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The guardians

Living in a marginal seat, I get polled a lot and I only expect that to increase during this methuselean campaign which has already kicked off before the starter’s gun has been fired.

Tonight’s poll at about 7:15pm on a landline:

Hello, I am from Q&A Market Research and we are conducting a survey in your electorate.

Who commissioned it?

I don’t know…we are Q&A. Does that help?

Not really.

Would you be prepared to answer a few questions…it won’t take long.


How many voters live in your house?


How many of them are aged between 18 and 34?


Are any of them male?


Could I speak to him…or if not a female will do.

They aren’t here

Is there a time that would be better to ring back?

I doubt they would want to talk to you

Is there anyone else who would be willing to do the survey?

I will

What is your age group?


Thank you for your time. We have enough in your age group.

A great deal has been written about the burden of the retiring baby boomers and the problems of dealing with an aging population. Should we increase the pension age? Should we freeze superannuation contributions? Should we send price signals about going to the doctor? Should we change indexation of pensions?

I have not yet retired but I certainly hope to soon and be buggered if I will be considered a burden or a supplicant!

If I need assistance in my retirement it’s because society said women should stay at home, it’s because you didn’t pay maternity leave, it’s because I had to work part time to see to my family, it’s because banks wouldn’t give me a loan, it’s because I am a single parent, it’s because employers didn’t pay superannuation….these are not excuses, they are the reality of a woman my age’s life even if not for all.

You can manipulate your polls however you want. You can try to sell your lies. You can ignore we oldies, dismissing us as a problem that you will deal with by cutting services.

But you cannot keep us quiet.

You cannot fool us as easily – we have more time to check up on what you are telling us. We have opinions. We have long memories and lots of experience, some of it bitter, which makes us look for truth. We have children and grandchildren and that makes us protective. We are the volunteers. We are the carers of elderly parents, disabled spouses, and our children’s children. We are the guardians of a legacy.

And we have learned to use computers.


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  1. stephentardrew

    Wonderful post Kaye.

  2. leonetwo

    Speaking as an age pensioner – we haven’t just learned to use computers, we invented the PC. Of course we know how to use the damn things. Think about that next time some patronising 25 year old tells you to get someone to go online and sort something out for you.

  3. Kaye Lee

    And let’s hope that 25 year old uses the things we invented and the education we provided to benefit humanity even further.

  4. Vote Labor

    Polling 18 – 34 via landline? Curious.

  5. Matters Not

    You can manipulate your polls however you want

    Not just ‘polls’ but personality tests as well. Done any number of Myers-Briggs over the years with ‘evil’ intent.

    Seems as though I have 16 different personalities. And more in fact because I ‘bordered’ on many occasions.

    As for the more important point re the ‘debt’ owed by previous generations to the current, and future generations, I think that this cultural ‘debt’ concept needs to be explored in much greater depth. Particularly when consideration is given to the notion(s) that previous generations not only provide the ‘culture’ to be transmitted’ but also the capital, technology and like which allow same.

    After all we don’t want future to be ‘leaners’ do we?

  6. thebustopher

    I took that poll about three or four days ago. I’m in Dobell, which is quite marginal, and I’m male 50-55

    But I think you’re being a bit paranoid. When you choose a sample, it should reflect the demographics of the population, so if say 10% of the electorate are 20-30, and female, then if the sample has 10% 20-30 females it will unskew the data. You’re already skewing the data by using the landline to make the calls anyway, this is just trying to get a sample that reflects the demographics more closely.

    If they keep getting females 55+ on a landline, and that’s all they poll, the results are going to be horribly skewed and therefore inaccurate.

  7. John Kelly

    Poor fella me. I’m retired and I live in a safe liberal seat held by that massive waste of space called Kevin Andrews. My vote only has value in the senate.

  8. Matters Not

    thebustopher, I think KL is well aware of statistical bias. And ‘research methods’.

  9. Anzac Bikky

    Ditto…but I have Greg Hunt…arrrrrgh!

  10. MichaelW

    Yaye go Kaye…

  11. Paull Alekna

    @Vote Labor
    There’s an app for that…

  12. margcal

    I’ve got Josh Frydenberg.


    > If I need assistance in my retirement it’s because society said women should stay at home, it’s because you didn’t pay maternity leave, it’s because I had to work part time to see to my family, it’s because banks wouldn’t give me a loan, it’s because I am a single parent, it’s because employers didn’t pay superannuation….these are not excuses, they are the reality of a woman my age’s life even if not for all.

    Story of my life :-/


    Does anyone have the latest figures on how much worse off age pensioners are or will be under this government or its proposals?
    Whenever anyone tells me they plan to vote LNP I want to make it personal and ask them, “So you’ll be OK with me being $???? worse off?”

  13. Wally

    The thing that would piss me off the most with that call is why not ask up front if there are any males between 18 – 34 available to answer a survey instead of stuffing around wasting time. Callers seem to think people are just sitting around waiting to answer the phone.

  14. Garth

    KL, you continue to impress 🙂 Of anyones opinion, be they young/old, male/female, married/single etc, yours is certainly one they should be listening to. I certainly do. Thank you.

  15. Pamela

    I think you have all got of easy I have Christopher Pyne… Grrrr they are currently running a survey here too, must be afraid his seat has gone, it was one of those automated ones where you select a number to respond… Q1. Do you think Christopher Pyne has done a good job? NO Q2. Will you vote for Christopher Pyne next election? NO A few more questions on who will you vote for… second last question male or female… female… last question your age group… 50+

    At least I got to participate… 🙂

  16. Kaye Lee


    In previous surveys I have been a 32 year old woman who voted Liberal at the last election 😉 You get to learn the answers they want to hear.

  17. babyjewels10

    Hear hear!

  18. z

    You cannot fool us as easily – we have more time to check up on what you are telling us. We have opinions. We have long memories and lots of experience, some of it bitter, which makes us look for truth. —I can’t agree more with you about this, Kaye ! hopefully, less dementia and better memory in elderly

  19. Douglas Pye

    Statistics…Lies … & … Polls !! … great article Kaye … Thanks … 🙂 …

  20. Jane Pullenvale

    It’s classic divide and conquer. I was trying to explain to a young friend (I am a part pensioner who owns her own home, by dint of hard work, and living frugally) who is one of those who blame us for “having it easy”, it’s not us who are to blame, it is the governments you have elected, who spent our surpluses, squandered our one opportunity to have a decent return for our resources, gave away taxes which would have sustained the network of support, in vote buying to the aspirationals, ignored the black economy, rewarded the tax avoiding richest freeloaders, and encouraged a society driven by greed and fear.
    The divisions between social progressives like Labor and Greens, and between generations, are playing right into their hands, and I cannot believe it is not a deliberate and long- tail strategy of the Coalition.

  21. Kaye Lee

    I just got polled AGAIN. This is going to be a looooong campaign. This time it was an automated poll done by the ALP asking age, sex, voting intention and the certainty of same, and the one most important issue to you – climate change was not one of the options.

  22. JeffJL


    I think we have somebody in George Christensen’s electorate who regularly posts. They would “win”.

  23. jimhaz

    [You can ignore we oldies]

    And so we should when it comes to voting. With an aging population, with increasing asset wealth (power), their proportion of the vote will be out of kilter with needs of the young.

    We all know that the older one gets the more conservative one becomes and the more fearful one becomes. Such a group should not dominate politics – so in my view I’d exclude 80+ year olds from the electoral role or as that is a bit harsh, maybe make it non-compulsory for 65 and over to reduce the number of votes.

  24. OzFenric

    Perhaps Labor feels that those for whom climate change is the most important issue will vote Green by default. Nevertheless, this is very disappointing – but not new. As a past Labor member, climate change has been an also-ran in their communications for some time.

  25. Kaye Lee

    “We all know that the older one gets the more conservative one becomes and the more fearful one become”

    Who is “we”? I have certainly not become more conservative or more fearful at all. Experience has made me more thoughtful, more confident, more tolerant, and definitely more at ease. Your assertion that older people will only represent their own best interests perhaps says more about you than it does about some group attitude. By far the most important thing to me is the future I bequeath.

  26. OzFenric

    “The older one gets the more conservative one becomes and the more fearful one becomes…” Statistics shows us that older groups are more conservative, but this may not indicate an effect of age. It’s not necessarily about people changing their opinions, it’s that a particular cohort of conservative people are ageing into the older age brackets. However, excluding older groups from voting because their views aren’t representative of the needs of the young, is a contravention of democracy as we know it. Like it or not, Liberal voters are Australians too, and if their opinions are in the majority, the rest of us have to put up with it. The way forward is to educate them on the outcomes of their policies – the damage it does to the young, and to Australia’s future – and trust that they have better natures.

  27. cornlegend

    Kaye Lee,
    good to know as an old bloke I’ve mellowed 😀
    My experiences and yours differ slightly ,
    I don’t do that keep calm shit.

  28. cornlegend

    Actually if that’s the case, it probably is a trade off .
    All the old farts I know are pretty active and militant .
    My problem is finding many under 30s who are very politically aware,and even rarer to find a union member amongst them

  29. jimhaz

    @ cornlegend

    [All the old farts I know are pretty active and militant]

    As are most of the retired public servants I know. Not militant though, just up to date socially.

    But then there are the Tea Party types, who seem mainly to be 50+

    Of the plus 50 pre-retirees, yes many of us are more militant in attitude than ever before – due to more vicious modern management and work practices. Where I work many non-Yes folk have been viewed as not pliable enough (as we know better) and many made redundant, mostly replaced in promotional opportunities by contractors who lack judgement, take themselves far too seriously and are unquestioning super obedient types.

    [My problem is finding many under 30s who are very politically aware, and even rarer to find a union member amongst them]
    Yes that is a problem – I really hate the decline in unionism. Mind you the closest I came to being politically aware when in my 20’s was probably listening to Redgum.

    Not a good enough trade off in my book.

  30. Kaye Lee


    I read your link…did you?

    Aside from it being about the Conservative Party in Britain, and thus taking into account non-compulsory voting, they conclude…

    “Explanations of electoral change based on generational shifts may be neat, but they are not necessarily accurate. Our scepticism about them is reinforced by the fact that social liberalism has not historically been a very strong predictor of vote choice in Britain. It is also more weakly related to age than one might imagine: social class, education and religiosity are also important predictors of these attitudes.”

  31. Kaye Lee

    Should we ban the poor, those without tertiary qualifications, the religious… along with the 65+? Should we ban unionists or non-unionists?

  32. Lee

    Good points Kaye. The problems facing many women approaching retirement have arisen as a result of choices made decades earlier, based on laws and customs that were in place at the time. I would hope that these problems are considered when planning for younger generations, so that more people are not caught in the same traps.

  33. jimhaz

    Nope I didn’t read it. This conclusion was sufficient.

    “This means that the Conservatives probably shouldn’t be too worried about their support base thinning out and being replaced by younger, less conservative generations. If history repeats itself, then as people get older they will turn to the Conservatives. Our evidence suggests that this is probably not due to “social ageing” (getting married, having children or an increasing income), but rather to the direct psychological processes of ageing that tend to make people more resistant to change. This, in turn, makes people gravitate towards parties that defend the status quo”

    Try this article instead.

    I know it says “Research suggests that there may be some link between ageing and conservatism, but this has never been conclusively proven” but honestly I take that with a truckload of salt. My whole of life anecdotal evidence knows it to be fact.

    [Should we ban the poor, those without tertiary qualifications, the religious… along with the 65+? Should we ban unionists or non-unionists?]

    Groan. Today you are arguing like a woman scorned.

    No we shouldn’t. This is about the self-interest factor and the increasing wealth of the elderly. If you want better government policies you will not get them as the percentage of the aged population increases. You know this.

  34. Lee

    @ Kaye and Jimhaz

    It has been mentioned on AIMN previously on a number of occasions that the Liberal Party got a lot of their votes in the 2013 election from the over 55s. I find it difficult to comprehend why anyone would vote Liberal unless they are looking after their own interests and don’t care about anyone else, even their own children.

  35. Kaye Lee

    A minute ago you said “Anecdotal evidence is (relatively) meaningless.” but now I should accept your “whole of life anecdotal evidence” as fact? Arguing like a woman scorned? I am not looking for adoration here, just expressing a point of view that may not totally coincide with yours. “You know this.”

    Today you are arguing like a man

  36. Kaye Lee

    I will concede that there are some people whose only aim in life is to accumulate more wealth. I will also concede that many wealthy people will belong to older age groups.

    What I will NOT concede is that those people are representative of all 50+s. I do not agree that there is insufficient diversity to warrant listening to them. I think recent retirees grew up in a different world so past experience does not apply. I also think today’s older people are more curious and ready to learn new things. Our children face different existential challenges that we must start addressing now.

  37. jimhaz

    🙂 I knew you’d comment on the anecdotal evidence comment. I tried to differentiate my comment with yours by saving “whole of life” to mean what I have observed over the years about other people, not your anecdotal comment relating to how you personally feel.

    [Today you are arguing like a man]

    I hope so. Most of the time you do as well – as in less overtly emotional and more typically objective than many females.

    The problem is perhaps my textual inexactitude and propensity to assume my generalisation will be taken as intended. I don’t apologise for generalising in this fashion, and never will.

  38. Kaye Lee

    Do you have any idea how offensive that comment was?

  39. OzFenric

    Look out under the bridge!

  40. jimhaz

    It is not just a problem in regards wealth.

    The average older person would support increased spending on terrorism prevention – to the possible detriment of say Gonski or NIDS. This is what the conservative LNP have done.

    I’d say this is because the older one gets the more frail one becomes. This fragility leads to fear and fear can extend in all facets of their life eg it can lead to wealth hogging for fear of needing the money for medical problems or something like that.

    It is not that older people shouldn’t be listened to (eg lots of the AIMN supporters are aged) but that their view as a voter group should be given less weight when it comes to federal government policy.

    I actually like the idea of making it non-compulsory for over 65. That way those with strong enough views liberal or conservative would still vote and those who were less interested would not.

    [Do you have any idea how offensive that comment was?]

    I couldn’t care less about that. I am not an opportunistic male who will use the modern over-the-top bullshit feminism to enhance my social standing, so I call it as I see it. Those traits are more commonly associated with males to a higher degree. You read this as me saying they are absent in females, that no female can be objective, when I’m not.

  41. Kaye Lee

    I very much doubt apology for anything is high on your list jimhaz but you have paternal patronisation down pat. How silly of me to not accept your generalisations. How presumptuous to try to introduce some other ideas. How could my “feelings” ever compete with your omniscient observations.

    Would it be overstepping my boundaries to point out that a man’s idea of arguing all too often involves violence and putdown? Perhaps you need a little more subjectivity in your “objective” assessment.

    So I should feel complimented when you say I usually argue like a man? Note how I am not swearing. Consider it read. Or would that be too “emotional”.

  42. Wally

    I think cornlegend made a good point earlier about the lack of unionism in the younger generation, this could contradict any assumption that older people are more likely to vote for a conservative party.

    And the word conservative can differ in meaning within the same context, (“older people are conservative voters”) one writer could be asserting that older people are averse to change while another writer could be referring to older people holding onto traditional values.

    Being adverse to change does not necessarily mean older people will vote for a conservative party, it could mean they are most likely to vote for the party they have always voted for.

    Dissecting the meaning of traditional values is even murkier, my traditions being raised in a working class inner suburb would be very vastly different to the values of someone raised by a rich family in Toorak.

    Older people are definitely more conservative but assuming this has any influence on which party they will vote for is foolish.

  43. Lee

    The reason younger people give for not joining unions is not that they are anti-union, rather they consider that all the achievements are done and dusted. It doesn’t occur to them that we could lose all of our hard-won entitlements. Rest assured, they’ll soon whinge and whine when those entitlements get taken away.

    I’ve noticed that migrants, especially Asians/Indians don’t join unions either. They are busy saving every cent they can. That’s another group that will whine non-stop when those entitlements are lost. They lurve working shifts and public holidays for those penalty rates.

  44. jimhaz


    It is always only a percentage that would change voting preferences due to aging. Men for example lose testosterone as they age, thus some may become more sympathetic and more inclined to policies that are fairer.

    For many though life may not have been that easy and whether they succeed or not they may gradually move to harder or more selfish attitudes, and vote conservative. Others may simply be tired of change in the form of increasing political correctness, or excessive government or attacks upon their religious belief systems and vote for the more old school mob.

    It is foolish to think that aging and wealth does not change most mentally as well as physically.

    The stats prove it. Just look at the table.

  45. Matters Not

    jimhaz, if I were you, I’d ‘give it a rest’. And No, I won’t even try to explain why. ?

  46. Wally


    The figures from the link you provided are interesting, this survey was in August 2013 just prior to the last election that the LNP won so it is not surprising that the LNP lead in this poll. Would be interesting to compare with a survey taken just prior to Labor winning an election.

  47. jimhaz

    [jimhaz, if I were you, I’d ‘give it a rest’. And No, I won’t even try to explain why]

    Yep. I’ve just done some research and couldn’t find much that would back up my case.

    It would seem that I’m wrong. What I have observed is due to other factors, such as the affect of parenthood and shifting goalposts.

    Ohhh well I shall have to suffer the opinionated fools disgrace. Tar and feathering anyone?

  48. Matters Not

    rather they consider that all the achievements are done and dusted.

    Possibly. But why do Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Police and the like all belong to a Union or a ‘collective’ under any other name.

    Same applies to ‘Employers’ across the board. The number of Employer organisations is large. Try Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Federation of Employers and Industries (AFEI) as examples only.

    Employers become members of various organisations because they realise that ‘collective action’ is essential to achieving ‘outcomes’. It’s because of the belief in ‘collective action’ that we have the IPA, the Liberal Party as well as the Greens and the Labor Party.

    As ‘educators’, broadly defined, we have some way to go. ? I’m sure a bit of ‘history’ would help.

  49. Wally

    Matters Not

    Very good point, we should be pushing to stop individual contracts/bargaining, this is how employers undermine workers to erode wages and conditions.

  50. Matters Not

    we should be pushing to stop individual contracts/bargaining

    Not sure about that. Seems to me that we shouldn’t be in the business of forcing anyone to do anything. At best, that approach is short-term and counter productive in the longer term.

    What I think we ought to do is ‘educate’ them. Get them to ‘understand’ the historical and current practical realities of acting alone. Certainly employers understand that. It’s why they belong to ‘organisations’.

    Am always amused when ‘conservative’ politicians talk about the importance of ‘individualism’ while being an enthusiastic member of a political party and engaging in ‘collective action’ as they follow the ‘party line’.

  51. Wally

    Matters Not

    The LNP through Work Choices attempted to stop collective bargaining but while in power Labor introduced the Fair work act which allowed collective bargaining but many industries like accounting firms still force employees into individual contracts. Employees must sign a confidentiality statement so no one in the workplace or employees at other accounting firms know what they are being paid. If no one in the industry knows what others in that industry are being paid how can you know you are being paid a fair wage/salary?

    No amount of education can overcome being left in the dark.

  52. Sir ScotchMistery

    @Paull Alekna

    “Vote Labor” indicates to me a person who does just that with no real attention to the reasons. But that’s just me reading you putting a capital on Labor, as opposed to labor.

    So, why should anyone vote labor, since they are just the alternative liberal party.

    I would be happy to do so again, but those crafty little buggers will just keep screwing us anyway.

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