1999-2000 Redistribution of Federal Electoral Boundaries


Current Issues Brief 3 2000-01

1999-2000 Redistribution of Federal Electoral Boundaries

Gerard Newman and
Andrew Kopras
Statistics Group
5 September 2000

Contents

Introduction

Representation Entitlements

Redistribution Process

'Seven Year Rule' Change

South Australia
Tasmania
New South Wales

Change in Representational Entitlements

Western Australia
Northern Territory

Future Redistributions

Endnotes

Appendix 1 Estimating the Electoral Effects of Redistributions

Introduction

A redistribution of Commonwealth electoral boundaries occurred during 1999 and 2000 in South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 provides for three triggers for a redistribution of federal electoral boundaries. Under section 59 of the Act a redistribution shall occur:

  • when there is a change in the representational entitlements of a State or Territory,
  • when more than one third of the divisions in a State or the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) vary from the average divisional enrolment for the State or the ACT by more than ten per cent for three consecutive months, or
  • if seven years ('seven year rule') have elapsed since the last redistribution in the State or the ACT.

The redistributions in South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales were occasioned by the 'seven year rule', while the redistributions in Western Australia and the Northern Territory were triggered by a change in the representational entitlements of the two jurisdictions.

Representation Entitlements

The procedures for determining the entitlement to representation in the House of Representatives from each State and Territory are contained in section 48 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. The Act requires the Electoral Commissioner to ascertain the population of the States and Territories of the Commonwealth during the thirteenth month after the first meeting of a newly elected House of Representatives. After the population has been ascertained (from the Australian Statistician) the Electoral Commissioner makes a determination of each State and Territory's entitlement to representation. The determination following the 1998 election was made on 9 December 1999.

The entitlement is calculated by first dividing the population of the six States by twice the number of Senators from the six States (72x2=144) to obtain a quota. The population of each State and Territory is then divided by the quota to determine the entitlement. If on this division there is a remainder greater than one-half of a quota then the State or Territory is entitled to an additional member. For the purposes of determining entitlements the population of Jervis Bay is added to the ACT and Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island are added to the population of the Northern Territory, while electors on Norfolk Island are included in State and ACT population figures.

2000 Determination

State/Territory

Population

Quotas(a)

Entitlement

Change

New South Wales

6 411 772

50.0139

50

..

Victoria

4 712 186

36.7566

37

..

Queensland

3 512 434

27.3982

27

..

South Australia

1 493 077

11.6465

12

..

Western Australia

1 861 018

14.5166

15

+1

Tasmania (b)

470 266

3.6682

5

..

Northern Territory

195 366

1.5239

2

+1

Australian Capital Territory

310 935

2.4254

2

..

Six States

18 460 753

  1. Population of State or Territory divided by Quota (Quota: 18 460 753/144=128 199.67)
  2. Tasmania is guaranteed a minimum of five members under section 24 of the Constitution.

Source: Australian Electoral Commission, Electoral Newsfile, No 88.

The 1999 determination resulted in an increase in the entitlements of Western Australia from 14 to 15 and the Northern Territory from one to two. No State or Territory suffered a reduction in entitlements at the 1999 determination. With the increase in entitlements the House of Representatives will be increased to 150 members at the next election. As a consequence of the determination, redistributions commenced in Western Australia and the Northern Territory on 23 December 1999.

Redistribution Process

The procedures for conducting electoral redistributions are contained in Parts III and IV of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. The redistribution process provides opportunities for interested parties to make submissions to the Redistribution Committee, to make comments on other submissions and to make objections to the Committee's proposals. The various stages of the process are best summarised by the redistribution timetable.

Redistribution Timetable

Electoral Commission directs the commencement of a redistribution -As soon as practicable

Redistribution Committee appointed -As soon as practicable

Redistribution Committee invites written suggestions from public -30 days

Closing date for suggestions -14 days

Closing date for written comment on suggestions -No time specified

Redistribution Committee considers suggestions and comments-develops boundary proposals -No time specified

Redistribution Committee publishes proposals -28 days

Closing date for written objections to proposals -14 days

Closing date for written comment on objections -60 days

Augmented Electoral Commission considers objections-makes final proposals -As soon as practicable

Final determination

In making its proposals the redistribution Committee is required to take into account the following considerations, outlined in section 66 of the Act:

  • Ensure that, as far as practicable, the projected number of electors in each proposed division in the State or Territory, normally three years and six months after the redistribution, be not more than 103.5 per cent or less than 96.5 per cent of the average divisional enrolment of that State or Territory.
  • Subject to the above, the Committee shall give consideration to the following:

community of interests within the proposed divisions, including economic, social and regional interests,

means of communication and travel within the proposed divisions,

the physical features and area of the proposed divisions, and

the boundaries of existing divisions in the State or Territory (this criterion is subordinate to the above).

  • The Redistribution Committee may adopt a margin of allowance (from the enrolment quota for the State or Territory) of not more than ten per cent above or below the quota.

The strict numerical criteria specified in section 66 of the Act mean that redistributions carried out under this legislation are first and foremost mathematical exercises and can often preclude due consideration of other qualitative criteria. In an attempt to make the process more flexible the Act was amended in 1998, following recommendations by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.(1)

The 1998 amendments to the Act had the following effects on the redistribution procedures:

  • Introducing a provision (Section 63(A)) for the Electoral Commission to alter the projection time in which to achieve equality in enrolment when a further redistribution is expected before the usual seven years (provision used in the redistribution of South Australia in 1999).
  • Altering the time for striking the quota to the commencement of the redistribution process (Subsection 65(2)).
  • Altering the tolerance to be applied in achieving equality of electors at the projection time from an allowance of +/- two per cent to +/- three and a half per cent (Paragraph 66(3)(a)).
  • Requiring that consideration of existing boundaries be subordinate to the other criteria (Subsection 66(3)A)).

It is important to note that in making proposals the Redistribution Committees do not take into account any political considerations.

'Seven Year Rule' Change

South Australia

The redistribution of federal electoral boundaries in South Australia was triggered by the 'seven year rule' contained in paragraph 59(2)(c) of the Act. Under this provision a redistribution must commence within 30 days after the expiration of seven years after a State or Territory was last redistributed. In the case of South Australia the State was last redistributed on 17 January 1992. The Electoral Commission announced the redistribution on 10 February 1999.

The South Australian redistribution was the first occasion where the recently introduced Section 63(A) was used. The section allows the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to determine a projection time earlier than the three and a half years if the Commission is of the opinion that a further redistribution may be required sooner than seven years. The Commission stated that 'on the basis of official population projections provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the AEC was of the opinion that a further redistribution may be required sooner than seven years, and determined the projection time for equality of enrolments for this Redistribution as 30 June 2001'.(2) The shorter projection time was adopted presumably because of the expectation that, given current population growth rates among the States, South Australia might lose a seat at the entitlement determination following the next House of Representatives election.

The main task confronting the Redistribution Committee was how to accommodate the uneven growth rates experienced in different parts of the State. High growth rates are expected in the eastern and southern fringes of Adelaide with the existing divisions of Makin, Mayo and Kingston estimated to be over quota at the projection time (30 June 2001). Meanwhile low or negative growth rates are expected for central and northern Adelaide and the north of the State with the existing divisions of Adelaide, Boothby, Grey, Port Adelaide and Sturt estimated to be under quota.

The Committee's general strategy was to quarantine the three existing country divisions (Barker, Grey and Wakefield) from the city based divisions. Changes could then be made between the three divisions to enable them to satisfy the enrolment criteria. In the metropolitan area, the Committee started with the southern division of Kingston and generally moved around the city in an anti-clockwise direction adding and deleting electors as required to bring divisions within the allowable tolerances.

The generally uncontroversial nature of the South Australian redistribution was exemplified by only four objections (two from the same person) being lodged to the Committee's proposals. The augmented Electoral Commission considered that as the matters raised in the objections were substantially the same as those raised in the initial round of suggestions and comments they should not be upheld, and that the Committee's proposals should be accepted as the final boundaries.(3)

South Australia-1999 Redistribution

Division

Actual enrolment
10-Feb-99

Variation
from
average
%

Projected
enrolment
30-Jun-01

Variation
from
average
%

Area
sq km

Adelaide

86 305

+1.08

87 661

+0.48

71

Barker

85 418

+0.04

87 728

+0.56

52 006

Bonython

83 225

-2.53

88 761

+1.74

269

Boothby

88 871

+4.08

88 832

+1.82

119

Grey

87 590

+2.58

87 834

+0.68

897 822

Hindmarsh

84 542

-0.99

85 054

-2.51

63

Kingston

82 566

-3.30

85 353

-2.16

170

Makin

86 835

+1.70

89 689

+2.81

110

Mayo

82 827

-3.00

85 610

-1.87

2 035

Port Adelaide

86 425

+1.22

86 294

-1.08

234

Sturt

84 949

-0.51

86 106

-1.30

66

Wakefield

85 079

-0.36

87 953

+0.82

31 123

Total

1 024 632

1 046 875

984 089

Average

85 386

87 240

Source: Australian Electoral Commission, 1999 Redistribution of South Australia into Electoral Divisions, AEC, Canberra 1999.

Although the 1999 redistribution resulted in changes to the boundaries of all but one division (Hindmarsh), some changes were relatively minor and had little impact on the political complexion of the State. The main features of the redistribution are summarised below. In the following discussion all references to voting figures are two party preferred votes at the 1998 House of Representatives election.

  • Adelaide-Acquired Greenacres, Hampstead Gardens, Kent Town and Eastwood in the east from Sturt while losing Croydon in the west to Port Adelaide. Made slightly safer for the Liberal Party (margin up from 0.9 % to 1.2%) with the loss of strong Labor booths, Croydon (66.3%) and West Croydon (67.2%) and the acquisition of Liberal booths, Kent Town (53.6%) and Parkside East (57.6%).
  • Grey-Encroached further into Wakefield with the acquisition of the former District Councils of Eudunda, Riverton, Robertstown and Saddleworth and Auburn. Made slightly safer for the Liberal Party (margin up from 8.0% to 8.6%).
  • Kingston-Contracted northward with the loss of rural areas of McLaren Flat, McLaren Vale, Willunga and Old Noarlunga to Mayo. Made somewhat safer for Labor (margin up from 0.5% to 1.5%) with the loss of Liberal voting rural booths, McLaren Flat (67.3%), McLaren Vale (65.5%) and Willunga (62.8%).
  • Mayo-Made slightly stronger for the Liberals by the acquisition of strong Liberal booths from Kingston. Submissions from both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party favoured the removal of the McLaren Vale and Willunga from Kingston to Mayo. The similarity in the Labor and Liberal submissions for Kingston and Mayo raised speculation that a deal had been done between the two parties to their mutual advantage(4).

The electoral consequences of the redistribution for all divisions in South Australia are shown in the following table. The two party preferred votes for the new divisions are estimated by using a Census Collection District (CCD) allocation methodology. An explanation of this methodology is contained in an appendix to this paper.

Effects of 1999 Redistribution-South Australia

Two Party Preferred Votes-1998 Election Results

Old Boundaries

New Boundaries

ALP

LP/NP

ALP

LP/NP

%

%

%

%

Adelaide

49.1

50.9

48.8

51.2

Barker

36.3

63.7

36.3

63.7

Bonython

64.5

35.5

63.7

36.3

Boothby

42.6

57.4

42.1

57.9

Grey

42.0

58.0

41.4

58.6

Hindmarsh

48.8

51.2

48.8

51.2

Kingston

50.5

49.5

51.5

48.5

Makin

49.1

50.9

49.2

50.8

Mayo

40.1

59.9

39.7

60.3

Port Adelaide

66.1

33.9

66.0

34.0

Sturt

42.7

57.3

42.4

57.6

Wakefield

33.7

66.3

33.9

66.1

Tasmania

The redistribution of federal electoral boundaries in Tasmania was also triggered by the seven year rule. As Tasmania was last redistributed on 1 April 1992, the Electoral Commission directed that a redistribution commence in Tasmania on 14 April 1999.

The redistribution task in Tasmania was relatively simple and non-controversial. The contiguous divisions of Braddon and Lyons were respectively under and over the projected quotas while the other three divisions were within the allowable tolerances. The Redistribution Committee found that it could 'achieve the requisite numerical tolerances between Braddon and Lyons by way of the transfer of the entire Latrobe Local Government Area (LGA) into Braddon from Lyons'(5). Minor changes were made to all divisions to align boundaries with redefined LGA boundaries. Only four objections to the Committee's proposals were received, three of which suggested that the West Coast LGA should be transferred from Braddon to Lyons rather than the Latrobe LGA. The augmented Electoral Commission dismissed the objections concerning the West Coast LGA but upheld the objection from a private individual concerning the separation of some 23 electors in the Dorset LGA from the rest of the LGA. It is worth noting that although the final boundaries for Tasmania were notified to the public on 22 November 1999, the redistribution was not determined till 11 February 2000. The delay in determination was caused by problems in preparing the maps of the redistributed divisions and the requirement (under section (75)(2)) for the report to be tabled in the House of Representatives within five sitting days of the Minister receiving a copy.

Tasmania-1999-2000 Redistribution

Division

Actual
enrolment
14-Apr-99

Variation
from
average
%

Projected
enrolment
30-Jun-03

Variation
from
average
%

Area
sq km

Bass

65 008

-0.42

66 783

-0.93

7 343

Braddon

67 360

+3.19

68 640

+1.83

11 760

Denison

66 267

+1.51

67 936

+0.78

221

Franklin

65 285

+0.01

68 084

+1.00

7 933

Lyons

62 476

-4.29

65 591

-2.69

40 604

Total

326 396

337 034

67 861

Average

65 279

67 407

Source: Australian Electoral Commission, 1999-2000 Redistribution of Tasmania into Electoral Divisions, AEC, Canberra 2000.

Given the minor boundary changes it is not surprising that the redistribution had little political significance. Although the Latrobe LGA contains both Labor and Liberal booths (with an average vote of 54.7% to Labor) the net effect of the move from Lyons to Braddon was to slightly strengthen Lyons for Labor (margin up from 10.6% to 11.1%) without any noticeable change to Braddon.

Effects of 1999-2000 Redistribution-Tasmania

Two Party Preferred Votes-1998 Election Results

Old Boundaries

New Boundaries

ALP

LP/NP

ALP

LP/NP

%

%

%

%

Bass

50.1

49.9

50.1

49.9

Braddon

54.3

45.7

54.4

45.6

Denison

64.5

35.5

64.5

35.5

Franklin

56.6

43.4

56.6

43.4

Lyons

60.6

39.4

61.1

38.9

New South Wales

The redistributions in South Australia and Tasmania aroused little political interest; this was in stark contrast to the situation in New South Wales, where the redistribution was characterised by an ongoing saga of political controversy, largely centred on the seats of Hume and Macarthur. The redistribution in New South Wales was triggered by the seven year rule, as the State was last redistributed on 31 January 1992. The Electoral Commission announced the redistribution on 26 February 1999.

In New South Wales the redistribution task was how to account for the disparity in growth rates between the outer Sydney fringe and the rural areas. Electorates west of the Great Dividing Range were generally below quota (Gwydir -10.47%, New England -9.38%, Hume -7.64%, Farrer -7.79% and Calare -5.09%) while electorates in Sydney's outer fringes were predicted to experience considerable growth over the projection period (Macarthur 24.07%, Mitchell 15.35%, Werriwa 14.53%, Chifley 9.31% and Lindsay 9.28%). Other electorates projected to experience strong growth were urban areas subject to urban renewal (Sydney 10.57% and Reid 17.64%) and coastal retirement areas (Richmond 15.13% and Dobell 10.63%).

Not surprisingly, the major parties' submissions offered different solutions to the task confronting the Redistribution Committee. The Liberal Party's approach to the below quota electorates west of the Great Divide was to move electors in the upper Hunter (from the Labor held seat of Hunter) to Gwydir, and to centre the Independent held seat of Calare in the Blue Mountains (displacing the seat of Macquarie). By making these and subsequent changes to the other western seats, the electorates west of the Great Divide would achieve the allowable tolerances. In the metropolitan area the main change proposed was to accommodate the displaced seat of Macquarie into north-western Sydney. In subsequent adjustments the Liberal Party took the opportunity to propose shoring up the margins of Ms Kelly in Lindsay and Mr Cameron in Parramatta(6).

The Labor Party's submission proposed a more radical solution to the below quota western electorates. Their proposal called for the abolition of the southern rural seat of Farrer (held by Mr Fischer) and its replacement by a new seat of McKell created in safe ALP territory in south-western Sydney(7).

The Redistribution Committee proposed a two-pronged solution to the under quota western electorates. Rural areas of the upper Hunter were transferred from the division of Hunter to the north-western division of Gwydir and in the south the division of Hume was moved north-easterly into the Southern Highlands. The displaced division of Macarthur was moved, largely, into the south-western suburbs around Campbelltown. Substantial changes were also proposed to the north coast electorates to accommodate a reduction in the division of Richmond. The divisions of Page, Cowper and Lyne were all moved in a northerly direction.

With Macarthur now a notional Labor seat the proposal involving Hume and Macarthur initiated a flurry of claim and counter-claim as the two sitting Liberal members involved (Mr Fahey in Macarthur and Mr Schultz in Hume) fought over who should be the Liberal candidate for Hume. After initially offering to step aside for Mr Fahey, and contest the neighbouring seat of Riverina, Mr Schultz's resolve subsequently hardened and he decided to stay and fight for Hume. The Riverina solution was ruled out when the sitting National Party member, Mrs Hull, refused to consider a move to Farrer, to be made vacant with the retirement of Mr Fischer. Other solutions to the impasse were for Mr Fahey to move to a safe seat in Sydney, with Mitchell and Wentworth being suggested as possibilities.(8) Mr Fahey based his claim to Hume on the fact that he lives in the area now covered by Hume, that he has always represented the Southern Highlands and that he should not be expected to uproot his 'wife and dog'(9) and move to Macarthur. Mr Schultz's claim was based on being the sitting member, and that he had provided effective local representation to the area as both a State and Federal member. To counter the claim that he no longer lived in Hume (Mr Schultz's home is in Cootamundra, now in Farrer) he said 'he would move from Cootamundra to Goulburn as soon as he found a suitable place'(10). Mr Schultz upped the ante in the contest for preselection by threatening to stand as an Independent, 'if he was levered out of Liberal Party preselection for Hume in favour of Mr Fahey'(11). At the time of writing, August 2000, some twelve months after the Redistribution Committee's proposals for Macarthur and Hume were first announced, the imbroglio still has not been resolved.

Despite a large number of objections (206) being lodged to the Committee's proposals, very few were upheld by the Augmented Electoral Commission. The successful objections were relatively minor and did not effect the Committee's original proposals to any significant extent. The final determination of boundaries in New South Wales was subject to the same delays as occurred in Tasmania, with the final determination not taking place until 11 February 2000.

New South Wales-1999-2000 Redistribution

Division

Actual
enrolment
26-Feb-99

Variation
from
average
%

Projected
enrolment
30-Jun-03

Variation
from
Average
%

Area
sq km

Banks

83 335

+1.38

86 364

-1.68

54

Barton

85 591

+4.12

87 167

-0.77

42

Bennelong

85 422

+3.92

88 920

+1.22

53

Berowra

83 332

+1.37

88 868

+1.17

712

Blaxland

82 392

+0.23

86 347

-1.70

54

Bradfield

88 134

+7.22

89 796

+2.22

97

Calare

83 454

+1.52

86 370

-1.68

21 621

Charlton

81 112

-1.33

85 200

-3.01

568

Chifley

82 119

-0.10

89 560

+1.95

110

Cook

81 530

-0.82

85 538

-2.63

189

Cowper

77 392

-5.85

85 598

-2.56

7 700

Cunningham

80 989

-1.48

86 891

-1.08

490

Dobell

77 409

-5.83

85 492

-2.68

952

Eden-Monaro

79 594

-3.17

87 600

-0.28

30 946

Farrer

84 047

+2.24

87 392

-0.51

96 844

Fowler

83 098

+1.09

88 821

+1.11

47

Gilmore

78 993

-3.90

86 640

-1.37

5 612

Grayndler

85 175

+3.62

87 070

-0.88

29

Greenway

81 710

-0.60

86 963

-1.00

120

Gwydir

85 002

+3.41

85 043

-3.19

185 604

Hughes

83 004

+0.98

89 586

+1.98

265

Hume

81 561

-0.78

88 115

+0.31

25 948

Hunter

82 561

+0.44

86 983

-0.98

10 593

Kingsford Smith

86 641

+5.40

90 237

+2.72

62

Lindsay

78 157

-4.92

85 492

-2.68

351

Lowe

81 518

-0.83

86 010

-2.09

41

Lyne

83 188

+1.20

89 608

+2.01

9 291

Macarthur

74 115

-9.84

89 829

+2.26

573

Mackellar

84 716

+3.06

88 008

+0.19

229

Macquarie

83 849

+2.00

90 777

+3.34

4 197

Mitchell

78 465

-4.55

90 353

+2.86

182

Newcastle

87 803

+6.81

89 466

+1.85

199

New England

84 028

+2.22

85 167

-3.05

53 858

North Sydney

86 185

+4.85

90 387

+2.89

39

Page

81 866

-0.41

86 865

-1.11

16 682

Parkes

83 286

+1.32

85 685

-2.46

268 674

Parramatta

86 696

+5.47

90 618

+3.16

61

Paterson

78 355

-4.68

85 538

-2.63

9 632

Prospect

85 694

+4.25

90 786

+3.35

159

Reid

76 022

-7.52

90 227

+2.71

62

Richmond

75 686

-7.93

87 840

-0.01

2 137

Riverina

86 494

+5.22

89 392

+1.76

44 971

Robertson

81 480

-0.88

88 778

+1.06

785

Shortland

83 460

+1.53

89 364

+1.73

304

Sydney

76 978

-6.36

86 274

-1.79

50

Throsby

80 697

-1.83

86 505

-1.52

387

Warringah

84 641

+2.94

87 657

-0.21

56

Watson

82 939

+0.90

85 680

-2.46

33

Wentworth

86 046

+4.68

89 784

+2.21

26

Werriwa

74 139

-9.81

89 572

+1.97

168

Total

4 110 100

4 392 223

801 859

Average

82 202

87 844

Source: Australian Electoral Commission, 1999-2000 Redistribution of New South Wales into Electoral Divisions, AEC, Canberra 2000.

The redistribution resulted in changes to all but one of the 50 divisions in New South Wales; the central coast division of Robertson was unchanged by the redistribution. In terms of electoral consequences the Labor Party fared better than the Coalition. Boundary changes resulted in two Coalition seats becoming notional Labor seats (Macarthur and Parramatta) while only one Labor seat changed to a notional Coalition seat (Paterson). The main features of the redistribution are summarised below. In the following discussion all references to voting figures are two party preferred votes at the 1998 House of Representatives election.

  • Dobell-This marginal Labor seat is now slightly less safe for Labor (margin down from 3.3% to 2.9%) with the loss of Labor booths in Charmhaven (59.0%), Gorokan North (63.6%) and Lakehaven (54.5%) to Shortland. No electors were transferred into Dobell.
  • Hume-The redistribution affected this division more than any other in New South Wales. Only 51.3% of electors in the old division remain in the new division. In the west, Hume lost the LGAs of Temora, Cootamundra and Gundagai to Riverina and Tumut to Farrer, while gaining Wollondilly and most of Wingecarribee in the Southern Highlands from Macarthur. Despite the major changes the seat remains a fairly safe Coalition seat (margin down slightly from 8.1% to 7.1%).
  • Hunter-Division loses rural areas in the upper Hunter, Quirindi, Murrurundi, Scone and Merriwa to Gwydir, while gaining large parts of Maitland from Paterson. Hunter remains a safe Labor seat with a slightly reduced margin (margin reduced from 14.7% to 13.8%).
  • Kingsford Smith-No significant changes were made to the division. Its spelling was changed by removal of the hyphen to reflect spelling used by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.
  • Lindsay-Division made slightly safer for the Liberal Party (margin up from 1.3% to 2.1%) by the acquisition of semi-rural Liberal areas (Wallacia 61.3%, Castlereagh 63.8% and Londonderry 54.7%) and the loss of Labor booths in the St Clair area (St Clair 59.2%, Banks Drive 58.2% and Blackwell 53.4%).
  • Lyne-Division moved in a northward direction as a consequence of the retraction of Richmond. It gains the remainder of Hastings LGA and parts of Kempsey LGA, including Kempsey, in the north while losing Forster and Tuncurry in the south. Remains a solid National Party seat (margin 9.9%).
  • Macarthur-Composition of this division has been changed dramatically by the redistribution from a rural seat based on the Southern Highlands to an outer-metropolitan seat based largely on Campbelltown. As a consequence the political complexion has changed from a marginal Liberal seat (margin 5.6%) to a marginal Labor seat (1.7%). Safe Liberal booths in the Southern Highlands (Berrima 68.2%, Bowral 70.6%, Bowral South 63.4%, Mittagong 56.6% and Mittagong South 65.6%) have been replaced by equally safe Labor booths in Campbelltown (Airds North 85.4%, Claymore 81.9%, Eagle Vale 66.2%, Leumeah 64.3% and Woodbine 57.6%).
  • Parramatta-Political complexion of the division has also been changed from a marginal Liberal seat (margin 1.1%) to a marginal Labor seat (margin 2.3%). Liberal booths in the north of the division (Carlingford 57.4%, North Rocks Road 63.2% and Northmead High (62.6%) replaced by Labor areas in the south (Noller Park 64.2%, Pitt Row 63.9%, Rose Hill 70.8% and Wentworthville 63.9%).
  • Paterson-Division became more coastal in composition with the acquisition of Forster and Tuncurry in the north from Lyne and the loss of Maitland in the south to Hunter. Political complexion changed from marginal Labor (margin 1.2%) to marginal Liberal (margin 0.4%).
  • Reid-Inner metropolitan division subject to urban renewal projects associated with the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Enrolment in Auburn LGA (encompassing the Newington suburb) projected to increase by 12 000 by June 2003. Remains a very safe Labor seat (margin 22.2%).
  • Richmond-Division contracts to the north with the loss of Ballina to Page. The loss of some strong National Party booths in Ballina (Ballina East 57.4%, Ballina Hospital 55.6%, and Ballina West 54.9%) has made this division the most marginal Coalition seat in New South Wales (margin 0.1%).
  • Sydney-Another division with strong enrolment growth associated with urban renewal projects. Division has been made safer for the Labor Party (margin up from 16.9% to 18.4%) with the loss of a Liberal booth (Holdsworth 61.4%) and marginal Labor booths (Glenmore 50.2% and Paddington 50.0%) in the Woollahra LGA part to Wentworth.

Effects of 2000 Redistribution-New South Wales

Two Party Preferred Votes-1998 Election Results

Old Boundaries

New Boundaries

ALP

LP/NP

ALP

LP/NP

%

%

%

%

Banks

57.1

42.9

57.2

42.8

Barton

59.8

40.2

59.9

40.1

Bennelong

44.0

56.0

44.2

55.8

Berowra

36.5

63.5

36.1

63.9

Blaxland

72.1

27.9

71.4

28.6

Bradfield

26.8

73.2

28.7

71.3

Calare (a)

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Charlton

63.0

37.0

62.3

37.7

Chifley

70.9

29.1

71.4

28.6

Cook

41.1

58.9

41.2

58.8

Cowper

43.6

56.4

44.7

55.3

Cunningham

68.2

31.8

67.2

32.8

Dobell

53.3

46.7

52.9

47.1

Eden-Monaro

49.8

50.2

49.7

50.3

Farrer

35.4

64.6

36.0

64.0

Fowler

76.3

23.7

77.1

22.9

Gilmore

46.0

54.0

46.0

54.0

Grayndler

72.3

27.7

72.3

27.7

Greenway

59.9

40.1

59.5

40.5

Gwydir

36.4

63.6

38.9

61.1

Hughes

44.5

55.5

43.8

56.2

Hume

41.9

58.1

42.9

57.1

Hunter

64.7

35.3

63.8

36.2

Kingsford Smith

63.4

36.6

62.6

37.4

Lindsay

48.7

51.3

47.9

52.1

Lowe

54.6

45.4

54.9

45.1

Lyne

40.3

59.7

40.1

59.9

Macarthur

44.4

55.6

51.7

48.3

Mackellar

34.4

65.6

33.1

66.9

Macquarie

45.9

54.1

45.1

54.9

Mitchell

30.1

69.9

31.0

69.0

Newcastle (a)

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

New England

37.1

62.9

37.4

62.6

North Sydney

37.8

62.2

37.4

62.6

Page

47.6

52.4

47.4

52.6

Parkes

45.9

54.1

44.2

55.8

Parramatta

48.9

51.1

52.3

47.7

Paterson

51.2

48.8

49.6

50.4

Prospect

69.7

30.3

66.9

33.1

Reid

71.6

28.4

72.2

27.8

Richmond

49.2

50.8

49.9

50.1

Riverina

34.7

65.3

35.8

64.2

Robertson

48.0

52.0

48.0

52.0

Shortland

62.8

37.2

62.7

37.3

Sydney

66.9

33.1

68.4

31.6

Throsby

72.5

27.5

72.4

27.6

Warringah

37.0

63.0

37.3

62.7

Watson

67.5

32.5

67.9

32.1

Wentworth

43.7

56.3

44.2

55.8

Werriwa

62.7

37.3

63.2

36.8

  1. Two-party preferred vote figures for Calare and Newcastle are not available.

Change in Representational Entitlements

Western Australia

High population growth in Western Australia resulted in the State gaining an additional seat in the House of Representatives at the 1999 determination. This was the second time that Western Australia had gained a seat since the current provisions were introduced in 1984. Western Australia's entitlement is now 15.

In common with the other States undergoing redistributions, the main task in Western Australia was how to account for disparities in growth rates between areas of the State. In Western Australia, outer metropolitan areas to the north, east and south have experienced strong population growth while the western metropolitan area and rural areas have experienced low growth rates. In addition the Redistribution Committee had to decide where to locate the additional seat.

In a break from the more normal practice of creating new seats in areas of high population growth, the Labor Party proposed that the new seat be located in the rural south-west of the State. To accommodate the new seat in a rural area the Labor Party proposed that a number of seats with a rural component (Canning, Moore and Pearce) should contract towards the metropolitan area. The Liberal Party's suggestion was more traditional and involved the creation of the new seat in the outer eastern metropolitan area. After due consideration of the various suggestions the Redistribution Committee proposed that the new seat be located largely as suggested by the Liberal Party.(12) The Committee also picked up the Liberal Party's suggestion for the name of the new division and proposed that it be named Hasluck, in honour of Sir Paul (1905-93) the former politician and Governor-General and his wife Dame Alexandra (1908-93) a notable public figure in her own right.

The Committee's proposals, with two exceptions, were largely adopted by the Augmented Electoral Commission as the final boundaries. The two modifications involved moving the locality of Beechboro from Cowan to Perth and a more substantial change involving Pearce and Hasluck. In an interesting twist, the Liberal Party objected to the proposed boundary between Pearce and Hasluck even though the proposed boundary followed the Liberal Party's original suggestion. In its comments on the objection the Labor Party agreed with the Liberal Party's new position.(13) It is interesting to note that the net effect of the change to the proposed boundaries of Pearce and Hasluck was to make Pearce safer for the Liberal Party and Hasluck safer for the Labor Party.

Western Australia-2000 Redistribution

Division

Actual
enrolment
23-Dec-99

Variation
from
average
%

Projected
enrolment
31-Mar-04

Variation
from
average
%

Area
sq km

Brand

74 528

-5.59

88 665

+1.45

430

Canning

72 045

-8.73

86 896

-0.58

4 159

Cowan(a)

77 230

-2.16

88 609

+1.38

180

Curtin

83 424

+5.68

85 898

-1.72

89

Forrest

79 009

+0.09

90 070

+3.05

21 143

Fremantle

78 079

-1.09

86 479

-1.05

199

Hasluck(a)

78 891

-0.06

87 062

-0.39

223

Kalgoorlie

82 701

+4.77

89 775

+2.72

2 295 354

Moore

72 538

-8.11

84 988

-2.76

78

O'Connor

82 894

+5.01

86 790

-0.70

179 047

Pearce(a)

73 568

-6.80

86 811

-0.67

26 276

Perth(a)

81 402

+3.12

87 936

+0.61

86

Stirling

86 076

+9.04

88 758

+1.55

76

Swan

78 145

-1.00

84 956

-2.80

109

Tangney

83 529

+5.82

87 310

-0.10

70

Total

1 184 058

1 311 002

2 527 517

Average

78 937

87 400

(a) Estimated by the Parliamentary Library

Source: Australian Electoral Commission, 2000 Proposed Redistribution of Western Australia into Electoral Divisions, AEC, Canberra, 2000.

As a consequence of the creation of an additional seat all divisions in Western Australia, with the exception of Kalgoorlie, were affected by the redistribution. The new seat of Hasluck is a notional Labor seat. The main features of the redistribution are summarised below. In the following discussion all references to voting figures are two-party preferred votes at the 1998 House of Representatives election.

  • Brand-Safe Labor seat made even safer (margin up from 12.3% to 13.4%) with the loss of the Liberal voting part of Mandurah LGA (Halls Head 57.8%) south of Mandurah Estuary.
  • Canning-Loses most of Gosnells LGA in the north to Hasluck, and gains parts of Armadale LGA in the east from Pearce and parts of Mandurah LGA in the south from Brand. Marginal Labor seat made very marginal (margin reduced from 3.5% to 0.6%) with the loss of solid Labor booths in Gosnells (Gosnells South 61.3%, Gosnells West 59.8% and Maddington 62.9%) and the acquisition of some solid Liberal booths (Halls Head 57.8%, Karragullen 65.7% and Canning Vale 59.0%).
  • Hasluck-Marginal Labor seat (margin 2.4%) located in the outer-eastern suburbs of Perth, stretches in an arc from Gosnells in the south to Gooseberry Hill in the east and then to Caversham in the north. Seat contains a disparate mix of solid Labor booths from the old Canning (Gosnells South 61.3%, Maddington 62.9%) Perth (Midvale 71.6%) and Swan (High Wycombe South 57.1%) and solid Liberal booths from Pearce (Gooseberry Hill 65.2%, Karragullen 65.7%, Lesmurdie 62.5% and Wattle Grove 61.0%).
  • Moore-Seat becomes more urban with the loss of rural areas in the north. Seat is now slightly safer for the Coalition (margin up from 4.1% to 5.3%) with the acquisition of safe Liberal booths in the south from Curtin (Marmion 64.3%, Sorrento 64.8% and Sorrento Beach 64.5%).

Effects of 2000 Redistribution-Western Australia

Two Party Preferred Votes-1998 Election Results

Division

Old Boundaries

New Boundaries

ALP

LP/NP

ALP

LP/NP

Brand

62.3

37.7

63.4

36.6

Canning

53.5

46.5

50.6

49.4

Cowan

53.6

46.4

53.4

46.6

Curtin

36.7

63.3

36.7

63.3

Forrest

43.1

56.9

44.9

55.1

Fremantle

60.0

40.0

62.0

38.0

Hasluck (a)

n.a.

n.a.

52.4

47.6

Kalgoorlie

47.9

52.1

47.9

52.1

Moore

45.9

54.1

44.7

55.3

O'Connor

34.9

65.1

34.0

66.0

Pearce

44.7

55.3

44.6

55.4

Perth

63.3

36.7

62.6

37.4

Stirling

51.0

49.0

51.4

48.6

Swan

52.7

47.3

52.5

47.5

Tangney

44.1

55.9

43.4

56.6

(a) New division.

Northern Territory

The creation of a second seat in the House of Representatives for the Northern Territory at 1999 determination presented the Redistribution Committee with a rare opportunity to draw electoral boundaries without regard to any existing Commonwealth electoral division boundaries.

The Committee received five written submissions, four of which dealt with how to divide the territory into two divisions. Three of the suggestions proposed the establishment of a largely urban seat based on Darwin with the rest of the Territory forming the other seat. The other suggestion, from the Australian Labor Party, proposed a more novel approach of splitting the Territory in two, broadly along the Stuart Highway, so that each division would encompass urban and rural parts.

In the end the Redistribution Committee chose the more conventional model by proposing the creation of an urban division centred on Darwin and the creation of a second division incorporating the remainder of the Territory and the Indian Ocean Territories. In regard to the ALP suggestion that the Territory be split into eastern and western divisions, the Committee was of the view that the suggestion failed to meet the community of interest criteria and that, if adopted, many community of interest groups would effectively be split into two parts.(14)

The name of one of two new divisions seemingly generated as much interest as the proposed boundaries themselves. The Darwin based seat was proposed to be named after Vaiben Louis Solomon (1853-1908), a controversial early Territory politician notorious for his actions of walking down Smith St naked and his attitude on excluding Chinese from the Territory(15). This proposal caused quite a deal of controversy in the Territory. The rural seat was proposed to be named after Vincent Lingiari OAM (1908-1988) a prominent Aboriginal land rights campaigainer.

Despite a number of objections the Committee's proposals for both the boundaries and names of the two divisions were accepted by the Augmented Electoral Commission without amendment.

Northern Territory-2000 Redistribution

Division

Actual
enrolment
23-Dec-99

Variation
from
Average
%

Projected
Enrolment
31-Mar-04

Variation
from
average
%

Area
sq km

Lingiari

57 522

+4.61

63 304

+2.37

1 347 849

Solomon

52 455

-4.61

60 369

-2.37

326

Total

109 977

123 673

1 348 175

Average

54 989

61 836

Source: Australian Electoral Commission, 2000 Proposed Redistribution of the Northern Territory into Two Electoral Divisions, AEC, Canberra 2000.

The decision to divide the Territory into a Darwin based seat (Solomon) and a rural seat (Lingiari) has left the political landscape in the Territory evenly poised; Solomon is a notional marginal Country Liberal Party (CLP) seat (margin 2.3%) and Lingiari a marginal Labor seat (margin 3.7%). In Lingiari, strong support for Labor in outlying Aboriginal communities is sufficient to counterbalance support for the CLP in Alice Springs and Katherine (Braitling 58.5%, Gillen 59.7%, Larapinta 61.7%, Sadadeen 55.5%, Katherine 62.3% and Katherine East 60.2%).

Effects of 2000 Redistribution-Northern Territory

Two Party Preferred Votes-1998 Election Results

Old Boundaries

New Boundaries

ALP

CLP

ALP

CLP

%

%

%

%

Lingiari

n.a.

n.a.

53.7

46.3

Solomon

n.a.

n.a.

47.7

52.3

Northern Territory (a)

50.6

49.4

n.a.

n.a.

(a) Division abolished.

Future Redistributions

Since the 1984 amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act, redistributions have become an integral part of the Australian political landscape. There have been seventeen electoral redistributions in the various States and Territories under the current provisions. All states have been redistributed at least twice during that time, with Queensland and Western Australia having been redistributed three times.

The 'seven year' rule has triggered redistributions in 1992 in Tasmania and the ACT, in 1997 in Western Australia and in 1999 in South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales. The following schedule shows the date of the most recent redistribution in each State and Territory and the prospective date of the next redistribution scheduled under the 'seven year' rule. According to the schedule the next redistribution to be held, under this provision, should be in Victoria in January 2002.

Redistribution Schedule

State/Territory

Last Redistribution

Next Scheduled
Redistribution (a)

New South Wales

11 Feb 2000

Mar 2007

Victoria

20 Dec 1994

Jan 2002

Queensland

10 Dec 1997

Jan 2005

South Australia

13 Aug 1999

Sep 2006

Western Australia (b)

Nov 2000

Dec 2007

Tasmania

11 Feb 2000

Mar 2007

Northern Territory (b)

Nov 2000

Dec 2007

Australian Capital Territory

10 Dec 1997

Jan 2005

(a) Under section 59 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 a direction initiating a redistribution must be made within 30 days of the end of the period seven years after a State or ACT was last redistributed.

(b) Indicative only, date yet to be determined.

As noted earlier redistributions may also be triggered by a change in a State or Territory's entitlements to representation in the House of Representatives. Assuming that the current House of Representatives serves its full term with the next election held at the end of 2001, then the next determination of entitlements should take place in December 2002. At that date the latest available population figures should be for June 2002. The following table calculates the entitlements of the States and Territories at June 2002 using the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) population projections. The ABS publishes three population projection series; Series I high growth rate, Series II medium growth rate and Series III low growth rate.

Projected Entitlements, June 2002

Series I (High)

Series II (Medium)

Series III (Low)

Population
'000

Quotas

Seats

Population
'000

Quotas

Seats

Population
'000

Quotas

Seats

NSW

6635.1

49.8973

50

6618.1

49.8988

50

6608.3

49.8959

50

Vic

4878.0

36.6836

37

4872.8

36.7396

37

4874.1

36.8019

37

Qld

3698.6

27.8143

28

3681.9

27.7606

28

3670.2

27.7118

28

SA

1512.9

11.3773

11

1511.6

11.3971

11

1511.9

11.4156

11

WA

1954.5

14.6983

15

1946.8

14.6784

15

1940.6

14.6525

15

Tas

469.3

3.5292

5

467.6

3.5256

5

466.5

3.5223

5

NT

203.4

1.5296

2

202.0

1.5230

2

200.6

1.5146

2

ACT

319.4

2.4020

2

318.0

2.3976

2

316.0

2.3860

2

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Projections, Australia, 1999-2101, Cat no 3222.0, ABS, Canberra, 2000.

Under all three population projection series, Queensland should gain an additional seat to bring its entitlement to 28 seats, while South Australia should lose a seat to give it 11 seats. The entitlements of the other States and Territories should remain unchanged. Redistributions should thus commence in early 2003 in Queensland and South Australia.

Endnotes

  1. Australia, Parliament, Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, Electoral Redistributions; Report on the Effectiveness and Appropriateness of the Redistribution Provisions of Parts III and IV of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, AGPS, Canberra 1995.

  2. Australian Electoral Commission, 1999 Redistribution of South Australia into Electoral Divisions, AEC, Canberra, 1999.

  3. ibid.

  4. Canberra Times, 24 March 1999.

  5. Australian Electoral Commission, 1999-2000 Redistribution of Tasmania into Electoral Divisions, AEC, Canberra, 2000.

  6. Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 1999.

  7. ibid.

  8. Financial Review, 18 May 2000.

  9. Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 2000.

  10. Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 2000.

  11. Canberra Times, 18 May 2000.

  12. Australian Electoral Commission, 2000 Proposed Redistribution of Western Australia into Electoral Divisions, AEC, Canberra, 2000.

  13. 'Augmented Electoral Commission Decides Federal Electoral Boundaries for Western Australia', Media Release, Australian Electoral Commission, 14 August 2000.

  14. Australian Electoral Commission, 2000 Proposed Redistribution of the Northern Territory into Two Electoral Divisions, AEC, Canberra, 2000.

  15. Northern Territory News, 29 April 2000.

Appendix 1 Estimating the Electoral Effects of Redistributions

The Department of the Parliamentary Library utilises two different methodologies for estimating the electoral effects of redistributions. The methods are Polling Place allocation method and the Census Collection District allocation method.

The Polling Place allocation method relies on the identification of polling places in the redistributed divisions and then aggregating the votes recorded at those polling places to arrive at a total for the new division. Non-ordinary votes (ie Absent, Pre Poll, Provisional and Postal votes) are pro rated to the new division on the proportion of votes received in the polling places in the new division to the division as a whole. Thus if the number of votes in the polling places moved to a new division represented 50% of the votes in all the polling places of the original division then 50% of the non-ordinary votes would be moved to the new division. The assumption being that the number and voting characteristics of non-ordinary voters are homogeneous throughout the division.

The main drawback of this methodology is that voters do not necessarily vote at the nearest polling place and that when boundaries are drawn they may dissect polling place catchment areas. The computer system used by the Library has the capacity to account for split polling places but relies on subjective information as to the proportion of the polling place to be included. The main advantage of this method is that it enables the results to be displayed in a meaningful fashion, ie by polling place.

The Census Collection District (CCD) allocation method was developed to overcome the perceived imprecision of the Polling Place allocation method. This method is based on the allocation of Census Collection Districts (and the votes recorded in CCDs) to the redistributed divisions.

Census Collection Districts are the smallest spatial unit used for the collection of Population Census data. There are some 34 500 CCDs in Australia containing an average of 500-600 people each. Census Collection Districts are also used by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for electoral redistribution and roll maintenance purposes.

As a consequence of the marking of the Electoral Roll at election time the AEC is able to generate data showing for each CCD the number of electors who voted at specific polling places. Thus for any CCD in Australia the number of electors who voted at particular polling places is known. However, the data does not show how these electors voted. To obtain this data it is necessary to assume that those electors from the CCD who voted at a particular polling place voted the same way as the polling place as a whole. Thus the two-party preferred voting data for each polling place can be used to estimate the two-party preferred votes for each CCD group of electors at the polling place. This data can then be aggregated for each group in the CCD to arrive at an estimated two-party preferred vote figure for each CCD. The estimated two-party preferred votes for redistributed divisions can then be calculated by aggregating the two-party preferred votes for each CCD in the new division.

The process can best be illustrated by the following example.

Suppose CCD 01 has 100 electors, 75 of who vote in Polling Place A and 25 vote in Polling Place B. At Polling Place A, the aggregate two-party preferred vote is 65% for the ALP and 35% for the Coalition, while at Polling Place B, the two-party preferred vote is 45% for the ALP and 55% for the Coalition. From our assumption regarding the components of a polling place voting the same as the polling place as a whole, the 75 electors are assumed to vote 65:35 in favour of the ALP, while the 25 electors favour the Coalition 55:45. Thus the ALP votes in CCD 01 are estimated to be 49 (75*.65=49) plus 11 (25*.45=11), similarly the Coalition votes are 26 (75*.35=26) plus 14 (25*.55=14). As the total votes for CCD 01 are 100 then the estimated two-party preferred votes are 60 (49+11) for the ALP and 40 (26+14) for the Coalition.

Because the Census Collection District allocation method is more precise in its allocation of electors to redistributed divisions it is regarded as the more accurate method for estimating the effects of electoral redistributions. However, both methods rely on a number of assumptions that may not or may not be true and therefore the results of such processes should be regarded with some caution. Interestingly the two methods rarely produce estimates that vary by more than one per cent in the two-party preferred votes.

 

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