Monash University
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Boatpeople and the 2001 election

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-05, 04:14 authored by Betts, Katharine
In the wake of the Tampa incident in August 2001 the Coalition Government developed tougher policies on border control. Many commentators believe that this cost Labor the November 2001 election. The theory is that, even though Labor supported the new policies, the Coalition’s stance was perceived to be more sincere and that this lured away some of Labor’s working-class voters. At the same time, some new-class professionals who would normally have voted Labor were repelled by its support for the Coalition’s policies and voted Green or Democrat. Data collected by the 2001 Australian Election Study (AES) provide some confirmation for this theory, but they also point to a boarder shift in Australia’s electoral politics. National identity was an election tissue in 1996 and again in 2001. On both occasions this worked well for the Coalition. The AES shows that people who feel close to Australia and are proud to be Australian are more likely to vote for the Coalition, while Labor draws a higher level of support from the minority of voters who have a more distant relationship with their country. Copyright. Monash University and the author/s


Date originally published



People and place, vol. 10, no. 3 (2002), p. 36-55. ISSN 1039-4788

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