Redistribution

Update on looming elections, by-elections and redistributions

March will be a big month for elections. It’s keeping me very busy.

The biggest election in terms of voter numbers is Brisbane City Council, followed by the Tasmanian state election.

There is also a Federal by-election in Dunkley, two Queensland state by-elections and one South Australian state by-election.

Over the horizon beyond Easter are the Cook federal by-election, and now an announcement on the start to the Northern Territory federal redistribution.

I have ABC websites and blog posts being updated on all these electoral events. This post is an opportunity to highlight the on-going work I’m doing on each of these events, as well as pointing out some of the most recent updates.Read More »Update on looming elections, by-elections and redistributions

Redistribution begins for Northern Territory Federal Boundaries

Today marks seven years since the Northern Territory’s current federal electoral boundaries were first gazetted. Under the ‘seven-year rule’ in Section 59 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, a redistribution of the NT’s federal boundaries must commence within 30 days.

The NT’s redistribution will differ from those currently underway in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The other state redistributions have been triggered by a change in seat entitlements under Section 24 of the Constitution. New South Wales and Victoria will both lose a seat, Western Australia gain a seat. The seat numbers will be unchanged at two for the NT redistribution.

Seven-year rule redistributions can be deferred if they commence within twelve months of the expiry date for the House of Representatives. The deferral deadline in 2024 is May, meaning seven-year rule redistributions due for Tasmania in November and Queensland in March 2025 will be deferred until after the next election.

But the Northern Territory redistribution will go ahead. With only two seats involved, the process of drawing boundaries will be easily completed before the next election is due. Unlike with change of seat number redistributions, there are no complications if an early election is called because the existing NT divisions would remain in place.

While unlikely to have major political implications, it is worth looking at the NT redistribution to examine how the NT briefly lost its second seat in 2020, and also to observe how the Australian Electoral Commission’s Indigenous enrolment drive before the 2023 referendum has increased remote enrolment.
Read More »Redistribution begins for Northern Territory Federal Boundaries

Victorian Federal Redistribution using Updated Enrolment Data

Last October, eagle eyed observers spotted that there was something wrong with enrolment projection data for Victoria released by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The projections were released as base data for the looming federal redistribution to remove one of Victoria’s 39 seats in the House of Representatives.

A 2023 decision by the Australian Electoral Commissioner under Section 24 of the Constitution had determined that NSW and Victoria would lose House seats and Western Australia gain a seat. The size of the House of Representatives for the next election will be reduced from 151 to 150 seats. I wrote a post at the time explaining the decision.

Victoria had gained an extra seat at each of the two previous elections. Both had been created in western Melbourne, Fraser before the 2019 election and Hawke ahead of 2022. The redistribution creating Hawke had been based on population data from before the 2020 arrival of Covid. With overseas immigration halted for two years, and internal migration to the outer states continuing, Victoria’s population declined relative to other states over the three intervening years.

But removing a seat won’t simply be a matter of abolishing Hawke or Fraser. As the projected enrolment data released last week shows, population growth in Melbourne’s north and west is faster than in Melbourne’ east and south-east. A seat must be abolished in Victoria and the corrected projected enrolment data indicates strongly that a seat will be abolished in Melbourne’s east.

The first projected enrolment data released last October had been prepared by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The data was flawed in applying a uniform growth rate across the state. The corrected enrolment projections released by the AEC last week now have growth rates that vary across the state.

(Happy to post comments with people’s suggestions on where the changes will occur.)
Read More »Victorian Federal Redistribution using Updated Enrolment Data

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

Northern Territory Redistribution Finalised (and a Chief Minister Resigns)

Update 20 December – the new Chief Minister will be Eva Lawler. Minor changes have been made to post reflecting the change.

The resignation today of NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles is bad news for the NT Labor government. It already faces a difficult re-election campaign in August 2024, and starting election year with a third Chief Minister this term is bad news for NT Labor, and good news for the Country Liberal opposition.

Thinking back through the last 50 years, I can think of three cases of government’s with three Premiers in a term. Queensland had three between 1986 and 1989, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Mike Ahern and Russell Cooper. NSW had three between 2007 and 2011, Morris Iemma, Nathan Rees and Kristina Keneally. Both governments were thrashed at the next election. The NSW Coalition had three Premier between 1973 and 1976, Bob Askin, Tom Lewis and Eric Willis. It lost narrowly at the 1976 election.

The circumstances of the transfers from Michael Gunner to Natasha Fyles to Eva Lawler are different to the Queensland and NSW cases above. The first two examples involved the dumping of two Premiers in sensational circumstances caused by party splits. The 1973-76 example had one retirement and one sudden replacement of a Premier.

The Northern Territory’s current situation concerns a Chief Minister retiring and another resigning over failure to disclose a pecuniary interest. Not quite as sensational.

But it is a bad start to an election year for a government that after two terms in office was starting to look old and ragged. And losing a Chief Minister, whatever the gravity of the transgression, is a negative for Labor, and a huge boost for Lia Finocchiaro and the Country Liberal Party.

Redistribution Finalised

This post was in progress before today’s political events unfolded. Last week the redistribution of the Northern Territory’s electoral boundaries was finalised ahead of the August 2024 election.

A very embarrassing “administrative oversight” had delayed the process of boundary drawing. Notices for the earlier stages of the redistribution were not gazetted as required by the Electoral Act. The NT Solicitor’s office advised that the process had to begin again. Despite the extended process, there have been very few changes since the first draft of boundaries were released early in 2023.

The redistribution has been undertaken to bring enrolments in divisions back within the permitted 20% variation from quota.
Read More »Northern Territory Redistribution Finalised (and a Chief Minister Resigns)

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 Victorian Federal Redistribution

Victoria is currently undergoing a redistribution of federal electoral boundaries that will reduce the state’s representation from 39 seats to 38.

This has come about due to Section 24 of the Constitution which determines state representation in the House of Representatives. I published a post in June explaining how the allocation of House of Representatives seats to states is assessed one year into each term or parliament.

Using the formula set out in Section 24 of the Constitution, it was determined that New South Wales and Victoria will each lose a seat for the next Federal election, while Western Australia will gain a seat. The size of the House of Representatives will be reduced from 151 seats to 150.

The change in numbers has triggered a redistribution in all three states. In the last month I have published posts looking at the major party proposals for New South Wales and Western Australia. Both posts include links to earlier posts looking at how projected enrolment numbers will drive the redistributions in each state.

With today’s release by the AEC of submissions to the Victorian redistribution, it is time to look at what the major parties have suggested for Victoria. For background on how the Victorian redistribution might unfold, you can read my previous post on the projected enrolment data.

I had planned to write a summary of the various submission yesterday but the submissions were not published until evening. I will update this post with key suggestions made in the party submissions. You can find all 63 lodged submissions at the AEC website. The submissions are now open for comment by the public as set out on the AEC website.

You will note there is no Liberal Party submission. I understand the party missed the deadline for submission, but you can find what they proposed to submit on the Victorian Liberal Party’s website. Having missed the suggestions deadline, the Liberal Party will submit it as part of the Comments process before the Commissioners draw draft boundaries.
Read More »Submissions Published for Victorian Federal Redistribution

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

NSW Redistribution Submissions – which seats could be for the chop.

As outlined in a previous post, NSW is set to lose a seat at the next Federal election.

The AEC has released submissions to the redistribution that will reduce the state from 47 to 46 seats. In this post I’ll run through some of the major features of party proposals. You can find the submissions at this link.

Read More »NSW Redistribution Submissions – which seats could be for the chop.