Work commitments will prevent me from being early off the mark with analysis of the federal redistribution in Queensland, for which the Redistribution Committee’s initial proposal is scheduled to be published today. Antony Green has an analysis of Labor’s submission to the committee.
Please note that this thread is expressly for discussion of the redistribution. If you would like to discuss something else, please do so on the thread below.
UPDATE (26/7/09): Here’s an overview of the redistribution proposal. I don’t pretend that this makes riveting reading, but having done it will make my life easier when I get around to compiling my federal election guide.
The proposed new electorate of Wright is the commissioners’ solution to the problem of the Gold Coast’s ongoing population explosion, taking the interior areas from the Gold Coast trio of Fadden (6,200 voters), Moncrieff (5,100 voters) and McPherson (5,600 voters). It also takes most of the geographical area of both Forde (38,600 voters), which previously played the role of buffering the Gold Coast on the inland side, and Blair (30,500 voteres), which provides the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim rural areas. At previous elections Wright would have been a safe seat for the Liberals, but the force of the swings to Labor here in 2007 (14.4 per cent in Forde) was such that the current notional Liberal margin is 3.5 per cent.
The creation of Wright has required Forde and Blair to be redrawn dramatically, the latter for the third time since it was created at the 1998 election (at which it was contested unsuccessfully by Pauline Hanson). Blair has effectively lost its least populous areas in the south (centred around Boonah) to Wright, in exchange for the least populous areas of Dickson and Fisher in the north (respectively the old shires of Esk and Kilcoy, home to 11,600 and 2,600 voters, which have been merged into Somerset Regional Council). The changes render Blair virtually unrecognisable in geographic terms, but it maintains the area around Ipswich which provides most of its voters (76,900 out of 94,600). However, the strongly conservative nature of the area transferred to Wright and the relatively marginal Somerset areas have boosted the Labor margin significantly, from 4.5 per cent to 7.4 per cent.
Forde is now concentrated on the gap between the Brisbane and Gold Coast urban areas, including 18,700 voters around Upper Coomera who have been transferred from Fadden. The changes have slightly reduced Labor’s margin, from 2.9 per cent to 2.4 per cent. This northward expansion has produced knock-on effects through southern Brisbane, Rankin in particular to be rationalised from an awkward east-to-west orientation to an almost square-shaped electorate centred on Woodridge. Shailer Park in the east and Park Ridge in the south are to be transferred from Rankin to Forde, while 8,100 voters at Browns Plains, Greenbank and Boronia Heights in the west go to Wright. To the north, Rankin swaps territory with Moreton, gaining 10,400 voters in Calamvale while losing 3,000 in Underwood further east. Further territory adjacent to the Calamvale transfer, accounting for 14,700 voters from Algester south to Parkinson, are to be gained from Oxley. Oxley’s dramatic growth has been further reflected by the loss to Moreton of two substantial areas accounting for 11,800 voters around Acacia Ridge and Oxley itself. These are strong areas for Labor, contributing to a handy boost in marginal Moreton from 4.8 per cent to 6.1 per cent and a harmless cut in safe Oxley from 14.1 per cent to 11.3 per cent. Oxley also loses 5,500 voters at its western end, around Collingwood Park and Springfield Central, to Blair. In the north, the rationalisation of Oxley’s boundary with Ryan along the Brisbane River sees it gain 17,100 voters at Middle Park and Jindalee.
The seats at the coastal end of southern Brisbane remain unchanged, namely Kevin Rudd’s seat of Griffith, the Labor-leaning marginal Bonner and the knife-edge Liberal-held Bowman (although the latter loses 934 voters in Carbrook to Forde, allowing it to be contained entirely within the City of Redland). North of the river, significant changes have been made to Ryan, which due to low enrolment growth and the aforementioned loss of its territory south of the river has acquired the western part of the electorate of Brisbane, taking 23,200 voters in Ferny Grove, Keperra and Ashgrove. This amounts to a transfusion of Labor support from Brisbane, where Labor member Arch Bevis’s margin is cut from 6.8 per cent to 3.7 per cent, to Ryan, where Liberal member Michael Johnson’s margin is cut from 3.8 per cent to 1.2 per cent. Brisbane has in turn been compensated by absorbing 27,400 voters to the east in the Liberal-leaning Clayfield and Ascot area, previously in Lilley, and 2,500 voters around Auchenflower from Ryan. However, it also loses 5,000 voters in a strip from Stafford Heights and Everton Park to Lilley.
Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley has undergone further radical change due to a rationalisation of its northern neighbour Petrie, formerly an over-elongated north-south electorate combining two sharply distinct areas. This has been effected through a swap of 38,000 voters in Petrie’s southern spur, from Carseldine south through Aspley to Stafford Heights, in exchange for 12,800 voters in Lilley’s coastal suburbs north of Cabbage Tree Creek, namely Bracken Ridge, Deagon, Sandgate and Brighton. The latter transfer largely accounts for a cut in Labor’s margin in Lilley from 8.6 per cent to 5.9 per cent, and a boost in Petrie from 2.1 per cent to 7.5 per cent. Petrie also gains 24,900 voters in the Labor-leaning Deception Bay area from Longman in the north, contributing to a cut in Labor’s margin in Longman from 3.6 per cent to 1.3 per cent.
Longman has been compensated for this loss with the southern part of Fisher, accounting for 17,000 voters in the outskirts of Caboolture and semi-rural areas to the north-west, as well as a lightly populated area from Dickson (3,700 voters) immediately to the south. The former transfer has produced a series of knock-on effects in electorates to the north: Fisher gains 12,700 voters around Eudlo from northern neighbour Fairfax; Fairfax gains gains 2,100 voters from its northern neighbour Wide Bay; and Wide Bay gains two lightly populated areas from its northern neighbour Hinkler, home to 2,700 voters. Hinkler loses further interior territory around Biggenden to Flynn (1,200 voters) for no corresponding gain, reflecting rapid population growth around Hervey Bay (Hinkler’s other population centres remain Childers and especially Bundaberg).
Flynn has also undergone significant changes resulting from the ongoing relative decline of the remote parts of the state, which see the already expansive electorate of Maranoa absorb Flynn’s western geographical half (the local government areas of Barcaldine, Blackall Tambo, Longreach and Winton, home to 7,200 voters). This increases Maranoa’s share of the state’s area from 31.5 per cent to 41.8 per cent. Flynn has been compensated with 8,200 voters around the substantial population centre of Mount Morgan. This previously formed a salient near the coast in the south of Capricornia, which gains a countervailing transfer of 4,300 voters west of Mackay from Dawson (to which it also loses 300 voters in a negligible transfer further south). The changes in Flynn are good news for Labor member Chris Trevor, whose margin is up from 0.2 per cent to 2.0 per cent.
Population growth in Cairns has required the Cairns-plus-Cape York electorate of Leichhardt to shed territory to its only neighbour, Kennedy, the boundary of which is shifted north to conform with the Tablelands Regional Council for a transfer of 3,400 voters. Kennedy also awkardly acquires the southern Cairns suburb of Edmonton, adding 6,400 voters. Further south, it also gains from Dawson 1,300 voters in the southern hinterland of Townsville and a stretch of Flinders Highway including Ross River. This has been offset by the loss of 7,400 voters in Townsville’s northern outskirts to Herbert. Herbert in turn loses 7,400 voters in the southern Townsville suburbs of Annandale and Wulguru to Dawson. This has produced a small but decisive change in the margin in Herbert, from 0.2 per cent Liberal to 0.4 per cent Labor. The cumulative changes in Dawson reduce Labor’s margin from 3.2 per cent to 2.4 per cent.
Finally, the Toowoomba and Darling Downs electorate of Groom is unchanged.