Prospects for the Federal Redistribution in NSW

Caveat 27 July – This post was one I was unable to complete before I left for overseas at the end of June. I am publishing it here in partly completed form as I believe the changes to state representation in the House of Representatives could be released as early as today. I hope to update this post next week after I return from overseas.

In brief – The determination of House seats to be released by the Electoral Commissioner in the next week will see NSW lose a seat at the next Federal election, reduced from 47 to 46 seats. High growth rates on Sydney’s south-west fringe makes it likely a seat will be abolished in Sydney’s middle distance suburbs, possibly on the North Shore where all seats are well under quota. Abolishing a Sydney seat would draw the seat of Hume into south-west Sydney.

Another possibility is that two seats will be abolished, one in Sydney, one in the country with Hume pulled out of the metropolitan area and a new seat created on Sydney’s south-west fringe.

The redistribution will have major political consequences for both sides of politics as well as the independents.

For the Liberal Party, Bradfield (Paul Fetcher), Berowra (Julian Leeser) and Mitchell (Alex Hawke) will undergo major boundary changes, and one of these seats may even be abolished. Hughes (Jenny Ware) in Sydney’s south may be moved significantly into Sydney’s south-west suburbs. The rural seats of Farrer (Sussan Ley) may undergo major changes, and there is a chance that Hume (Angus Taylor) could be pulled into outer Sydney suburbs around Campbelltown. In between these two seats, the National seat of Riverina (Michael McCormack) may be forced to adopt new boundaries.

For Labor, any seat abolished on Sydney’s north shore would have major implications for Bennelong (Jerome Laxale), Parramatta (Andrew Charlton) and Greenway (Michelle Rowland).

North Sydney (Kylea Tink) is certain to have major changes flowing on from adjustments required to increase enrolments for the coastal seats of Mackellar (Sophie Scamps) and Warringah (Zali Steggall). Distance from the coast mean that the boundaries for Fowler (Dai Le) are likely to undergo major change.

The Broad Picture

With seven years since the last NSW redistribution, disparities in enrolment are much greater than in either Victoria or Western Australia, both of which underwent redistributions only three years ago. The need to abolish a seat, plus rapid growth on Sydney’s south-west fringe make for a complex redistribution. The Hawkesbury River and Blue Mountains are strong boundaries for the greater Sydney region, leaving seats south-west of Sydney along the Hume Highway carrying the weight of balancing country and urban numbers.

While redistribution coverage tends to concentrate on which seats are abolished or created, the political geography of Sydney and the moving south-west boundary with country seats mean that there are always political implications well beyond just the seat or seats abolished.

(Note: happy to add comments with people’s views on how the new boundaries might be drawn.)

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 based on Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly population statistics published on 15 June.

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 High Court and parliament have determined that the Constitution’s reference to the “latest statistics of the Commonwealth” is the ABS statistics mentioned above.

The published figures show Victoria will lose a seat (see my previous post on Victorian redistribution prospects), as will New South Wales. Western Australia will gain a seat. (see my post on the Western Australian federal redistribution). The House of Representatives will be reduced from 151 to 150 seats at the next election.

Once Commissioner Rogers issues his determination at the end of July, redistributions will get underway immediately. Based on past experience, the new boundaries will be in place by mid-2024. The process will be over before the traditional election window opens between August 2024 and May 2025.

Redistribution Rules

While seats are allocated to states based on population, redistributions within each state are conducted based on enrolment. All new seats must have an enrolment within 10% of the state average. A second quota also applies based on projected enrolments. All newly drawn districts should have an average projected enrolment within 3.5% of the state average.

The narrower projected quota has more impact on the redistribution than current enrolment and forces the drawing of boundaries to take account of slow and fast growing areas.

Within the quota restrictions, the Redistribution Commissioners can take account of –

  • community of interests within proposed districts, including economic, social and regional interests
  • means of communication and travel within the proposed district
  • the physical features and area of the proposed district
  • the boundaries of existing districts

It is hard to make comment on the projected enrolment numbers as they will not be published until after the redistribution process begins.

This post has been prepared based on enrolment figures as at 30 April 2023. These will be updated to the start date of the redistribution process, but this post will comment on how the redistribution might unfold based on current enrolments.

(Enrolment figures for June 2023 have now been released but should have only minor variations from the April figures analysed below.)

Current Enrolment Numbers

As at 30 April there were 5,538,119 voters on the electoral roll in NSW.

With 46 seats to be drawn, a provisional quota based on the 30 April enrolments is 120,393. This is around 2,500 electors more than required for a 47-district quota.

All new districts must have an enrolment within 10% of the state average, that is between 108,354 and 132,432. Currently two districts are more than 10% over quota and six seats more than 10% under quota.

30 April enrolment numbers and variations from a 46 seat quota are shown in a table at the bottom of the page.

Country Variations

The map below shows electorate variations from a 46 seats enrolment quota for non-Sydney electorates. Variations are shown as percentages, shades to red indicating below quota, shades to blue above quota.

North Coast, Hunter Valley Central Coast

All of the North Coast is slightly over quota, and projected enrolment looks certain to require both Cowper and Lyne to shed voters. But where to? It can't be to the south where both Paterson and Hunter are over quota. Paterson currently contains Maitland, Kurri Kurri and Nelson Bay but cannot continue to contain all three. Something needs to be moved out of the region, probably into New England. Could Muswellbrook be transferred? Hunter can be made safer for Labor at the expense of Labor's margin in Paterson, but I'm not sure Labor would like that option.

Producing a set of hunter and lower north coast boundaries to bring seats back within quota looks like being a complex game of jigsaw driven by the tyranny of numbers.

Western NSW

On current enrolments several seats sit right on quota, but it is highly likely all will be below the projected quota, Parkes a long way short of quota.

What to do? Parts of Eden-Monaro west of the ACT could be transferred to Riverina, but that could push Whitlam up into the Southern Highlands, or push Hughes out of the Sutherland Shire and into Sydney's south-west.

Another option (which depends on how the North Shore is re-drawn) would be to push Macquarie west into Lithgow and Bathurst, almost certainly requiring Calare or Riverina to be abolished. Or the western end of Hume becomes the saving numbers for Riverina, the Commissioners consider switching Wagga Wagga into Farrer, and Hume becomes based in Camden and Campbelltown. That won't be good news for Liberal frontbencher Angus Taylor, and may end up seeing Michael McCormack and Sussan Ley contesting the same seat.

Or Riverina is abolished, Hume withdraws from the metropolitan area, and a new seat gets created in outer south-west Sydney. (On a side-note, Riverina no longer covers the whole Riverina, is likely to cover even less if retained, and perhaps it is time the seat was given a new name if it is retained.)

Sydney's North Shore

(See Sydney variations map below)

Sydney Harbour and the Hawkesbury River have not been crossed by electoral boundaries for half a century. Windsor/Old Windsor Roads, the boundary between The Hills and Blacktown Councils, has been another boundary not crossed for decades. That leaves a small gap which causes Parramatta to slid north and south depending on numbers. When Parramatta shifts north it becomes a Liberal seat, when it shifts south a Labor seats. On current numbers shifting south looks likely.

The area between Windsor Road and the coast north of the harbour is a full 0.6 quotas short of the present number of seats. It is highly likely one of these seats will be abolished, or Mitchell will need to be augmented by gaining the Hawkesbury Council end of Macquarie (which would cause a major re-arrangement of the state's central west), or Mitchell would cross Windsor Road to include northern parts of Labor-held Greenway.

Boundaries start being drawn along the coast. Mackellar should be drawn first and could eat into northern parts of Warringah, which would cause Warringah to push into North Sydney. Bennelong and Bradfield would need re-arrangement by shifting west. If Berowra loses Hornsby to Bradfield, it seems hard to see how Berowra doesn't end up being abolished. If so, Mitchell would move north and Greenway might cross Windsor Road, or if Berowra stays, Mitchell will need to undergo massive boundary changes.

Either way, it seems likely the new boundaries will create problems for the Independents in Warringah and North Sydney, and result in a major internal Liberal brawl on who would be pre-selected for which seat in north-west Sydney.

South of the Harbour

As north of the harbour, all seats south of the harbour are under quota but there is more obvious room for them to shift west and south-west. With boundaries starting to be drawn from the coast, Wentworth will pick up normally Labor voting areas from Sydney, which should help Independent Allegra Spender. Every seat will shift west, and the only question will be whether a seat is also abolished in the process.

Much of this will depend on what happens north of Windsor Road (see above) as well as the fate of Hughes south of the Georges River. If the northern boundary of Cook reverts to its more traditional alignment on the Georges River, Hughes must move west, but how far? With Macarthur and Werriwa so over quota, either Hume or Hughes will be pulled in to south-west Sydney to soak up the over enrolments. Or if a country seat is abolished, a new seat will be needed around Camden and Campbelltown as Hume shifts south-west.

As elsewhere, re-drawing boundaries to absorb the surplus votes in Sydney's south-west will be a complex jigsaw puzzle.

In Summary

Abolishing a seat in NSW has several solutions and all have major consequences for seats right across the state. Major geographical boundaries create problems for the Redistribution Commissioners within Sydney and in parts of the state like the Hunter and North Coast.

The order boundaries are drawn, starting in the corners of the state, and along the coast in Sydney, has major consequences for electoral boundaries far distant from where the Commissioners start drawing.

All sides of politics will put forward their solutions, cloaked in the words of community of interest but really about political advantage.

It will be the unenviable task of the Redistribution Commissioners to work out the best way to turn 47 seats into 46.

Current 47 NSW Divisions - Variation from 46-seat Quota

Enrolment Variation
Division Margin Enrolment Votes Quotas
Banks LIB 3.2 107,899 -12,494 -10.4
Barton ALP 15.5 111,828 -8,565 -7.1
Bennelong ALP 1.0 116,661 -3,732 -3.1
Berowra LIB 9.8 106,477 -13,916 -11.6
Blaxland ALP 14.9 109,175 -11,218 -9.3
Bradfield LIB 6.6 108,751 -11,642 -9.7
Calare NAT 15.5 121,847 +1,454 +1.2
Chifley ALP 13.5 125,651 +5,258 +4.4
Cook LIB 12.4 110,831 -9,562 -7.9
Cowper NAT 9.5 130,823 +10,430 +8.7
Cunningham ALP 14.7 117,959 -2,434 -2.0
Dobell ALP 6.5 119,601 -792 -0.7
Eden-Monaro ALP 8.2 116,562 -3,831 -3.2
Farrer LIB 16.4 120,941 +548 +0.5
Fowler IND held 111,641 -8,752 -7.3
Gilmore ALP 0.2 128,432 +8,039 +6.7
Grayndler ALP 28.9 110,807 -9,586 -8.0
Greenway ALP 11.5 124,969 +4,576 +3.8
Hughes LIB 7.0 107,966 -12,427 -10.3
Hume LIB 7.7 124,549 +4,156 +3.5
Hunter ALP 4.0 130,798 +10,405 +8.6
Kingsford Smith ALP 14.5 115,352 -5,041 -4.2
Lindsay LIB 6.3 126,788 +6,395 +5.3
Lyne NAT 13.8 126,058 +5,665 +4.7
Macarthur ALP 8.5 138,921 +18,528 +15.4
Mackellar IND held 111,357 -9,036 -7.5
McMahon ALP 9.5 110,412 -9,981 -8.3
Macquarie ALP 7.8 108,391 -12,002 -10.0
Mitchell LIB 10.7 125,419 +5,026 +4.2
Newcastle ALP 18.0 122,790 +2,397 +2.0
New England NAT 16.4 114,842 -5,551 -4.6
North Sydney IND held 112,112 -8,281 -6.9
Page NAT 10.7 123,019 +2,626 +2.2
Parkes NAT 17.8 108,765 -11,628 -9.7
Parramatta ALP 4.6 108,234 -12,159 -10.1
Paterson ALP 3.3 134,529 +14,136 +11.7
Reid ALP 5.2 116,417 -3,976 -3.3
Richmond ALP 8.2 121,692 +1,299 +1.1
Riverina NAT 14.9 117,180 -3,213 -2.7
Robertson ALP 2.3 112,637 -7,756 -6.4
Shortland ALP 5.8 117,021 -3,372 -2.8
Sydney ALP 25.6 123,011 +2,618 +2.2
Warringah IND held 105,504 -14,889 -12.4
Watson ALP 15.1 110,400 -9,993 -8.3
Wentworth IND held 103,832 -16,561 -13.8
Werriwa ALP 5.8 131,445 +11,052 +9.2
Whitlam ALP 10.1 127,823 +7,430 +6.2

30 thoughts on “Prospects for the Federal Redistribution in NSW”

  1. Hi Antony, love your work here.

    My thoughts on Hughes is slightly different to what is suggested here.
    I am thinking whether it is possible for Hughes take Milperra from Blaxland and Revesby, Padstow and Panania from Banks instead of moving it further west. Banks looks like it has to be abolished if this is done though.

    There are currently no way to get from the 2 sides of Hughes (Holsworthy/Moorebank and Sutherland) to the other by public transport without changing at either Wolli Creek (WAY too far) or somewhere around Revesby, hence my suggestion of adding the latter into Hughes.

    Also, I note that Revesby/Padstow/Milperra/Panania (Bankstown side of Canterbuty-Bankstown LGA) and Moorebank/Holsworthy/Chippiing Norton (Liverpool LGA) are much less multicultural than the rest of their respective councils, in which respect is more similar to the Sutherland Shire.

    Thanks,

    1. Abolishing Banks makes sense — hasn’t had a community of interest for years as it is split between Bankstown area in the west and St George area in the east, with Salt Pan Creek a physical and psychological dividing line. Barton and Watson logically take up the eastern side and Blaxland takes up the western side.

  2. Interesting analysis Antony. I feel Berowra will be abolished and a new seat created in South-West Sydney, which will see major boundary changes for Mitchell, Bennelong, Bradfield and Greenway.

    Parramatta shifts NORTH, to take in parts of the Hills that Mitchell sheds to take in a large part of Berowra. The M2 becomes Mitchell’s southern boundary and the M4 is Parramatta’s. Those boundaries seem logical as they are major divisions in the area.

    Labor’s margin in Parramatta evaporates. Could Labor shift around their sitting MPs so one takes the new south-west seat (which is probably a Labor seat) and Andrew Charlton gets a safer seat.

    1. I don’t think Berowra is likely to be abolished. If Berowra is abolished, Macquarie would have to take in parts of the Hills Shire and Robertson would have to take in parts of the Hornsby Shire, which doesn’t make sense. What’s more, since Mitchell is over quota, letting Mitchell take on some of Berowra’s territory would push the Northern part of Parramatta into the Hills, which doesn’t make sense either. By contrast, Bradfield is surrounded by 5 electorates that are all under quota, and is much smaller in area than Berowra, making it much easier to abolish than Berowra. These are the reasons why I think Bradfield is much likely to be abolished than Berowra.

      What happens to the member for Bradfield if Berowra is abolished? The current member for Mitchell, Alex Hawke, is unlikely to contest the next election because he is so unpopular among Liberal branch members that he is even facing a motion to expel him from the Liberal party in addition to pre-selection challenges. This creates the possibility for the current member for Bradfield, Paul Fletcher, to transfer to Mitchell. As for Nicolette Boele, the independent candidate for Bradfield at the 2022 federal election and who is trying to unseat Paul Fletcher in Bradfield at the next federal election, may decide to contest Berowra if she wants to, otherwise she can turn her attention to state or local government elections instead.

      COMMENT: The shift west of coastal north shore seats is likely to create a seat centred on Hornsby, an area currently split between Bradfield and Berowra. Whether that seat it is called Bradfield or Berowra is for the Commissioners to decide.

      I expect there to be debate about uniting areas in Greenway north of the M7 with suburbs north of Windsor Road currently in Mitchell. If a north shore seat is not abolished, Mitchell must move south of Windsor Road. If a seat is abolished on the North Shore, Greenway may move north. I think it unlikely that Macquarie or Robertson will be required to soak up any north shore shortfall if a seat is abolished.

      1. Sorry. By saying “What happens to the member for Bradfield if Berowra is abolished”, I meant “What happens to the member for Bradfield if Bradfield is abolished”.

    2. Followed the content; one question still emerges: What is the rationale for reducing the total seats from 151 to 150? We are not in population decline, are we?

      COMMENT: The formula for allocating seats is in the Constitution. Losing a seat from the House is a function of the formula. The total number of House seats can otherwise only be changed by changing the size of the Senate.

      1. Nexus Clause says “as nearly as practicable”

        Surely a discrepancy of 1 seat is not going to cause any real constitutional issues given that language?

        Unrelated to this matter I know, but to me, the house needs to expand, not shrink. As it stands we have double malapportionment. Tasmania has the population of Newcastle electing the same number of Senators as all of NSW, which is explicitly allowed for in the constitution, and a combination of the minimum number of Representatives and the fact the number of Representatives hasn’t been increased in some time means most mainland seats are near on double the population of Tasmania’s 5 seats.

        COMMENT: The nexus provision also includes a formula that is used to allocate seats and that formula in 2023 produces a 150 seat House. There are previous legal cases on parliament legislating to vary the formula and just allocating an extra seat is justiciable before the High Court. See my post from 2020 on the subject.

        1. Since the quota for NSW was above 46.4, one way the state could have retained its 47th seat would be if an alternative rounding method (geometric or harmonic mean) was used instead. However, with such a large quotient, it would need to be something like 46.49 for an alternative rounding method to have any affect and the actual value was only 46.42 quotas.

      2. How far ahead is the projection for projected enrolment?

        COMMENT: 3.5 years unless the projections make clear a redistribution will be required in the next term in which case I think the projection is cut to 2.5 years.

      3. It seems like the kind of task you could set up for Ai to undertake dispassionately. Just input the parameters around size and scale, the hard boundaries, the historical shapes. Weight them by importance and press go. The idea that someone is manually moving lines around doesn’t seem right in 2023.

        COMMENT: the main issue that bogs down redistributions is community of interest which you’ve left completely out of your AI idea.

      4. The latest figures show the 27 seats in Greater Sydney amount to about 25.75 quotas. The most straightforward solution is abolish a suburban seat and redraw Macarthur in the direction of Camden for the remaining 0.25 of a quota. I think you’re mistaken about Hume: it will become more rural, not less.

      5. Thanks Antony. Interested in how Robertson and Dobell will be resolved and the knock on effect for Shortland particularly if a north shore seat is abolished, and given Paterson and Hunter are over quota. Will Roberston and Dobell move northward pushing Shortland also northward?

        COMMENT: It is highly unlikely that the Hawkesbury River would be crossed.

      6. I live in Mittagong, which part if the Illawarra-based seat if Whitlam; so I expect to be in either Hume or a new seat by election time whatever happens.

      7. i think they will need to abolish one seat north and south of sydney harbour and create a new seat in sydney south west. in my submission north sydney and barton will be abolished. but the barton name will transfer north to grayndler given its named after a prime minister. Macarthur will become a campbelltown based seat and the remainder will combine with werriwa and the metropolitain parts of hume to form 2 seats around camden and liverpool

      8. It will be interesting to see if Bradfield moves north, gets abolished (though the name may survive) or moves significantly south, with North Sydney being split into Bennelong (Hunters Hill), Warringah (the rest of Cremorne and Neutral Bay and Lane Cove and Willoughyby LGA going into Bradfield. North sure where the western side of North Sydney LGA goes. To me this seems to still be an abolition of Bradfield, with Bradfield moving so far south that it takes North Sydney’s name.
        I someone wrote above, it’s hard to see how the current Bradfield doesn’t get squeezed out of existence.

        COMMENT: If North Sydney is abolished Bradfield will move south and the current Berowra will end up centred on Hornsby. If North Sydney is retained, it will move north and Bradfield will end up being based on Hornsby. What names are adopted is a matter for debate, but I suspect Bradfield has a better chance of surviving as an electorate name than Berowra or Mitchell. Some place name like Parramatta are retained for historic reasons but I don’t think Berowara has enough history attached to it. It was first contested in 1969.

      9. Why is nobody talking about the fact that Cowper is over quota? Simple solution: move Port Macquarie back in to Lyne for now and make Cowper only Coffs Harbour, Kempsey and Nambucca (and the surrounds of those areas). Cowper is well over quota and the AEC needs to do something about it instead of ignoring regional Coalition voices in favour of inner-city Labor/Greens voices. Why the hell did they abolish the Liberal seat of Stirling in Perth and create the Labor seat of Hawke in Victoria (which is just outside Melbourne i.e Melton, Bacchus Marsh, etc) if they are now going to abolish a NSW seat, abolish a Victorian seat and create a new WA seat? I get that Bob Hawke needs to be like every other deceased PM and have a seat named after him but why wouldn’t they just rename a seat instead?

        It makes no sense going back to 150 seats given that our population is increasing not decreasing. This redistribution is going to heavily favour Labor and the Greens over the Coalition and heavily favour the inner-city over the regional and rural areas.

        When are we allowed to complain about redistributions (like what date)? I will email them on that date and tell them about this.

        COMMENT: Cowper will have to be fixed in the redistribution and the solution is relatively obvious. The problem is that having fixed the north coast, neighbouring Paterson and Hunter will need a major re-draw and that is going to be much more complex.

        The loss of a seat in WA and creation of one on Victoria came about because of Section 24 of the Constitution. Since then Covid caused major changes to population growth rates, and applying Section 24 has now reversed the previous change in numbers and requires a change to NSW as well. We are going back to 150 seats because that’s what the Constitution requires. Either the number of Senators need to be changed, which increases the House seats, or we need a referendum to change the formula in the constitution.

        Within states the Electoral Act requires that all new seats meet equal enrolment critieria. In NSW that will advantage growing suburbs on the edge of Sydney and Newcastle at the expense as rural area and inner city areas.

        In the next few weeks the AEC will call for submissions on how the new boundaries should be drawn.

        1. Nether Portal – Stirling was abolished for a number of satisfactory reasons. The namesake, James Stirling, despite being a significant figure in the foundation of Perth & WA, he also orchestrated the Pinjarra massacre on around 70 Indigenous people in the 19th century. Even then in my opinion and a lot of others, naming a federal electorate after a colonial governor will probably be a bit bad-taste.

          Stirling was also very underquota. Pearce (at the time the Yanchep-Avon Valley-Wheatbelt seat), was drastically overquota. Most of its rural electors went to Durack, a small amount around Beverley went to O’Connor, Ellenbrook, a very fast growing area of Perth, was moved to Hasluck.

          You could say Cowan did replace Stirling. At the time, Cowan was centred around Wanneroo and Girrawheen, had a lot of territory go to Pearce as those rural electors still had a lot of population, and by then, Pearce would have been very underquota. Stirling did feel like a bit of bits and pieces electorate while still maintaining strong connections to Stirling Council. In the end, it was mainly a shuffling of the cards in those areas of Perth, especially because of Pearce, which in the end, made Stirling the clear choice for abolishment.

      10. Antony, while the projected enrolments are yet to be calculated, the current enrolments show the metropolitan area as a whole more than one full seat in deficit, and the non-metropolitan areas collectively in surplus.
        The current numbers would imply that Hume will slide south, rather than north.
        Because much of the non-metropolitan surplus is on the northern coastal strip, New England will need to take voters from Hunter and/or Paterson, allowing inland seats to be topped up.

      11. Geez Loiuse – ease up on the AEC! They don’t get to arbitrarily decide how many seats each state has – they just apply the constitution.
        If there was any subjectivity allowed people would just complain about how it is being applied

      12. If Wentworth expands westwards, it would bring it up very close to the Sydney CBD. You’d then have a bit of a weird looking Sydney, extending well to the south and west of the CBD but not including areas immediately east.

        I think a better option might be for Wentworth to push south into Kingsford-Smith – especially since parts of Randwick and Clovelly are already in Wentworth. Then KS could push northwards into the Green Square area and become more of a ‘South Sydney’ seat. Sydney is then more clearly focussed on the CBD and immediate surrounds.

        That might also be better long-term because it would split the inner city growth areas between different seats, instead of having it all bottled up in Sydney.

        1. I agree with this – the border of Wentworth and K-S is rather arbitrary – no where is significantly better then elsewhere. If it moved from Clovelly Road to Alison Road or even all the way to Coogee Bay road, it wouldn’t matter.

          K-S needs to expand anyway.

        2. Wentworth is going to be a complicated seat to draw. The current western boundary is not ideal, and it is unlikely that whatever they end up drawing would be perfect. Wentworth taking in all of Darlinghurst, Potts Point and Woolloomooloo seems likely, and would be a better outcome than the current division running right through Kings Cross and Taylor Square.

          At present, Kingsford Smith generally has very strong boundaries. For a large majority of the seat, the boundary is either coastline or the LGA boundary between Sydney and Randwick/Bayside. If the commissioners can keep Kingsford Smith as a Randwick and Botany Bay part of Bayside seat, that would be a good outcome. Those areas are very distinct from the Sydney LGA areas west of the ED. You could even move the north east border of Kingsford Smith to align with the Randwick LGA boundary with Waverley LGA, allowing Kingsford Smith to grow without having to take territory from Sydney LGA.

          Having Coogee arbitrarily split between Kingsford Smith and Wentworth shouldn’t be seen as desirable. The current border is terrible, moving it South to further spilt Randwick and spilt Coogee would be worse.

          1. Your suggested to move the Kingsford Smith border north might be nice in theory but where does it leave Wentworth? How does it get a quota without taking in the CBD from Sydney? Do you want Wentworth to extent north and take in Manly??! Now that would be creative.

            The seat of Kingsford Smith is named after the airport, no? Or at least after the guy that the airport is also named after? Not sure why you can’t have the seat going around the airport…

        3. There’s been some discussion of a double dissolution recently – I understand (from a previous post of yours) that if a new election is called before new boundaries are set then the two adjacent seats with the lowest combined enrolment are amalgamated. If this were to happen (no idea whether it’s likely or not) do you know if Wentworth and Warringah would qualify as adjacent? They are both well below quota and seem likely to be the lowest combined enrolment, but I don’t know if they count as adjacent given the harbour.

          COMMENT: I understand that Warringah and Wentworth are treated as adjacent electorates as they share a boundary. That boundary may run down the middle of the harbour but I understand they are still treated as adjacent.

        4. What of Blaxland?

          COMMENT: Being far from the coast, it will undergo major boundary changes. It may be that Blaxland disappears as an electorate name, or it may be retained for re-naming one day in honour of a former member and Prime Minister.

        5. One factor that may affect the redistribution is that the redrafting of council boundaries (particularly in (Western and Southern Sydney). Electoral commissions like using council lines to justify community of interests. This will be the first Federal Redistribution where the new council areas exist. That could help the commission reallign seats beyond what we have seen as natural areas over the past decades.

          For example, if Mitchell has to head south, Parramatta could allign with the south east boundary of the council area and take Olympic Park and Silverwater off Reid.

          A few redistributions ago, a number of seats in Victoria were renamed due to the previous namesake having a few skeletons in the closet. Are any NSW seats up for possible renaming.

        6. Having read Antony’s fabulous article and everyone’s comments:
          – Northern NSW / Central Coast: New England gains Muswellbrook from Hunter, which gains from Paterson, which gains from Lyne, which gains from Cowper.
          – Regional NSW / South Coast: Parkes gains Parkes from Riverina, which gains Yass Valley from Eden-Monaro, which gains from Gilmore. Cunningham gains from Whitlam as required.
          This resolves all of NSW outside Sydney Metro.
          – Hughes split three ways between Cook (which loses north of Georges River), Banks (which crosses Georges River), and Macarthur
          – Berowra split two ways between Bradfield (which loses Chatswood to North Sydney, which loses Neutral Bay to Warringah) and Mitchell (which loses south of the M2 to Parramatta).
          – This allows all Inner West seats to move westwards as required, and allows for the creation of a new seat based in Western Sydney.
          I’m interested in everyone’s opinions on this! I’ve mapped it all out using the AEC criteria and population estimates for 2024 as best possible. Happy to share detail if requested.

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