Jun 4, 2014

Country for old men? A parliamentary snapshot

Which political party is full of spring chickens, and which is moving gracefully into later years? Are our senators older or younger than our lower house MPs? Crikey intern Jake Stevens takes a look at the demographics of our august chambers.

Crikey Intern — The next generation of <em>Crikey</em> journalists.

Crikey Intern

The next generation of Crikey journalists.

With its tightening of the Youth Allowance and funding cuts to universities, the Abbott government seems intent on making life a lot harder for young people. As we prepare to bid farewell 12 Senators from the upper house on June 30, we thought we’d take a quick demographic snapshot of the Australian Parliament to find out who exactly is running the country. This shows the current House of Representatives and the outgoing Senate. And for those who are wondering, the LNP's Wyatt Roy, at 24, is the youngest in the House of Representatives by seven years -- and he would have to sit in Parliament for another 38 years until he has been a member for as long as Coalition colleague Philip Ruddock has.

Interested in some of the finer details of what makes up our Parliament? Have a look at our Crikey series with Bond University, "Order in the House".

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10 thoughts on “Country for old men? A parliamentary snapshot

  1. Tinatoerat

    Perhaps the aging of members can explain why ‘youth’ is now defined as anyone under 30 years old.

  2. Barry Cross

    And your point is…?

  3. Tinatoerat

    my point is that 30 isn’t ‘youth’. 30 is well and truly adult, as are 29, 28, 27, 26,….

    Where the cutoff is for treating people as (expected to be) financially dependent on family may be debatable, but 30 is ludicrous.

  4. pragmatic

    So what? These people bring (or should) maturity and experience. Sadly, this might not always be the case. Regardless, what we need is balance.

  5. Venise Alstergren

    When Tony Abbott was scraping the bottom of the rusty barrel to form his cabinet he took with him more than one old man from John Howard’s prime ministership. Was this because Abbott was basically unsure of himself and needed friendly people to lean on; or was it because they were coreligionists? Perhaps their half- wittedness appealed to Abbott who is no intellectual giant himself?

    In short, it wouldn’t be surprising if any of these old men
    failed to realise the paucity of youth in their ranks.

  6. Luke Hellboy

    Good point pragmatic. Given the often infantile level of parliamentary debate, especially in the house of reps, you would be forgiven for thinking that the average age would be much lower… somewhere in the tweens maybe?

  7. Hunted Snark

    Where’s that pesky ‘recommend’ button?
    Anyhow, a couple of fresh-faced, shiny recommends for Luke Hellboy and Pragmatic.

    Really, there should be no need for someone to BE young in order to be able to make good policy on behalf of the nation’s young people (or 29 1/2 year-olds).

    Note I say ‘should’.

    But, then, in my private cloud-cuckoo land, sensible, mature, intelligent policy-makers would be capable of having the best interests of all citizens (and would-be citizens) at the core of their thinking, so plainly, I’m just a bit unbalanced.

  8. AR

    I wish that there were some register of IQs & EQs. Failing that, some indication of which MPs have ever done anything in the real world rather than just the political sausage machine.

  9. Stuart Omond

    People under 18 can’t vote, so parliament doesn’t represent them. I don’t know what the average age of Australians over 18 would be but it would obviously be a lot higher that 37 and may be quite close to the average age in parliament.

  10. Venise Alstergren

    AR (8): It would be an enormous help to the electorate if the legal profession were to be barred from entering politics. All these people have only learned to say no!

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