Elder Participation and Senior Power in Australian Electoral Politics Academic Article uri icon


  • This article seeks to assess the "goodness of fit" between the social science literature on the impact of older voters on electoral outcomes and the Australian experience of the politics of aging. While the literature suggests that the notion of senior power is a flawed one, Australia's 2004 federal election campaign indicated that this is not quite so. This article offers a possible explanation for the difference between the literature and the Australian experience in terms of the calculus that underpinned the election campaign, namely, capturing the votes of swing voters in marginal seats including "silver" swing voters in seats with a disproportionate number of older voters. The preliminary findings of a small exploratory study of campaign strategists suggest that there may be a real basis to this explanation. Thus, there does appear to be some basis for asserting that "gray power"does play a role in Australian national electoral politics.

publication date

  • October 13, 2008