Western Australia

WA Federal Redistribution Prospects using Updated Enrolment Data

Last October, eagle eyed observers spotted that there was something wrong with enrolment projection data released by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The data had been released as base data for redistributions in Victoria and Western Australia. Data for the NSW redistribution was not affected.

The same enrolment growth rate had been applied across both states down to local statistical area level. This was a ridiculous assumption. It turned out the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) had provided the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) with the wrong data.

In the last few days the has AEC released corrected enrolment projections with growth rates that vary across both states. This post examines how this new data will influence the redistribution in Western Australia. A second post, hopefully tomorrow, will run through a similar analysis for Victoria.

In a previous post I explained why the seat numbers by state are changing. Another post, now superseded by the post you are reading, looked at boundary change implications from last October’s initial release of incorrect enrolment projections.

What doesn’t change is that Western Australia is gaining a seat in the current redistribution, restoring the 16th seat removed three years ago. Population trends mean the new seat will be created in a different part of Perth than the previously abolished seat of Stirling.

In short, the projected enrolment data makes even clearer that WA’s new seat will be created in Perth’s east. The other 12 Perth seats will shuffle west towards the Indian Ocean. Current enrolment data, and last October’s incorrect projected enrolments, indicated that a Perth seat would need to cross the metropolitan boundary. The new projections remove this prospect meaning the redistribution will be largely confined to metropolitan Perth.Read More »WA Federal Redistribution Prospects using Updated Enrolment Data

Western Australia State Redistribution – Final Boundaries Released

The WA Electoral Redistribution has released the final version of the electoral boundaries on which the next election will be fought.

The most significant change introduced by the new boundaries is the merging of the rural seats of Moore and North West Central to create a new seat called Mid-West. This merges two National-held seats into one, a decision that has already had consequences with National MLA for North West Central Merome Beard defecting to the Liberal Party.

The abolition of a regional seat is matched by the creation of a new seat in Perth. The new seat is called Oakford, covering growing suburbs between Armadale and the Kwinana Freeway. Unsurprisingly given the Labor landslide result in 2021, Oakford is a notional Labor seat.

In 2021 Labor won 53 seats to two Liberals and three Nationals. On the old boundaries the Liberals and Nationals needed a uniform swing of 23.4% to gain the 24 seats needed for government. The new boundaries do little to alter the swing needed.

Full detail of the change of margin for all seats can be found inside the post. But first, here’s my calculations for the new electoral pendulum. Seats gained by Labor at the 2021 election are underlined, which gives perspective on the size of the swing needed just to bring the Coalition back to its position after the 2017 election.

Read More »Western Australia State Redistribution – Final Boundaries Released

Submissions Published for WA Federal redistribution

Proposals for the re-draw of WA’s federal electoral boundaries closed on Friday with submissions published today by the Australian Electoral Commission today.

There are 21 submissions in all. Understandably the greatest interest is in the proposals submitted by the Liberal and Labor Parties.

Both parties create a new seat based on the Darling Range in Perth’s east. The Liberal submission is for a new seat named Court that extends east into rural areas. Labor’s proposal is for a new seat called Farmer that runs south west into the Perth metropolitan area.

(I published a post several months ago on how the redistribution might unfold based on enrolment numbers.)

And the two submissions adopt different strategies in key parts of the Perth metropolitan area.

Note – maps taken from party submissions. The Liberal Party submission included maps of all proposed divisions. The Labor Party’s submission only included a map of the proposed Farmer.Read More »Submissions Published for WA Federal redistribution

When will the next Federal Election be? Will it be early?

With an agreement reached between Labor and the Greens to pass the government’s housing legislation, even the remotest prospect of an early double dissolution election has vanished.

The only way for a joint House and Senate election to be held before August 2024 was via a double dissolution election. With that already unlikely option now removed, an election before August 2024 is only possible if Anthony Albanese breaks with 50 years of Prime Ministerial tradition and holds separate House and half-Senate elections.

In theory a House election can be called at any time, but as has been the case at every election since 1974, the next House elections will be held in conjunction with the next half-Senate election due at latest in May 2025.

Fixed terms and a constitutional restrictions mean that writs for a half-Senate election cannot be issued until 1 July in the year before a Senate term expires. This restriction creates an election window between August and May every three years.

The next election window opens on Saturday 3 August 2024, the first possible date for an election if writs are issued on 1 July. The election window will stay open until mid-May 2025, the last date being 17 or 24 May.

There remains a chance the government could go to a House and half-Senate election between August and October 2024. But the option is unlikely due to redistributions and a series of state and territory elections. Everything points to the government going full term to May 2025.

Of course, events over the next 20 months could unfold differently. And if they do, the election could arrive earlier than April-May 2025.
Read More »When will the next Federal Election be? Will it be early?

Pauline Hanson Deposes Mark Latham as NSW Leader

UPDATE 22 August: NSW MLCs Mark Latham and Rod Roberts have announced their resignation from One Nation. They will continue to sit in the NSW Legislative Council but as Independents. Recently appointed Tania Mihailuk will remain a One Nation member. Tables in this post have been updated to reflect today’s events.

As has happened so often in the past, Pauline Hanson has fallen out with other MPs that represent One Nation.

Hanson has deposed One Nation’s NSW state executive and announced that Mark Latham is no longer the party’s state leader. This has led to Latham and Roberts resigning from the party.

Let me run through a series of question on where this dispute will go, and also the remarkable history of MPs leaving One Nation after falling out with Hanson and her backers.Read More »Pauline Hanson Deposes Mark Latham as NSW Leader

ABS Population Statistics confirm WA to gain a new House seat, Victoria and NSW to lose seats

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released state population figures this morning that confirm a change in seat numbers for three states at the next Federal election.

New South Wales representation will be reduced from 47 to 46 seats, Victoria reduced from 39 to 38 seats, while Western Australia will gain a seat, increasing from 15 to 16 seats.

Other jurisdictions remain unchanged, Queensland with 30 seats, South Australia 10, Tasmania five, Australian Capital Territory three and Northern Territory two.

The next election will be for a 150 member House of Representatives, down one from the current 151 seats.

The current elected members per state remain unchanged until the next election, due between August 2024 and May 2025. Redistributions will take place in the three affected states to bring the number of electoral divisions in line with the change in allocated members.

The change in numbers will become official in the last week of July, one year after the first sitting of the current House of Representatives, when the Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers issues a formal determination of House representation by state and territory.

Commissioner Rogers has no personal choice in making the determination as the method is strictly defined in law. For states the Commissioner will apply the formula set out in Section 24 of the Constitution. For the Territories the Commissioner will use the formula set out in the Electoral Act. The Constitution also states that the Commissioner will use the “latest statistics of the Commonwealth”, a phrase the High Court and Parliament has determined will be the quarterly population statistics, that is today’s ABS release.

The precise calculations around how seats are allocated is explained inside this post.

Once the new numbers are officially announced at the end of July, redistributions to implement the changed seat numbers will get underway in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia. Based on past redistribution timelines, the process of drawing new boundaries should be completed by early July 2024, in time for use at the next election.

The changes in Victoria and Western Australia reverse changed numbers that first applied at the 2022 election.

For NSW, the reduction to 46 continues a long term trend. When the parliament was increased in size in 1984, 51 of the 148 seats were in NSW. The state lost seats at the 1993, 2007, 2010 and 2016 elections.

The latest changes have come about because of changes in relative state populations. The populations of NSW and Victoria have been growing more slowly than other state, meaning both states declined relative to other states. In large part this has come about because of the two year halt to immigration, ending the usual large migrant inflow to the nation’s two largest states. Despite closing its state border in the same period, over three full years Western Australia has been a beneficiary of internal migration from other states.
Read More »ABS Population Statistics confirm WA to gain a new House seat, Victoria and NSW to lose seats

Prospects for the Federal Redistribution in Western Australia

In brief – Western Australia will gain a 16th seat for the next Federal election. A redistribution drawing boundaries for 16 seats will begin later this year. Current enrolments mean that most of the state’s current districts will need to shed electors. The geography of the state points to the new seat being created in Perth’s east.

Why will there be a Redistribution?

One year after every Federal election, the Australian Electoral Commissioner is required to make a determination on how many House of Representatives members each state will elect at the next election.

Commissioner Tom Rogers will make that determination in the last week of July. The determination will be made based on the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly population statistics. The latest population figures by state and territory, for the fourth quarter of 2022, will be released on Thursday this week.

The Commissioner has no personal choice in making the determination. The method is strictly defined in law. For states the Commissioner will apply the formula set out in Section 24 of the Constitution. For the Territories the Commissioner will use the formula set out in the Electoral Act. The Constitution also states that the Commissioner will use the “latest statistics of the Commonwealth”, a phrase the High Court and Parliament has determined will be the quarterly population statistics, that is Thursday’s ABS release.

(Update: After release of the ABS statistics, I have published a post setting out in full the formula allocating representation to states.)

Based on the trend in quarterly population statistics since 2020, it is certain that Western Australia will gain a seat with both Victoria and New South Wales set to lose a seat. Queensland is close to gaining a seat, but whether it does will depend on Thursday’s release. If Queensland’s numbers are unchanged, the changes in other states will reduce the House of Representatives from 151 to 150 seats at the next election.

Any change in seat entitlement for a state triggers a redistribution drawing boundaries for the new allocation of seats.

In this post I will concentrate on how the redistribution could unfold in Western Australia with posts on other states to follow in the next few days.

(Note: happy to add comments with people’s views on how the new boundaries might be drawn.)
Read More »Prospects for the Federal Redistribution in Western Australia

North West Central By-election

I’ve published a profile on the ABC elections site for Saturday’s North West Central by-election in Western Australia. Results for the by-election are also at the site.

North West Central is the state’s largest electorate taking in 32.3% of the state. It covers 820,591 square kilometres, an area larger than New South Wales. While the state’s largest electorate in area, by enrolled voters North West Central is the state’s smallest. Just 11,189 electors are enrolled to vote at the by-election, just over a third of the state’s current electoral quota of around 30,000.

The by-election has been caused by the resignation of Vince Catania, the Labor turned National MP for the seat since 2008. In what was once a marginal seat, Catania’s two-party preferred vote in 2013, 2017 and 2021 was well in excess of the Liberal/National state-wide vote. Catania appears to have attracted a personal vote amongst Labor voters, shown in the chart below by the big gap in North West Central support for Labor and National between the upper and lower houses at the 2021 election.Read More »North West Central By-election

My Analysis of the 2021 Western Australian Election has just been published

For the last three decades I’ve been producing statistical publications on Western Australian elections and redistributions for the WA Parliamentary Library.

My latest in the series, summarising the results of the 2021 WA election in March, has just been published by the Library.

You can find the full series and the 2021 publication at this link.

Most of the publication is tables and statistics. Inside this post I’ve included the publication’s introduction where I set out the statistical highlights (if you are a Labor supporter) or lowlights (for Liberal supporters) from the 2021 results.Read More »My Analysis of the 2021 Western Australian Election has just been published

WA to Adopt State-Wide Election for the Legislative Council

The WA Government has announced its reform proposals for the Legislative Council. The proposals are based on a report by the government appointed Ministerial Expert Committee on Electoral Reform.

You can find the Committee’s report at this link. The government has made some minor tweaks to the recommendations and will introduce legislation to Parliament tomorrow.

In summary the major features of the proposal are –
Read More »WA to Adopt State-Wide Election for the Legislative Council