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.
The Labor Party proposes to abolish Casey in Melbourne’s outer east. McEwen is proposed to straddle the upper Yarra. Labor proposes to re-name Gellibrand as Tucker.
The Liberal Party proposes to abolish Maribyrnong (or Fraser if the Commission thinks it more appropriate). The Yarra is crossed opposite the CBD with Macnamara abolished. Melbourne is proposed to run from the CBD to Post Phillip Bay generally west of Punt Road. The Liberal proposal creates a new seat called Peacock which takes in Richmond and Collingwood before extending west to Ascot Vale.
The National Party Submission concentrates only on rural Victoria and recommends minimal changes.
The Greens proposed abolition is McEwen, resulting in Menzies straddling the upper Yarra to include eastern parts of Jagajaga.
The last redistribution three years ago set most regional and rural electorates over quota based on pre-Covid enrolment projections. As a result, almost all rural and regional electorates fit within quota though both Ballarat and Bendigo require augmentation.
Labor’s submissions moves Hepburn Shire from Ballarat to Bendigo, with the balance of Golden Plains Shire moved from Corangamite to Ballarat and the Surf Coast down to Lorne moved into Corangamite and the balance of Moolap moved into Corio.
Labor’s submission splits Bacchus Marsh between Hawke to Ballarat. Hawke moves north to take in Gisborne, Macedon, Woodend and all of Macedon Ranges Shire from Ballarat and McEwen, while McEwen moves east into the metropolitan area. Casey is abolished but this is better dealt with in discussion of the metropolitan area.
Labor’s Proposed Changes to Hawke
The Liberal submission makes fewer rural changes including moving Macedon and Woodend into Bendigo, with consequential smaller changes to Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh transferred from Hawke. Sunbury is moved from Hawke to McEwen. The Liberal submission attempts to make Corangamite more rural by moving parts of Golden Plains Shire from Ballarat to Corangamite while moving Leopold into Corio.
In short the Labor submission protects Hawke and helps avoid a seat being abolished in western Melbourne while the Liberal submission improves the party’s position in Corangamite and tries to ensure a seat is abolished in western Melbourne.
North and West of the Yarra
The Liberal submission abolishes Bill Shorten’s seat of Maribyrnong, though it also suggests that retaining the geographic but indigenous name Maribyrnong might make it more appropriate to abolish Fraser, a seat named after a Prime Minister. Most of Maribyrnong ends up in the proposed Fraser.
This change pulls north-western Melbourne seats inwards, Gorton taking the western end of Fraser while Hawke moves east to Caroline Springs and also loses Sunbury to McEwen in the north. The Liberal submission makes far fewer changes to McEwen than Labor’s.
Labor’s Proposed Changes to McEwen
A big change proposed in the Liberal submission is to cross the Yarra in its lower reaches. It proposes that Macnamara be abolished south of the Yarra and the proposed Melbourne run from the CBD to Port Phillip Bay west of Punt Road. A new seat called Peacock is created that runs across several council boundaries in running from Richmond and Collingwood to Ascot Vale north of the CBD. The proposed seat is named not after former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock, but rather Lady Millie Peacock, the first woman elected to the Victorian Parliament.
Liberal Proposed New Seat of Peacock
In my opinion, the Liberal proposal is designed to avoid crossing the Yarra further upstream, and designed to mess with the minds of Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt, and Labor MP for Macnamara Josh Burns. Bandt would have to decide which seat to contest, while lopping off Caufield would make Macnamara a notional Greens seat.
The Labor submission also removes Sunbury from Hawke but places it in Gorton while Hawke is proposed to combine Melton with Macedon Ranges Shire. Gellibrand, an early explorer’s name, is removed and replaced by Tucker after Margaret Tucker, an early female indigenous activist.
Labor’s submission extracts Whittlesea from McEwen and places it in Scullin. McEwen keeps Doreen, keeps parts of Nillumbik Shire, adds area around Research and Kangaroo Ground, parts of Mill Park from Scullin, and crosses the Yarra River to include the entire upper Yarra east to Warburton and also includes parts of the Dandenongs. McEwen goes from being a bits and pieces electorate to the north of Melbourne to a bits and pieces electorate to the north-east and east of Melbourne.
Labor makes only minor changes in inner northern Melbourne as do the Greens. The Greens propose abolition of McEwen and extend other electorate northwards but it is a little hard to understand from the submission where the different parts of McEwen end up. The Greens submission refers to attached maps but they are not present on the AEC website.
South and East of the Yarra
By abolishing Casey on the eastern edge of Melbourne, Labor has created space for all other electorates to move east and south east. Labor proposes no changes to Macnamara and only minor changes to Kooyong, Higgins and Goldstein. From there changes grow. Chisholm moves its northern boundary back to Koonung Creek, Hotham also moves north. Menzies and Deaking move east as a result splitting the suburban parts of the abolished seat of Casey. There are only minor changes to boundaries running south east from Dandenong.
Liberal Proposal for Melbourne extending south of the yarra
By abolishing Macnamara, (it may be better described as abolishing Melbourne), the Liberal submissions creates greater suggested changes. Caufield is transferred into Higgins while Labor voting areas around Carnegie are transferred to Hotham, most likely turning Higgins into a notional Liberal seat. No changes are proposed to Independent held Kooyong and only a small change to Independent held Goldstein. By abolishing Macnamara, the Liberal Party avoid having to make many changes across the rest of Melbourne.
By abolishing McEwen north of the Yarra, the Greens submission pushes inner-eastern seats north and east while Menzies is pushed across the Yarra.
Independent MP Dr Monique Ryan suggests no changes to her electorate of Kooyong, and Independent Zoe Daniel suggests only minor changes to her seat of Goldstein.
Summary of Submissions
The Labor and Liberal submissions do what you would expect, offer up one of your opponents seats for abolition. Labor abolishes Casey in outer eastern Melbourne pushing McEwen across the Yarra, while the Liberal Party chooses to cross the Yarra opposite the CBD, abolishing two seats in Macnamara and Maribyrnong while creating the new seat of Peacock.
The Liberal proposals create major change all across western and northern Melbourne with less change in the east. Labor’s proposals cause most change in outer east, north and west of Melbourne with only minor changes closer to Melbourne’s centre.
The Liberal proposal for Melbourne and the new seat of Peacock are messy, but then so is Labor’s proposed McEwen. But McEwen has a history of being a bits and pieces electorate since it was first created in 1984.
The next stage of the process is comments on the submissions, at which point the Liberal Party will formally lodge its missed deadline submission.