2021 Federal Redistribution – Draft Boundaries for Western Australia

UPDATE 4 June – the AEC finalised the boundaries today with some minor nips and tucks. Data files have yet to be published, but the changes described in the final report do not suggests any significant changes to the new margins set out in this post. The new boundaries will be gazetted on 2 August, which perhaps gives a hint that the Prime Minister won’t be calling an election for Augsut.

Last year’s review of state representation in the House of Representatives recommended that Western Australia lose a seat, its representation falling from 16 to 15 members.

The draft boundaries are released at noon eastern time and I will update this post through the day with information on the new boundaries and estimated new margins.

In summary, the Liberal seat of Stirling is abolished and there is not much shift in margins for other seats.

The change in margins shown in the table below don’t show much shift in margins, but in going from 16 to 15 seats there are substantial changes in boundaries.

As expected, there has been major surgery on Pearce. It has lost its rural districts to Durack and O’Connor and lost Ellenbrook to Hasluck. Pearce gains Wanneroo and the suburbs east of Lake Joondalup and north of Hepburn Avenue from Cowan, so the seat is now entirely in the northern suburbs of Perth.

The abolition of Stirling has been easily achieved, the Labor end of the electorate east of the Mitchell Freeway was been transferred to Cowan and Perth, the areas to the west divided between Curtin and Moore.

Most other changes are consequences of abolishing Stirling and the major movement of Pearce. Hasluck gains Ellenbrook from Pearce and sheds Forrestfield to Swan and Kenwick and Maddington to Burt.

The table below summarise the estimated new margins. I’ve made no distinction between Liberal and National seats.

Division Old Margin New Margin Change
Brand ALP 6.7% ALP 6.7% 0.0 to ALP
Burt ALP 5.0% ALP 5.4% 0.4 to ALP
Canning LIB 11.6% LIB 11.3% 0.3 to ALP
Cowan ALP 0.8% ALP 0.9% 0.1 to ALP
Curtin LIB 14.3% LIB 13.9% 0.4 to ALP
Durack LIB 14.8% LIB 13.5% 1.3 to ALP
Forrest LIB 14.6% LIB 14.6% 0.0 to ALP
Fremantle ALP 6.9% ALP 6.9% 0.0 to ALP
Hasluck LIB 5.4% LIB 5.8% 0.4 to L/NP
Moore LIB 11.7% LIB 11.6% 0.1 to ALP
O’Connor LIB 14.5% LIB 15.4% 0.9 to L/NP
Pearce LIB 7.5% LIB 5.2% 2.3 to ALP
Perth ALP 4.9% ALP 3.2% 1.7 to L/NP
Stirling (abolished) LIB 5.6% .. ..
Swan LIB 2.7% LIB 3.3% 0.6 to L/NP
Tangney LIB 11.5% LIB 9.5% 2.0 to ALP

Pearce

There were whispers before the redistribution that Pearce would be abolished. In my view this was never likely as Sir George Pearce, Australia’s longest serving Senator and longest serving Cabinet Minister, is a significant figure in Australia politics that did not deserve to be removed from the electoral map.

The certainty was that the new Pearce would look nothing like the old. It was way over quota, contained two of Perth’s population growth areas in the northern beaches and Ellenbrook districts, and combined them with a disparate collection of rural areas east and north of Perth.

So it came to pass that the new Pearce includes only one part of its former spread, covering only the outer northern beach of Perth, with Wanneroo and an area east of Lake Joondalup from Cowan. Taken together the boundary changes cut the margin of Liberal MP Christian Porter from 7.5% to 5.2%.

Hasluck

Hasluck loses Labor voting territory in the south to Burt but the major change is to gain the expanding Swan Valley suburbs around Ellenbrook from Pearce. This area makes up nearly a third of the population of the new Hasluck and Liberal MP Ken Wyatt will need to campaign in an area that has swung strongly against the Liberal Party at two state elections in a row. Major boundary changes but only a small change in the Liberal margin, up from 5.4% to 5.8%.

Cowan

Cowan is made up of almost equal numbers from the old Cowan and the abolished seat of Stirling. But one week and 100 years after Edith Cowan became the first woman elected to an Australian Parliament, it was no contest whether to retain a seat named after her, or continue to commemorate the first Governor of Western Australia.

As the map shows, the boundary changes are extensive. The loss of Labor voting areas in the north to the new Pearce is balanced by the gain of Labor voting territory from the eastern end of Stirling, leaving Anne Aly’s margin in Cowan largely intact.

Perth

Loses Labor voting territory around Noranda to Cowan while gaining more mixed territory from the abolished seat of Stirling. On paper the margin for Labor MP Patrick Gorman declines from 4.9% to 3.2%.