Top election issues for older Australians

The next federal election will soon be upon us, with the big day constitutionally required by 21 May 2022. What are the issues older Australians are most concerned about? Will they decide to put a new prime minister in the lodge or keep the status quo?

Every election has the potential for change, but the events since the last federal election in 2019 have been truly historic.

The pandemic has been unlike anything in our lifetimes, unleashing health, social and economic consequences the likes of which most of us have never seen.

So will the events of the past three years cause older Australians to switch their vote? Or will they be looking for familiarity and be resistant to change?

Read: Experts call for ‘rights-based’ aged care system

The Morrison government has faced numerous challenges during the pandemic. Whether you think it has handled them well, and deserves another stint in power may depend on your priorities.

Those who prioritise the economy may have seen Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a steady hand guiding the country through turbulent times. If your focus is more on the physical and environmental health and wellbeing of Australia, then you may have a different attitude.

The YourLifeChoices Older Australians Insights Survey 2021 reveals what politicians might want to be focusing on ahead of the election battle.

When asked what would influence their vote, more than 60 per cent of the 7000-plus respondents aged 50 and over answered that health policies were a priority. This isn’t surprising in the era of COVID-19 and the pandemic is sure to affect voting patterns across the nation.

Read: Services Australia offering extra support for older Aussies

Just over 59 per cent indicated that changes to the aged care system could affect their vote while 56 per cent said an increased Age Pension or retirement income policies could sway them. Around 49 per cent said their vote could be influenced by economic policies in general.

Further down the list of concerns was the environment. World leaders met recently at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow to push the case for the world to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Australia’s contribution was conspicuously lacking, but was Mr Morrison simply reflecting the will of the Australian people? Only 39 per cent of survey respondents said environmental policies could influence their vote.

The results seem to reflect the sentiment among the wider population, regardless of age. A survey of 4010 people conducted by News Corp showed Australians on the whole are most concerned about health policies, with expanding Medicare to include more services a priority.

Read: Australian voters divided over Morrison government’s COVID performance

The split between older Australians who have already decided their vote, and those who haven’t, is virtually even. 50.09 per cent of older Australians answering the YourLifeChoices survey said they had already decided who they would vote for.

When asked who they voted for at the previous election, 43 per cent answered that they voted for the Liberal party and 32 per cent said Labor. Things have changed this time however, with only 36 per cent saying they intend to vote for the Liberals and just 28 per cent intend to vote for Labor.

More than one quarter (26 per cent) said they intended to vote independent. It seems voters on both sides of the political spectrum are not happy with the traditional political powers in Australia.

Are you closely following the posturing leading up to the next election? Are your priorities on the agenda? What issues do you care about the most? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Written by Brad Lockyer



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