Study shows Labor in chaos
Working-class Australians - the very foundation of the Labor Party - are abandoning the ALP in droves because they think the party has been overrun by "woke ideals" and "white-collar university educated yuppies".
Private research commissioned by the NSW Electrical Trades Union - which was itself just taken over by the Left this week - has found a quarter of union members surveyed no longer vote Labor and a further 35 per cent reported decreasing support for the party.
Incredibly, almost one in five said the Liberal party better represented working people.
The document, exclusively obtained by news.com.au, confirms what many in the party have been quietly warning about for years - that among blue-collar voters Labor is perceived as elitist and out of touch, pandering to inner-city interests that drive their traditional base away.
The research was commissioned by the NSW ETU - before its left-wing takeover - and conducted by a firm called Redbridge that is run by former Victorian assistant ALP secretary Kos Samaras.
It found an astonishing number of blue-collar workers - proud union members no less - are abandoning the party because of its perceived preoccupation with fringe issues that have no relevance to them.
The mainstream disconnect is exactly what key Labor figures such as former Right faction leader and Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon, WA Premier Mark McGowan, NSW leadership contender Chris Minns and Bankstown MP Tania Mihailuk have warned about but there has been little hard data until now.
It also has grave implications for the Upper Hunter by-election in NSW which is a litmus test for state Labor leader Jodi McKay and will also determine if the Coalition is plunged into minority government.
The survey of almost 1500 ETU members plus four in-depth focus groups in western NSW, the Hunter region, the Sydney metro region, and Wollongong found the perception of Labor as captive to trendy inner-city issues is killing the party.
"Support for the Labor Party among ETU NSW members has markedly declined in recent years - around 60 per cent of survey respondents report a decrease in their support with 25 per cent indicating they no longer vote Labor," the report said.
"Nearly a fifth of respondents now see the Liberal Party as the major party that best represents working people like them."
The staggering results are driven by a sense that Labor is no longer focused on the "bread and butter" issues of jobs and wages and instead preoccupied by issues such as gender, climate change and "identity politics".
"The party is seen to have drifted away from issues most important to participants (job security, wages and rights at work), in favour of 'woke ideals' - i.e. the issues of inner-city marginal seat voters - at their expense. Labor has lost its purpose."
The survey found 42 per cent of union members saw "gender issues" as the biggest distraction to what government should really be focusing on, followed by climate change at 34 per cent.
"When asked what issues they see the Labor of today focused upon, participants consistently spoke about 'marriage equality', 'gender rights', 'identity politics' and, most commonly, 'carbon emissions' and 'climate change'."
Critically, the research found the respondents did not think these issues were unimportant, merely that they were given too much focus at the expense of more important issues.
"They talk about the interests and values of 'greenies' and 'inner city' people dominating - 'woke' culture seems to have supplanted 'working' culture in Australia. There is a consciousness that blue-collar workers, like them, are seen as backward 'knuckle-draggers' by those who flick a switch a expect the power to come on with no interest in what goes on to make that happen."
The workers wanted Labor to fight harder for their workplace rights - better wages, job security, quality control and the right to strike - but even more so to fight for their jobs instead of arguing about climate change and other ideological preoccupations.
One participant said, "I feel betrayed or cheated by the Labor Party. They've made a big push for carbon neutrality, catering to leftists in inner city Melbourne or Sydney. F**k you, we'll vote Pauline Hanson or Clive Palmer."
Another said they felt Labor is "going to f*** you out of your job". And yet another said, "The Liberals might be coming for our rights, but Labor are coming for our jobs."
The research found Labor MPs were seen to be a different class of person to the workers interviewed. "It's like talking to aliens," one said. They "meet at flash inner city pubs, not in Port Kembla", are "not from the shop floor", are "white-collar, university-educated yuppies" and "don't believe in the same stuff I do … they're diametrically opposed".
Labor was also seen as being at odds with people of faith.
"I'm a Christian … I agree with them on the working conditions stuff, but disagree with the identity politics stuff," one participant said.
Workers also felt it was bad politics for Labor to be "dragged" into "all the culture war s**t".
In other words, working-class people want Labor to do better and are trying to send a message about the harm they see happening to its support in their communities. "People who would typically be Labor voters feel quite alienated by the marginal policies and not hearing anything that sounds like it'll help them," the report said.
And if they're not hearing anything from Labor maybe it's time Labor finally heard them.
Originally published as 'Betrayed': Study shows Labor in chaos