Possibly one of the most greatest influences on the federal electoral climate at the moment are the combined effects of increased interest rates and changing petrol prices. While petrol prices have recently declined, they are still higher than they generally were before 2001 and it looks as if they’ll stay at a higher level for the forseeable future. According to today’s Australian, interest rates have climbed 4 times since the 2004 federal election and it doesn’t look as if they’ll decline in the foreseeable future.
Yesterday, the Financial Review ran an article (The Forgotten Casualties) on p 66 on the varied impacts of these increased costs on people, in particular when they can’t service their mortgage and a forced sale results. Next to the article was a graphic, that appears in this July 2006 report from the Urban Research Program at Griffith University, showing the variation across different parts of Brisbane of the level of these impacts. The most affected Brisbane suburbs were Burpengary, Browns Plains, Yamanto, Capalaba and Beenleigh and it was really striking that the impact was least in the inner suburbs and greatest in the outer suburbs, where, coincidentally, the Liberal Party holds a great many federal seats. In Brisbane alone, the Liberals hold the outer suburban seats of Blair, Moreton, Bowman, Petrie, Longman and Dickson.
The report includes graphics for the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth; if I were a strategist for the Liberal or Labor parties I’d be studying this report very carefully.
The electoral impact of the impacts of increased petrol prices and moreso higher interest rates, particularly in the outer suburbs could prove rich pickings for the ALP.
Update: I’ll upload the graphics here – the first is for Brisbane:
This is the graphic for the Gold Coast
This is the graphic for Melbourne:
And the final graphic is for Perth: