So, some loudmouth luvvies, part-time Aussies who regularly burn jet fuel as they cross the Pacific and the great and good of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, have put their names to an ad in the Wentworth Courier urging Environment Minister and Wentworth MP Malcolm Turnbull to reject the $2 billion Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania.

It’s all right for some, in Bondi and Bronte and Bellevue Hill – but how does life compare between Wentworth and timber territory?

Who are these people to deny the economic aspirations of Tasmanians – particularly as the scales are already tilted unevenly?

The results from the last census haven’t all been crunched yet so we need to run off 2001 figures and the 2003 electoral boundaries, but here are some key comparisons between the Tasmanian seats of Bass and Braddon and the home turf of the Wentworth whingers.

They’re OK. It’s tougher in Tassie.


Wentworth had the ninth lowest unemployment rate out of the country’s 150 federal electorates in 2001, 4.3%. In contrast, Bass had the 125th highest – 9.7% – and Braddon made it into double digits, 11.7%, the 143rd highest. Wentworth had the 18th lowest youth unemployment at 12.5%. In contrast, Bass had the 140th worst at 21.8% and Braddon the 147th with 24%.


Braddon had the ninth lowest median weekly family income in Australia in 2001 – $688 – while Bass had the 26th lowest, $760. In contrast, Wentworth residents enjoyed the third highest – $1,649. Only 10.5% of families in Wentworth had weekly incomes below $500, the fifth lowest in the country. Twenty nine point six per cent of families in Bass had incomes below $500, the 123rd highest level. This rate rose to 33.7% in Braddon, the 141st highest. Wentworth had the third lowest number of individuals in the country with a weekly income below $1,000. In contrast, 93.2% of the population of Bass fell into this category – the 134th highest rating in the country – along with 94.1% of Braddon residents, the 141st.

Not that it seems to matter to the pious in the Prius.