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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Who voted 'No'?

By comparing the same-sex marriage postal survey results with Commonwealth electoral districts and the results returned for them for the 2016 Census, we can get an idea of why a number of places - especially in western Sydney - voted 'No'. You can click on the table below to see an enlarged version. I've included all federal electorates that returned a 'No' vote of above 50 percent.

We can see that the places that voted 'No' were often urban or periurban areas with large populations of people who gave "Islam" or "Hindu" as their religion in the 2016 Census. There are exceptions to this, of course, including the electorate of Banks (which includes suburbs like Padstow, Revesby and Oatley), Bennelong, which has a large population of recent Asian migrants, and Mitchell, which includes the Hills District in northwestern Sydney, which is where the Hillsong Church is based.

The pattern is the same in Melbourne for the two electorates that functioned in this way there, but there seems to be less ghettoisation in the southern capital than there is in Sydney. Or perhaps the social dynamic is completely different. Maybe belonging to a football club makes all the difference..

Apart from these largely urban areas, the places which voted 'No' were all rural electorates in Queensland, including the town of Toowoomba. The huge rural seats of Kennedy (Bob Katter country) and Maranoa (which incorporates large swathes of southern and western Queensland) voted 'No'.

In the other states and territories, the large concentrations of people with strong religious views doesn't seem to have changed the vote. Or, perhaps in those cities these agglomerations don't exist.


The second table, below, shows a number of urban and periurban federal seats in Melbourne that voted 'Yes' and their religious make-up, again using ABS figures from the 2016 Census. This table shows that even where the Islamic component of the population was large, the electorate still voted 'Yes'. It should be noted however that the percentage of the populations in these electorates that is Islamic does not exactly compare to the proportions you find in Sydney.


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