Keen Crikey psephologists may recall North Sydney being described as “troubled” early in the campaign. The story was that “leaked ALP polling” showed sitting member Joe Hockey being threatened.

Not according to the bookies. Joe Hockey is at $1.10, the ALP’s Mike Bailey is $5.75, the Green’s are quoted at $101.00 and the Climate Change Coalition is a tempting $2501! But, yes there is “chatter”. It is not about interest rates. Why bother? The stock market rose 1% post the RBA decision. Invested cash is looking healthier. And anyway for the doctor’s wives (who provide the rump of the Greens’ support in North Sydney and adjoining Bennelong) it is “vulgar to discuss money”.

No for the ladies who lunch and wear black tennis dresses to funerals it is “WorkChoices” that has got the chattering gear into overdrive. “Young people are being disadvantaged” one hears. But these North Shore mums are not talking about their own – educated at private schools and selective High Schools situated in North Sydney and adjacent Bennelong- being “exploited” by unscrupulous bosses. So why the chatter about “that man Howard” and WorkChoices? Psychologists, as compared with psephologists, might suggest a new phenomenon is in play here, “free floating resentment”.

A curious species of class hatred is simmering amongst the solidly wealthy of North Sydney. It is ignited by the perceived – and resented- “suburban” or “common” persona of John and Janette. It is offensive for North Sydney matrons to contemplate that their wealth is in any way due to “that man Howard” and his eleven years in office.

So how express your resentment? Well why not show you “care” about people you have never met being in a situation you have no knowledge of? Ergo, emote about “young people and WorkChoices”.

The Greens are aware of this “free floating resentment” amongst their privileged constituency. Their campaign literature letter-dropped in North Sydney highlights “Environment and WorkChoices”. John Howard knows – and has publicly stated – that he is aware that “people are concerned – even though they are not personally affected”.

There will be a strong Green vote in North Sydney. Joe Hockey will be returned. But the Doctor’s Wives will publicly feel good about their protest vote. Privileged status and class hatred will remain happily in harmony in the electorate adjacent to Bennelong.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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