Some of the Liberal Party’s biggest losses this election were in seats with big Chinese-Australian voter populations so it looks like all the anti-China rhetoric did some damage. What a surprise.
The voter swing away from the Liberal Party in some inner Sydney and Melbourne suburbs home to many Chinese-Australian residents was up to three times larger than the statewide average. New data shows this swing might’ve been crucial to Lib losses in the key seats of Bennelong, Reid, Parramatta and Chisholm.
Labor won the formally safe blue seat of Bennelong which saw a massive 13 per cent swing away from the Liberals in the suburb of Eastwood where 38 per cent of residents have Chinese ancestry.
The Libs also recorded big losses among Chinese-Australian voters in seats it retained but only narrowly.
Liberal member Alan Tudge copped an 11 per cent primary vote swing in his Melbourne seat of Aston and said the party’s rhetoric on China was probably the reason.
“Members of the Chinese community interpreted some of our language as being too strong and we had a backlash from that,” he said.
The Coalition doubled down on its anti-China rhetoric earlier this year ahead of calling the federal election and kept it up during the campaign.
Scott Morrison was pushing a Communism scare campaign, suggesting China’s Community Party wanted Labor in power, saying Labor “takes China’s side” and calling (and then withdrawing) Labor MP Richard Marles a “Manchurian candidate”, implying he’s a political puppet controlled by China.
Australia’s relationship with China is pretty dicey rn, which has been said to have major ripple effects for Chinese-Australian voters.
Director of the Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership at the Australian National University Jieh-Yung Lo told the Sydney Morning Herald the Chinese-Australian community had been left feeling like collateral damage.
“When the bilateral relationship is in trouble, we are the first to feel it,” he said.
Lo said many were also not fans of the extremely not-cool militaristic language former defence minister Peter Dutton had used.
In Melbourne’s seat of Menzies, which comprises of the suburb of Box Hill where 35 per cent of residents are Chinese, the Libs held on but only just.
Incoming Menzies MP Keith Wolahan said Chinese-Australian voters in his electorate told him the Coalition’s anti-China stance and language was a turn-off.
“They did tell us that they felt the language at times from the government was insensitive.”
Can’t believe this needs to be spelled out to the Libs but yeah turns out when you hang shit on a country for months people from there get fed up.