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