NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Electoral backlash? It's hard to see one

Labor has good reason not to fear an electoral assault from the mining industry.

A Herald analysis of the 13 Labor-held seats in mining regions shows all but 4 are held by massive margins.

Cunningham taking in Wollongong, Bulli and Helensburgh is held by an impressive 17 per cent.

Labor's weakest margin in NSW is in Charlton which labor's rising star Greg Combet holds by 12.9 per cent.

Only two seats in Queensland two in Western Australia are held by less than 3 per cent.

What's also notable is how few mining workers are actually employed in those seats. In most it is fewer than 2000. And not all of them are well-disposed toward their employers. In recent years Rio and BHP have been shedding staff. In the 1990s the Gordonstone mine in Queensland used security guards and dogs to lock-out sacked workers.

Published in today's SMH   Graphic: SMH

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