The real reason Western Sydney voted No



Here is a complete list of wrong reasons as to why Western Sydney voted No (and the one right one).

Since the marriage plebiscite result was announced a myriad of pundits have put their two cents in. Unfortunately, their analysis revealed themselves ignorant of the region.

“It was the Muslims.”

This is obviously wrong. Only four of the twelve no voting Western Sydney seats have a significant Islamic population. Blaxland, Watson, Banks and Barton. Even in all those seats Catholics outnumber Muslims.

“It was the ethnics who struggled with the language barrier.”

Four of the electorates which vote No do not have a significantly larger migrant population when compared with the rest of Sydney. Chifley, Greenway, Bennelong and Mitchell. The electorate of Mitchell, which encompasses The Hills, is one of Sydney’s more “white” areas.

“It was the poor.”

Some of the No electorates have amongst the lowest aggregate incomes in Sydney. But neighboring Western Sydney electorates of similar income, Macarthur and Lindsay, voted Yes. Conversely, No voting Mitchell and Bennelong both have higher than average incomes. Mitchell is one of the wealthier electorates in Australia.

The real reason

The common stream amongst the No electorates is adherence to religion. Some of these religious are Muslim. Some are Hindu in Greenway and Parramatta. But the vast majority of these religious are Christian. Orthodox in the south west, Protestant Chinese in the East, Catholics throughout all the electorates.  And Mitchell is the home of Australia’s most famous Pentecostal church, Hillsong.

The evidence of this can be seen in an increasingly more religious flavor to Western Sydney politics in recent elections. The Christian Democratic party recorded primary votes of over 10% in three Western Sydney state electorates in 2015 (its vote in the rest of the state was around 2%). The Islamic community has also finally mobilized with the Australian Muslim Party headed out of South West Sydney.

As Australia moves away from Religion, Western Sydney is embracing it. Expect repercussions.