There are a lot of old people in Australia. How many? Well, 15.7 percent of the population is aged 65 or older, which works out to be about four million people. And as you might have noticed, it's a demographic that gets blamed for everything: from Australia's overheated housing market to the world's overheated climate. That's mostly because older people tend to vote more conservatively, but also because (as previously mentioned) there are lots of them.
So, to get a sense of how this group might vote in the upcoming election, we headed to a shopping centre in Melbourne's outer suburbs and asked. We quizzed them on who they're voting for, but more importantly, why.
Ronda, 63, Self-employed
Vice: Hey Ronda, who are you thinking of voting for in this upcoming election?
Ronda: I don’t know, I'm confused.
Oh really? Well, who have you voted for in the past?
Anybody at the time; no set one. I was going to vote for Hanson until all this rubbish happened. Now I don’t trust the main parties; I don’t want to vote for the main parties. I know that, but there's not much left now.
Has all the news and political media campaigns influenced who you will vote for?
Yes, it's made it more of a problem, because I was going to vote for Hanson because I believed in what she said. But now she’s got bad people around her. I trust her as a person, but I know you don’t vote on the person. But now that all this has come out—I'm confused. Otherwise I would have voted for her.
What don’t you like about what is currently happening in Australia?
The cost of living; people out of work—there's a lot of things I'm not happy about. I think they have lost touch with the everyday person, and they haven’t got a clue on how many people are struggling.
So, if you voted for a party it would be strongly due to the fact that they support everyday Australians?
Yes, that’s why it was going to be Hanson.
Rosemary, 67, Retired
Vice: Hey Rosemary, who are you voting for this election?
Rosemary: I'm still swinging. I don’t know; I'm still undecided.
So, how are you going to decide on a party then? Do you do your own research or get influenced by the news and mass media?
All of it influences me: I read, I look. I look at all the different policies and that’s my problem: I've been thinking too much.
What parties do you find have the most appealing policies for yourself?
There are a lot of things going for Labor. I have to say the Greens are out—I think they're a bit weird. But the Liberals, same thing: they each have good points and they each have bad. I have to make the decision of which is the better of the two.
How would you decide which is the better of the two?
That comes down to how it affects me and how it affects my family. We also look at things like the environment and whether they actually have the ability to carry out these things that they say they'll do. I also look at past performance. At 67 I've been around for a long time, and I've marched in my youth and did all these sorts of things. So that all comes into my decision.
Jaelyn, 70, Retired
Hey Jaelyn, who has your vote this election?
Jaelyn: I haven’t decided, but I'm not very happy with how the Liberal government has been performing. Like their advertising campaign: I think it’s actually not truthful. I'm tossing up between Labor and the Greens at the moment for my first preference—reason being that I actually do trust the economic credentials of the Labour party. The things being said by the Liberals are not true. I also find that the Liberal party is in total disarray, so I wouldn’t vote for them.
How did you come to this conclusion?
I do take quite a bit of interest in politics and I keep myself informed. I just find at the moment that I'm so fed up with all the yelling and shouting at each other. As soon as the news comes on I turn it off and I don’t listen to anybody; I form my own opinions. I read a lot of media and newspapers, I get my information through various channels. But I refuse to watch them on the television or watch any of the advertising.
Do you think Labor has a good chance of winning this election?
I think that there is a good chance Labor will get in. I think people are totally fed up with the way Liberals have been acting recently: they haven’t got any good policies, and I have to mention that climate change is a serious issue they seem to totally disregard. I'm concerned about issues such as the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. We shouldn’t have Adani creating coal mines in Queensland; we shouldn't be having the water issue, with the upstream irrigators taking all the water out. Leaving the Murray Darling system without water is wrong. I don't believe the Liberal party are into protecting the environment.
Peter, 65, Finance programming
Hey Peter, what party are you voting for this election?
What’s your reasoning?
How did this common sense come about?
When I was young I was very naive, and I voted Labor. I then realised what the world was all about. How the country runs, how the economy runs, and I changed my mind. I have voted Liberal ever since.
Do you think that they will win this year, like in previous years?
No, not a hope.
Why do you think that?
Because they seem to have less support than in previous years.
Graeme, 64, Federal government department
Hey Graeme, have you got any idea of who you are voting for this election?
What’s the reasoning behind that?
Well, I'm not strongly political, but I am very concerned about religious freedom. With a lot of those sorts of right-wing, conservative beliefs, they seem to be falling by the wayside of a lot of politicians. I do believe that the Liberal party upholds those beliefs stronger than others.
Do you agree with any other of their policies?
I don’t necessarily align with everything the Liberals believe in politically. I'm definitely opposed to many of the platforms that the Labor party has, but I find much more agreement with what the Liberals have got as their platform. My strongest underlining is that I am a Christian; I believe in those biblical values, those conservative values. Maybe some would perceive that to be extremely right-wing, but I don’t really care. That is what I look to see in any political party or Prime Minister.
How would you feel if a different party got elected in?
I would be disappointed, but I respect the fact that the majority of Australians have voted fairly for them. But it would concern me greatly if the Labor party get in. I believe a lot of their values that they uphold are rather socialist and left-wing, and they're clearly opposite to what I believe in.