Bradfield (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

98

55.6

9 Curtin (WA) Inner Metropolitan

93

55.5

10 Ryan (Qld) Outer Metropolitan

238

55.3

11 Bennelong (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

55

54.6

12 Warringah (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

61

54.5

13 Sturt (SA) Inner Metropolitan

65

53.7

14 Deakin (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

59

52.9

15 Boothby (SA) Outer Metropolitan

109

51.9

16 Berowra (NSW) Outer Metropolitan

463

51.7

17 Aston (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

101

51.6

Average 'Yes' in Liberal 'Yes' seats  

56.5

Total Area of 'Yes' Seats: 6,259 sq kms
Total Area of 'No' Seats: 7,686,103 sq kms

However, the truly interesting finding is on page 8 of The Weekend Australian. It showed Labor voters as splitting 61-38 in favour of the republic (with one per cent uncommitted), while Coalition voters split 62-35 against (with three per cent uncommitted). When the votes were actually counted the results were fully consistent with such a finding.

A useful exercise is to translate the October, 1998 general election vote into the November, 1999 republic referendum. I estimate that, of those who gave their two-party preferred vote to Labor in 1998, the split in 1999 was 57-43 in favour of the republic. Of those who gave their two-party preferred vote to the Liberals in 1998 the split in 1999 was 65-35 against. Finally, I estimate that 80 per cent of the 1998 National Party vote was cast against the republic in 1999.

In the absence of opinion poll findings the data in Tables 7 and 8 might not be so persuasive. However, when combining the two I think the estimates of the preceding paragraph are highly plausible. The terms 'Safe Labor' and 'Safe Liberal' refer to all those seats above 10 per cent on the Mackerras pendulum. For example, on the Labor side the strongest 'Safe Labor' seat was Batman and the weakest Fremantle. For the Liberal Party the strongest 'safe Liberal' seat was Bradfield and the weakest Indi. (Note: reference to the pendulum is to the one published immediately after the 1998 general election. Thus Bradfield was the strongest Liberal seat. However, boundary changes made recently weaken the Liberal vote in Bradfield. Thus the strongest Liberal seat going into the 2001 general election is the Victorian Division of Murray. By the same process the strongest Labor seat is Fowler, to which further references are made below).

On the night of the referendum John Howard was made to suffer from continual sneering references by broadcasters to 'the Republic of Bennelong'. As Table 6 shows, it was indeed the case that his inner metropolitan Sydney seat of Bennelong was one of the 17 Liberal seats to vote 'Yes'. However, it is clear that the Prime Minister had good reason to be pleased by the results, taken overall. With the exception of 'Safe Labor' seats, all categories turned in an overall negative vote. It is true that 'Safe Liberal' seats, taken as a whole, did not vote as solidly 'No' in 1999 as they had voted Liberal in 1998, as may be seen by comparing Tables 7 and 8. However, taking all the 64 Liberal seats together we find that the Liberal two-party preferred vote in 1998 was 57.2 per cent, while the 'No' vote in those seats in 1999 was 55.3 per cent. I shall return to the case of Bennelong in due course.

Virtually every Labor member of Parliament and office-holder advocated a 'Yes' vote. Consequently it should have been possible for the Labor Party to do better than persuade only 57 per cent of its 1998 supporters to vote affirmatively. That failure is the essential reason why the republic was defeated. It is best illustrated by what happened in the safe Labor seats, as shown in Table 9. The right-hand column in that Table, 'Relative Socio-Economic Advantage Rank', is a concept to which I shall return. The correlation is clear. The greater the socio-economic advantage of the seat the more likely it was to vote 'Yes'.

Table 7: Aggregates of Two-Party Preferred Votes

by Types of Seat, 3 October, 1998

Seat Type Number

Votes Preferring
Labor

Votes Preferring
Liberal-National

Votes

%

Votes

%
Safe Labor

36

1,826,903

67.3

886,584

32.7
Fairly safe and marginal Labor

31

1,257,986

54.2

1,060,895

45.8
Fairly safe and marginal Liberal

48

1,638,680

45.4

1,968,960

54.6
Safe Liberal

16

428,317

35.2

788,028

64.8
Independent

1

34,068

46.8

38,744

53.2
National Party

16

486,850

41.3

693,048

58.7
Total

148

5,672,804

51.1

5,436,259

48.9

 

Table 8: Aggregates of Republic Votes by Types of Seat, 6 November, 1999

Seat Type

Number

'Yes'

'No'

Votes

%

Votes

%
Safe Labor

36

1,477,580

51.4

1,396,615

48.6
Fairly safe and marginal Labor

31

1,091,302

45.0

1,331,151

55.0
Fairly safe and marginal Liberal

48

1,708,956

44.9

2,099,345

55.1
Safe Liberal

16

563,859

44.1

713,874

55.9
Independent

1

27,938

36.9

47,788

63.1
National Party

16

403,389

32.9

822,014

67.1
Total

148

5,273,024

45.1

6,410,787

54.9

The drop from the Labor vote of 67.3 per cent in safe Labor seats in 1998 (Table 7) to the 'Yes' vote of 51.4 per cent (Table 8) was very far from uniform. In the inner metropolitan 'Safe Labor' seats of Melbourne, Sydney, Grayndler, Fraser, Canberra and Kingsford-Smith the average drop was only two per cent. At the other extremity were the 15 'Safe Labor' seats set out in Table 10. Comparison of Tables 9 and 10 shows that the single most extreme case was Bonython, which turned in the highest 'No' percentage of all the 36 'Safe Labor' seats, as well as showing the biggest defection from the Labor vote. Bonython is also the most disadvantaged socio-economically.

Table 9: 'Yes' Percentages in Safe Labor Seats

  Seat

AEC Description

% 'Yes'

Relative
Socio-economic Advantage Rank
1 Melbourne (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

70.9

4
2 Sydney (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

67.9

3
3 Grayndler (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

64.8

12
4 Fraser (ACT) Inner Metropolitan

64.5

2
5 Canberra (ACT) Inner Metropolitan

62.1

1
6 Batman (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

61.2

22
7 Wills (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

58.7

17
8 Gellibrand (Vic) Inner Metropolitan

56.9

27
9 Maribyrnong (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

56.8

14
10 Scullin (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

56.3

19
11 Kingsford-Smith (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

55.2

9
12 Watson (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

54.4

26
13 Hotham (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

54.2

10
14 Calwell (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

53.9

21
15 Cunningham (NSW) Provincial

53.6

7
16 Denison (Tas) Inner Metropolitan

52.4

6
17 Fowler (NSW) Outer Metropolitan

51.9

35
18 Newcastle (NSW) Provincial

51.0

11
19 Prospect (NSW) Outer Metropolitan

49.8

25
20 Reid (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

49.0

33
21 Blaxland (NSW) Inner Metropolitan

49.0

32
22 Lalor (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

48.7

23
23 Holt (Vic) Outer Metropolitan

48.7

28
24 Fremantle (WA) Inner Metropolitan

48.3

5
25 Port Adelaide (SA) Inner Metropolitan

47.5

30
26 Perth (WA) Inner Metropolitan

47.4

8
27 Throsby (NSW) Provincial

46.9

29
28 Shortland (NSW) Provincial

45.4

18
29 Corio (Vic) Provincial

44.5

24
30 Charlton (NSW) Provincial

43.7

13
31 Chifley (NSW) Outer Metropolitan

42.2

34
32 Werriwa (NSW) Outer Metropolitan

41.8

31
33 Hunter (NSW) Rural

36.8

20
34 Brand (WA) Provincial

33.7

16
35 Lyons (Tas) Rural

33.5

15
36 Bonython (SA) Outer Metropolitan

33.3

36

 

Table 10: Rank Order of Loss of 'Yes' Vote

  Seat

AEC Description

'Yes'/'No' Majority
Loss (a)
1 Bonython (SA)

Outer Metropolitan

No

31.2
2 Chifley (NSW)

Outer Metropolitan

No

28.7
3 Brand (WA)

Provincial

No

28.6
4 Hunter (NSW)

Rural

No

27.9
5 Lyons (Tas)

Rural

No

27.1
6 Throsby (NSW)

Provincial

No

25.6
7 Fowler (NSW)

Outer Metropolitan

Yes

24.4
8 Blaxland (NSW)

Inner Metropolitan

No

23.1
9 Reid (NSW)

Inner Metropolitan

No

22.6
10 Lalor (Vic)

Outer Metropolitan

No

21.1
11 Werriwa (NSW)

Outer Metropolitan

No

20.9
12 Prospect (NSW)

Outer Metropolitan

No

19.9
13 Charlton (NSW)

Provincial

No

19.3
14 Gellibrand (Vic)

Inner Metropolitan

Yes

19.0
15 Port Adelaide (SA)

Inner Metropolitan

No

18.6

Average

No

23.9

(a) The term 'Loss' refers to the reduction from the Labor share of the two-party preferred vote in 1998 to the 'Yes' percentage in 1999. For example, in Gellibrand in 1998 Labor had 75.9 per cent of the two-party preferred vote. The 'Yes' vote in 1999 was 56.9 per cent so the loss was 19 per cent.

 

Kim Beazley was made to suffer the indignity of losing the referendum as well as having a disastrous defeat in his own seat of Brand (see Table 9). John Howard had to put up with sneers about 'the Republic of Bennelong' as well as watch 17 of the 64 Liberal seats turn in 'Yes' majorities (see Tables 4 and 5). There was, however, one leader who had every reason to smile. John Anderson succeeded in getting every one of his party's seats to vote 'No'. The extent of his success is shown in Table 11B below. In only one National Party seat did the 'No' vote fall below 60 per cent. That was in Richmond (NSW) where the member, Larry Anthony, was a self-proclaimed republican and advocate for a 'Yes' vote.

Before I go on to the National Party seats, permit me an aside. Several monarchist friends of mine watched the referendum-night coverages on television. They claim to have been struck by the republican bias of the commentators. I cannot express any view because I did not see any television that night. One point should, however, be made in defence of the commentators. If it is true that repeated references were made to 'the Republic of Bennelong' and no references were made to 'the Kingdom of Brand', that could be easily explained by the fact that the polls in Brand closed three hours later than in Bennelong.

I said above that 'I estimate that 80 per cent of the 1998 National Party vote was cast against the republic in 1999'. A major problem with estimating the National Party separately from the Liberals is that opinion polls typically lump the two together under the heading 'Coalition'. Where polls do distinguish, there is a strong tendency to over-estimate the Liberals and under-estimate the Nationals because voters do not really differentiate the two. That leads typically to very small and, therefore, unreliable samples of National Party voters. In the light of Tables 11A and 11B and such opinion polling as has been done, the 80 per cent figure is highly plausible, if unprovable.

Table 11: John Anderson--Total Success in 'No' Advocacy
A. Two-Party Preferred Votes in National Seats,
3 October, 1998

Seat

Votes Preferring Labor

Votes Preferring National

Votes

%

Votes

%
New South Wales        
Cowper

32,002

43.6

41,335

56.4
Farrer

24,493

35.4

44,733

64.6
Gwydir

24,330

36.4

42,480

63.6
Lyne

30,650

40.3

45,451

59.7
New England

25,377

37.1

43,086

62.9
Page

35,724

47.6

39,265

52.4
Parkes

33,617

45.9

39,638

54.1
Richmond

40,013

49.2

41,270

50.8
Riverina

25,801

34.7

48,552

65.3
Victoria        
Gippsland

30,445

41.2

43,506

58.8
Mallee

23,109

30.6

52,328

69.4
Queensland        
Dawson

35,375

45.6

42,228

54.4
Hinkler

35,933

49.7

36,423

50.3
Kennedy

29,341

38.8

46,254

64.4
Wide Bay

33,814

47.1

37,923

52.9
Total National Party seats

486,850

41.3

693,048

58.7

 

B. Republic Referendum Votes in National Seats,
6 November, 1999

Seat

'Yes'

'No'

Votes

%

Votes

%
New South Wales        
Cowper (4.2)

30,100

39.4

46,319

60.6
Farrer (1.5)

24,008

33.9

46,823

66.1
Gwydir (8.6)

19,274

27.8

50,081

72.2
Lyne (1.9)

31,045

38.4

49,785

61.6
New England (4.5)

23,328

32.6

48,203

67.4
Page (8.8)

29,925

38.8

47,213

61.2
Parkes (15.4)

22,592

30.5

51,549

69.5
Richmond (3.1)

39,208

46.1

45,790

53.9
Riverina (1.2)

25,701

33.5

51,017

66.5
Victoria        
Gippsland (6.3)

27,335

34.9

51,092

65.1
Mallee (1.8)

22,395

28.8

55,426

71.2
Queensland        
Dawson (14.6)

25,167

31.0

55,945

69.0
Hinkler (19.1)

22,989

30.6

52,031

69.4
Kennedy (9.0)

23,326

29.8

54,977

70.2
Maronoa (12.8)

17,944

22.8

60,610

77.2
Wide Bay (21.4)

19,052

25.7

55,153

74.3
Total National Party seats (8.4)

403,389

32.9

822,014

67.1

Note: The figure in brackets beside the name of each seat is the percentage differential between both (a) the Labor vote and the 'Yes' vote, and (b) the National and 'No' votes. In every seat the 'Yes' percentage was lower than the 1998 Labor percentage of the two-party preferred vote.

In Table 9 above there was a right-hand column headed 'Relative Socio-economic Advantage Rank'. Questions of social class, income and occupation are essentially ones of socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. Included in the relationship also are educational attainment (or lack of it), levels of skill, property ownership (or lack of it) and race. For example, Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders are the most disadvantaged, but renters and one-parent families are also disadvantaged. It is interesting, therefore, to measure the referendum vote against these criteria. Fortunately the Australian Bureau of Statistics has measurements of socio-economic advantage, economic resources, education and occupation. The Parliamentary Library produced, nearly a year before the referendum, its publication Socio-Economic Indexes for Electoral Divisions (Current Issues Brief, Number 4, 1998-99, December, 1998).

Back in Table 9 the 36 safe Labor seats were ranked by 'Yes' percentage and relative socio-economic advantage/disadvantage. The table showed that, of those seats, Bonython was the most disadvantaged (ranked at 36), Fowler the second most disadvantaged (35) and Chifley the third most (34).

It should be noted that the ranks in Socio-Economic Indexes for Electoral Divisions do not merely apply to the safe Labor seats. Of all the 148 electoral divisions, Bonython, Fowler and Chifley are the three most disadvantaged. Table 10 shows that these three electorates were striking cases of Labor's failure to persuade its own voters to say 'Yes'. However, a look at the other end of the scale is, perhaps, more interesting. Table 12 shows the 34 electoral Divisions with the highest Indexes of Relative Socio-economic Advantage, together with the party holding the seat and how it voted in the republic referendum. Notice the absence of Tasmania and the Northern Territory from the list. First, however, a quotation from page 2 of the publication explaining the index:

"The Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage includes variables that measure relative social and economic well-being. Indicators included are: high income families; professional occupations; tertiary educational qualifications; dwellings owned or being purchased; dwellings with a large number of bedrooms and a large number of motor vehicles. A higher score on this index means that the Electoral Division has a relatively large proportion of people with the above attributes (i.e., high incomes, professional occupations, tertiary qualifications, etc.). Conversely, a lower score on this index means that the Electoral Division has a relatively low proportion of people with these characteristics".

It will be noticed that 24 of the seats in Table 12 voted 'Yes' (16 Liberal and eight Labor) while only 10 voted 'No'. In other words, whereas all 148 electorates Australia-wide split more than two-to-one in favour of 'No', the 34 'rich' electorates split more than two-to-one in favour of 'Yes'. It is no surprise to learn that all 10 negative voting, high socio-economic advantage electorates are Liberal-held. The totals for the 16 'Yes'-voting 'rich' Liberal seats (Bradfield, Kooyong, Ryan, Berowra, North Sydney, Menzies,

Table 12: Electoral Divisions with the Highest Indexes of
Relative Socio-economic Advantage

Rank Division

Party

'Yes' or 'No'

Index
1 Bradfield (NSW)

Liberal

Yes

1261.4
2 Mitchell (NSW)

Liberal

No

1176.3
3 Kooyong (Vic)

Liberal

Yes

1168.2
4 Ryan (Qld)

Liberal

Yes

1151.0
5 Berowra (NSW)

Liberal

Yes

1149.0
6 North Sydney (NSW)

Liberal

Yes

1145.5
7 Menzies (Vic)

Liberal

Yes

1145.2
8 Curtin (WA)

Liberal

Yes

1143.0
9 Higgins (Vic)

Liberal

Yes

1123.6
10 Warringah (NSW)

Liberal

Yes

1120.2
11 Goldstein (Vic)

Liberal

Yes

1111.3
12 Tangney (WA)

Liberal

No

1110.9
13 Wentworth (NSW)

Liberal

Yes

1098.2
14 Canberra (ACT)

Labor

Yes

1097.5
15 Fraser (ACT)

Labor

Yes

1091.6
16 Bennelong (NSW)

Liberal

Yes

1083.7
17 Mackellar (NSW)

Liberal

No

1081.5
18 Hughes (NSW)

Liberal

No

1076.1
19 Cook (NSW)

Liberal

No

1068.5
20 Melbourne Ports (Vic)

Labor

Yes

1068.5
21 Jagajaga (Vic)

Labor

Yes

1065.6
22 Mayo (SA)

Liberal

No

1061.1
23 Chisholm ( (Vic)

Labor

Yes

1060.5
24 Moore(WA)

Liberal

No

1060.3
25 Pearce (WA)

Liberal

No

1056.8
26 Aston (Vic)

Liberal

Yes

1055.4
27 Boothby (SA)

Liberal

Yes

1053.2
28 Lowe (NSW)

Labor

Yes

1052.8
29 Moreton (Qld)

Liberal

No

1048.5
30 Sydney (NSW)

Labor

Yes

1043.3
31 Brisbane (Qld)

Labor

Yes

1043.1
32 Deakin (Vic)

Liberal

Yes

1042.2
33 Sturt (SA)

Liberal

Yes

1041.7
34 Macquarie (NSW)

Liberal

No

1039.1

Note: Divisions only appearing in Table 12 are shown in italics. They are Fraser, Moore, Pearce, Moreton and Macquarie.

 

Curtin, Higgins, Warringah, Goldstein, Wentworth, Bennelong, Aston, Boothby, Deakin and Sturt, mean index 1118.3) were 732,045 for 'Yes' (56.5 per cent) and 563,303 for 'No' (43.5 per cent). The totals for the 10 'rich' 'No'-voting Liberal seats (Mitchell, Tangney, Mackellar, Hughes, Cook, Mayo, Moore, Pearce, Moreton and Macquarie, mean index 1079.1) were 433,024 for 'No' (54 per cent) and 369,564 for 'Yes' (46 per cent). The total votes for the eight 'rich' Labor seats (Canberra, Fraser, Melbourne Ports, Jagajaga, Chisholm, Lowe, Sydney and Brisbane, mean index 1065.4) were 422,615 for 'Yes' (61.1 per cent) and 268,608 for 'No' (38.9 per cent). A crude analysis might be to say that the genus 'Yes' voter lives in an inner metropolitan suburb of Sydney (say, in Lowe or Sydney) or Melbourne (say, in Chisholm or Melbourne Ports) or Canberra, votes Labor, has a job with a 'high' income, a university degree, a middle-upper occupational status, is not old and was not born in the United Kingdom.

It will be noticed that the electorates named in the preceding sentence are Labor-held. Consequently the federal member was advocating an affirmative vote. Such was also the case for most of the Liberal seats where the member was saying 'Yes', for example Kooyong, North Sydney, Higgins and Curtin. Perhaps the most interesting cases, therefore, are the two 'Yes'-voting upper socio-economic advantaged Liberal seats held by the 'arch monarchist' members Tony Abbott and John Howard. It will be noticed that Warringah holds 10th place and 'the Republic of Bennelong' 16th place in Table 12 showing seats with the highest indexes of relative socio-economic advantage.

In conversations with me each of Tony Abbott and John Howard has made this claim:

"I estimate that about two-thirds of those who voted for me in October, 1998 took my advice and voted against the republic in November, 1999".

I (Malcolm Mackerras, that is) agree with that estimate, which is based on the view that the Labor voters in that kind of seat voted so solidly 'Yes' that each man could claim that a substantial majority of those who had voted for him at the general election took his advice and voted 'No' at the referendum.

Consider the case of Bennelong, where the two-party preferred vote in 1998 had been 42,075 Liberal and 33,013 Labor. At the referendum the 'Yes' vote was 43,950 and the 'No' vote 36,508. If nine out of ten of those 33,000 Labor voters did vote for the republic then the 'Yes' Liberal vote would have been, say, 12,000. On that basis, in other words, probably about two-thirds of those who had voted for him at the election did take the Prime Minister's advice at the referendum.

My analysis of voting at the 40 polling places within Bennelong and 34 polling places within Warringah does nothing to undercut the claim of either man. If we take the nine polling places within Bennelong where the general election vote was weakest for John Howard, we find the 'Yes' vote was 56.2 per cent compared with 54.6 per cent for Bennelong as a whole. If we take the seven polling places within Warringah where the general election vote was weakest for Tony Abbott, we find the 'Yes' vote was 54.1 per cent compared with 54.5 per cent for Warringah as a whole. In Warringah, however, a pattern can be found which does not exist in Bennelong. In Warringah, the further the polling place lay from the Sydney CBD the more likely it was to vote 'No'. Thus the outlying polling places of Allambie, Allambie Heights, Beacon Hill, Brookvale, Dee Why Central, Forestville East and North Manly voted 'No'. By contrast, Mosman West was the only inner city polling place in Warringah to reject the republic.

The seat which may be called 'the Republic of Warringah' is a Sydney Liberal seat with a monarchist member and it demonstrated the inner-outer polling place patterns described in the preceding paragraph. I decided to check the patterns of Griffith and Lilley in Brisbane, and Perth and Swan in Perth. All four have republican Labor members and all four voted 'No'. (To display my lack of bias I should refer to 'the Kingdom of Griffith', etcetera -- especially as this is a paper for The Samuel Griffith Society!) Nevertheless, all of Warringah, Griffith, Lilley, Perth and Swan have this geographic feature in common. They stretch from the CBD (or very close to it) to suburbs quite distant from it. In all five electorates, the further the polling place lay from the CBD the more likely it was to vote 'No'. Thus on every criterion by which it can be tested, the titling of this paper as The Inner Metropolitan Republic can be justified.

Let me call the 34 seats in Table 12 the 'Rich List' and make two further observations about it. The first is to compare Table 12 with Table 6, which gave details of the 42 seats which voted affirmatively. That table listed 25 Labor seats voting 'Yes', of which only eight are also on the 'Rich List'. (Sydney, Melbourne Ports, Fraser, Canberra, Brisbane, Chisholm, Jagajaga and Lowe). Then Table 6 gave 17 Liberal seats voting 'Yes', of which only Adelaide is not on the 'Rich List'.

The second observation about Table 12 is to notice how closely it correlates with Table 13, which shows all the seats where the 'Yes' percentage in 1999 was higher than Labor's share of the two-party preferred vote in 1998. Of the 34 seats on the 'Rich List' in Table 12, only five do not appear in The 'Yes' Gain Table 13. (The seats are Fraser, which voted 'Yes', and Moore, Pearce, Moreton and Macquarie, which voted 'No'). Conversely there are only five seats appearing in The 'Yes' Gain Table which are not on the 'Rich List'. (The seats are Adelaide, which voted 'Yes', and Murray, Moncrieff, Hindmarsh and Casey, which voted 'No').

At the other end of the scale it is possible to compile an equivalent 'Poor List'. I have taken the 15 highest ranked (i.e., poorest) seats from the table 'Electoral Divisions Ranked by the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage' from the same publication Socio-Economic Indexes for Electoral Divisions. The 15 seats on such a list comprise ten held by Labor (Bonython, Fowler, Chifley, Gellibrand, Port Adelaide, Oxley, Throsby, Reid, Blaxland and Braddon), four held by the National Party (Wide Bay, Cowper, Gwydir and Hinkler) and one held by the Liberal Party (Grey). Only two of these 15 seats voted for the republic (Fowler and Gellibrand), and in all cases the 'Yes' vote was well below the Labor share of the two-party preferred vote in 1998.

Table 13: The 'Yes' Gain Table

Rank Division

Party
'Yes' Gain

'Yes' % higher than Labor's

% Labor 2PPV

% 'Yes'
1 Bradfield (NSW)

Liberal

28.8

26.8

55.6
2 Kooyong (Vic)

Liberal

25.6

38.6

64.2
3 North Sydney (NSW)

Liberal

23.5

37.8

61.3
4 Higgins (Vic)

Liberal

23.3

40.4

63.7
5 Curtin (WA)

Liberal

18.8

36.7

55.5
6 Warringah (NSW)

Liberal

17.5

37.0

54.5
7 Mitchell (NSW)

Liberal

16.7

30.2

46.9
8 Wentworth (NSW)

Liberal

16.5

43.7

60.2
9 Goldstein (Vic)

Liberal

16.1

41.9

58.0
10 Menzies (Vic)

Liberal

15.3

44.6

59.9
11 Berowra (NSW)

Liberal

15.2

36.5

51.7
12 Mackellar (NSW)

Liberal

15.0

34.4

49.4
13 Ryan (Qld)

Liberal

14.8

40.5

55.3
14 Sturt (SA)

Liberal

11.0

42.7

53.7
15 Bennelong (NSW)

Liberal

10.6

44.0

54.6
16 Melbourne Ports (Vic)

Labor

10.1

55.8

65.9
17 Boothby (SA)

Liberal

9.3

42.6

51.9
18 Mayo (SA)

Liberal

9.1

40.1

49.2
19 Adelaide (SA)

Liberal

7.3

49.1

56.4
20 Cook (NSW)

Liberal

6.0

41.1

47.1
21 Aston (Vic)

Liberal

5.8

45.8

51.6
22 Chisholm ( (Vic)

Labor

5.2

52.1

57.3
23 Deakin (Vic)

Liberal

4.8

48.1

52.9
24 Hughes (NSW)

Liberal

4.7

44.5

49.2
25 Brisbane (Qld)

Labor

2.7

54.6

57.3
26 Murray (Vic)

Liberal

2.6

27.9

30.5
27 Tangney (WA)

Liberal

2.4

44.1

46.5
28 Lowe (NSW)

Labor

2.0

54.6

56.6
29 Canberra (ACT)

Labor

2.0

60.1

62.1
30 Moncrieff (Qld)

Liberal

1.8

37.2

39.0
31 Sydney (NSW)

Labor

1.0

66.9

67.9
32 Jagajaga (Vic)

Labor

0.9

55.9

56.8
33 Hindmarsh (SA)

Liberal

0.7

48.8

49.5
34 Casey (Vic)

Liberal

0.3

45.1

45.4
Note: Divisions only appearing in Table 13 are shown in italics. They are Adelaide, Murray, Moncrieff, Hindmarsh and Casey.

If we look back to Tables 9 and 10 we notice that Bonython and Chifley were the two seats where the Labor Party most conspicuously failed to persuade its supporters to vote 'Yes'. In Fowler and Gellibrand, too, the failure was there -- but not enough to deny 'Yes' a majority. What, then, are the characteristics of Bonython, Chifley, Fowler and Gellibrand (all safe Labor seats on the 'Poor List') which should produce such divergent results? Here again I turn to the Parliamentary Library and the publication Electorate Rankings: Census 1996 (Background Paper No. 14, 1997-98, March, 1998).

On the referendum vote, Chifley is the one closest to the typical electorate. With an Australia-wide 'Yes' vote of 45.1 per cent, we find Chifley on 42.2 per cent. By contrast, Gellibrand on 56.9 per cent and Fowler on 51.9 per cent were well above Australia as a whole. Bonython on 33.3 per cent was well below. It so happens that an examination of the rankings of relative socio-economic disadvantage shows Chifley as the seat among the four usually closest to the median ranking number 74. However, that is not always the case. For example, the population of Chifley is notably young. Only 5.6 per cent of its population was aged 65 years and over, compared with seat number 74 at 12.4 per cent. The median age of Chifley was 28, the third lowest in the country, whereas at seat number 74 the median age was 34. Another unusual characteristic of Chifley lies under the heading 'Proportion of One Parent Families with Dependent Children'. The Chifley figure is 15.1 per cent, the highest in Australia. Bonython comes in third at 14.4 per cent.

The three safe Labor seats other than Chifley (Bonython, Gellibrand and Fowler) provide an interesting contrast. In Bonython only 19.9 per cent of the population was of the Catholic religion. In Gellibrand and Fowler the figures were 33.8 per cent and 32.2 per cent, respectively. The proportion of persons of non-Christian religion in Bonython was 2.5 per cent. In Fowler the figure was 20.3 per cent, the highest in Australia. In Gellibrand the figure was 9.8 per cent, the 11th highest. The proportion of persons of 'No Religion' in Bonython was 28.3 per cent, the highest in the country.

In terms of place of birth, Fowler was highest in Australia by proportion of persons born overseas, being the only electorate where a majority of the population was in that category. On that score the percentages for Fowler, Gellibrand, Chifley and Bonython were 51.3 per cent, 40.1 per cent, 30.6 per cent and 28.1 per cent, respectively. Every one of the top dozen electorates by birth in the United Kingdom and Ireland turned in a 'No' majority. Surprise! Surprise! Among these, Bonython came in at number four, the proportions for Moore, Brand, Canning and Bonython being 22.4 per cent, 19.8 per cent, 18.2 per cent and 16.3 per cent, respectively. In Chifley, very close to the median, the figure was five per cent, while in Gellibrand and Fowler the proportions were 3.7 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively. Gellibrand and Fowler were in the top 15 by birth in Southern Europe, Gellibrand (fifth) at 13.2 per cent and Fowler (15th) at 8.9 per cent.

However, where Fowler and Gellibrand really stand out are in the descriptions 'Proportion of Persons Born in South East Asia' (Fowler first, Gellibrand second); 'Proportion of Persons Born in Non-English Speaking Countries' (Fowler first, Gellibrand eighth); 'Proportion of Persons Born Overseas and Australian-Born persons with Overseas-Born Parents' (Fowler first, Gellibrand 10th, with Fowler the only electorate where more than two-thirds of the population met that description); 'Proportion of Persons Not Fluent in English' (Fowler first, Gellibrand third); and 'Proportion of Persons Speaking a Language Other Than English at Home' (Fowler first, Gellibrand ninth, with Fowler the only electorate where more than 60 per cent of the population met that description).

The inferences from the foregoing are clear. Very poor electorates like Gellibrand and Fowler will vote 'Yes' because of their high ethnicity and relatively high non-Christianity and (where Christian) Catholicity. By contrast, a very poor electorate like Bonython will vote solidly 'No' because of high proportions born in the United Kingdom and low Catholicity. Yet all three are among the four electorates with the highest unemployment rates. At the 1996 census the unemployment rates of Fowler, Bonython and Gellibrand were 17.9 per cent, 16.2 per cent and 16.1 per cent, respectively. There was only one other seat with an unemployment rate above 15 per cent, namely the National Party seat of Cowper (NSW) which, of course, also rejected the republic.

Finally I return to the title of this paper, which says it all. This was quintessentially The Inner Metropolitan Republic. A part of Sydney such as the Division of Fowler was correctly described by the Australian Electoral Commission as 'Outer Metropolitan'. Fowler voted for the republic, however, only because of its exceptionally high ethnicity.