Queensland redistribution thread

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: The report from the AEC can be viewed here. Quick as a flash, Antony Green has posted estimated new margins.

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.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

185 comments on “Queensland redistribution thread”

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  1. Does the draft (initial) proposal ususally end up to be very close to the final result?

    I’ve always enjoyed the way the AEC seems to make an effort to not do what the parties suggest.

  2. New division will be called Wright, as was initially proposed at the last redistribution.

    It is based in the rural south-east, with Forde becoming more compact.

  3. Surprisingly radical changes north of the Brisbane river.

    Ryan pushes into the inner city. Making it more competitive?

    Brisbane pushes into Clayfield. Also potentially more competitive.

    Lilley pushes west to take out the lower leg of Petrie. I think it gains and loses conservative territory so probably a wash for Wayne Swan.

    Petrie becomes much more centred on Redcliffe. Probably good for Yvette D’Ath.

    Dickson smaller in size. Almost certainly bad for Peter Dutton.

    Note: All these prognostications are preliminary, and I stand to be corrected!

  4. South of Brisbane:

    Bonner and Griffith unchanged.

    Only minimal change to Bowman. Although it is a highly marginal seat.

    In Moreton they seem to have be reversing the changes from the last redistribution. So perhaps slightly reducing Labor’s margin?

    Rankin pushes northward to accomodate Forde and Wright. I think this also reverses the change at the last redistribution.

    Forde is more urban – Logan and Gold Coast councils. Presumably more reliably Labor.

    Wright is the new hinterland seat. Should be reliably LNP.

  5. Labor has sort of got what it wanted with Wright locking up the most conservative parts of Forde and Blair in one seat (although Blair also regains conservative territory in the Brisbane Valley to offset this slightly).

    Moreton would become slightly better for the Liberals, I think.

    Dickson and Longman should be swings and roundabouts for both parties: Dickson more Labor friendly and Longman more Liberal.

    Most of the changes are fairly logical, although I didn’t see the musical chairs in Petrie, Lilley and Brisbane coming. Petrie would be a safe Labor seat, Lilley probably unchanged and Brisbane more winnable for the Liberals.

  6. Sunshine Coast:

    Longman covers a much bigger area, having lost urban area in its south to Petrie and Dickson. Takes more rural area from Fisher and Dickson. Probably bad for sitting Labor member Jon Sullivan.

    Fisher and Fairfax largely maintain their configuration.

  7. Flynn the big change in rural Qld, losing western outback areas and contracting toward the coast. Boosts Labor and possibly the Liberals vs the Nats, but I think everyone expected this.

  8. The rest:

    Leichhardt little changed. Shelves some rural territory to Kennedy. Shame, seemed like the right time to make a purely Cairns based seat.

    Herbert gets smaller, as usual.

    Hinkler sheds some rural areas. Presumably weakening Paul Neville’s margin.

    Flynn much better for Labor. Sheds its most remote areas and gains Mount Morgan.

  9. Oh yeah, Blair. You have to look at two pdfs to see it in full. Loses area to the south and west and gains areas to the north. Looks more like the old Blair, except retaining – indeed, gaining a bit more – of that urban area around Ipswich.

    Probably an improved position for Labor in Blair. It leaves Wright looking slightly awkward with that narrow connection between Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim.

  10. So looks like Labor get a reasonable boost in Flynn, Blair, Forde, Dickson and Petrie.

    Lib/Nats happier in Longman, Brisbane, maybe Moreton, plus the new seat will be safely conservative.

  11. Ohhh… now I see why there was so much change in north Brisbane. They’ve moved the Ryan-Oxley boundary to the Brisbane River, which has had big knock-on effects.

    Previously that was the only major crossing of the Brisbane River. That alteration brings Brisbane more in line with Sydney, Melbourne and Perth where the river is treated as an almost immutable boundary.

  12. [Does the draft (initial) proposal ususally end up to be very close to the final result?]

    Typically, yes. Any revisions are often only minor. Even when there are big changes (such as at the last NSW redistribution) they tend only to affect a few seats.

    [I’ve always enjoyed the way the AEC seems to make an effort to not do what the parties suggest.]

    I don’t think they have any choice. The parties place submissions with self-interest as their only guiding principle.

  13. Kudos Antony.

    Seems I made at least one wrong call. Peter Dutton has apparently improved his margin in Dickson. I’m surprised. I thought the removal of Esk would have made it a Labor seat.

    Wright is surprisingly marginal at 3.1%. Although as with Fisher and Fairfax, it’s hard to see where Labor is going to get that extra 3-4% from after such a strong performance at the last election.

  14. Actually a strengthened position for Labor in Moreton. Presumably because the Libs ran dead in those areas of Oxley.

    Also Forde unchanged. Was I overestimating the urban/rural divide in the old Forde? Or does the new Forde contain much Lib-leaning territory in Gold Coast city council?

  15. Would the Nats take a shot at Wright (or a Nat-leaning LNP)?

    It seems quite rural, though very close to the Gold Coast.

  16. The photogenic young woman that ran for the Nats in Forde in 2007 (where the Lib incumbent was retiring) garnered plenty of attention but managed only 12% of the vote.

    And besides, they’re the same party now.

  17. #17, 18

    I think because Forde swung so massively last time, it understates the margin somewhat for Wright. Possibly that’s why there is no projected change in Forde- the areas it lost are normally conservative but swung to Labor in a big way.

    Plus I think the areas Forde gains are the better Liberal bits of Rankin, and the Coomera area from Fadden is pretty conservative.

  18. Is it possible the reduction in the margin in Lilley is somewhat illusory?

    In very rough terms it has traded the state seat of Clayfield for the state seat of Aspley. From state elections, we know the two have a pretty similar political complexion. If in 2007, the latter was more Liberal leaning than the former it may only be because it was part of marginal Petrie instead of the safe Lilley.

    And by the same token, that would make Brisbane a more marginal seat than the on paper 4% suggests.

  19. #24

    But Lilley also loses territory in the north around Sandgate, which are some of the strongest areas for Labor.

  20. Judith Wright, poet and activist.

    They proposed a division named after her last time, but in the area formerly represented by Keith Wright. You can imagine how well that went down among the locals, so they changed it to Flynn.

    Now the new seat is in southern Queensland so the ‘issues’ associated with Keith do not apply.

  21. So they create a marginal Liberal seat and boost all the Labor marginals bar one and reduce all our marginals to Labor Ahead…thanks AEC thanks alot!

  22. Glen, if you don’t like the Redistribution Committee’s proposals you can make a formal objection.

    I can tell you now, though, that if anybody bases an objection on the political implications of the redistribution, the Electoral Commission will quite rightly refuse to consider it, because that’s not one of the factors for consideration laid down by law.

  23. While the change in Hinkler appears to be small it would be good news for labor as the swing in the areas lost would be so minuscule.

    Can someone tell me what Labor’s chances are in Hinkler? I hear that Bundaberg is supposed to be a Labor area but on a state level there appears to be a trend away from the ALP despite them retaining government. I know 2007 the candidate was not really very good. I know they also lost Hevery bay but them seems to look kinda like the federal results last time anyway.

  24. #30

    Glen, don’t blame the AEC for the high number of LNP marginals. Demographically, many of these should be safe LNP seats. Including Wright, which ought to be safe as houses for the LNP. It was the Coalition’s dreadful performance at the last election that’s pared back your margins, not the AEC.

    I mean, after the last redistribution, the AEC handed Flynn to the Nats on a plate, and they still couldn’t win it.

  25. I would love to see margins on the 2004 results that would provide a much clearer idea of how the seats really are by indicating the swing. probably cheer Glen up too. AS Longman had a 6.6 margin before the 2007 election i assume it would have been even bigger on the new boundaries, if they are finalized of course. Of course maybe there was a personal vote for Mal too.

  26. Ryan to 1.2% margin and the sitting Ubertool Johnson will be living outside the electorate! What an absolutely magfu**ingnificent re-distribution this will be!

  27. LOL!! Many of Johnson’s Ryan branch stacking addresses, based in the Centenary Suburbs to the south of the river (those that aren’t in Hong Kong), are also now excluded from his electorate…. actually, this may mean he loses pre-selection and the LNP / Liberals / Liberal Revolutionary Front actually puts up a more sensible candidate. maybe not so good…

    Then again, the Santoro / Carroll factional war will re-ignite!! Oh joy of joys!

  28. Provisional NSWelsh redistribution to be announced in a fortnight, according to AG.
    So that’s where that new seat came from…


    Maybe someone can solve this slight problem I have with the report.

    According to para.15, the Commission has determined that Queensland is likely to have a new redistribution before the 7 years are up. Considering the recent history of redistributions, this is likely. This changes the “projection time” used for working out the future enrolments.

    Now section 63A(4) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act requires that this determination be published NO later than the notice in the gazette asking for public submissions.

    The notice for public submissions was posted in the gazette (S30) on 19 February 2009, but the notice of the determination was not published in the gazette (GN8) until 4 March 2009.

    Does this mean that the redistribution has been carried out under an incorrect projection time? Is it valid?

  30. #30

    Cheer up Glenn. Bowman and Dickson were uber-marginals and if the next election pans out how we all expect, Labor would have won them on existing boundaries anyway. Forde and Moreton are unchanged, while I doubt you’d have had much chance of winning Blair in 2010.

    In any case, Queensland will almost certainly get another seat after 2010, so good or bad these boundaries will only be in place for one election.

  31. Still Anna Bligh isnt helping Ruddy boy…

    Nevertheless, 2010 should make for an interesting election despite the fact the result is a foregone conclusion…

  32. [Ban announces intention to stand for preselection in new seat of Wright]

    That’s a tall order. Has she got the legs for it? 🙂 🙂

  33. [So they create a marginal Liberal seat and boost all the Labor marginals bar one and reduce all our marginals to Labor Ahead…thanks AEC thanks alot!]

    Longman and Dawson have both had their margins shaved. And Brisbane should be highly winnable for the Libs on the new boundaries. Possibly even Lilley.

  34. Where is Wayne Swan’s base in Lilley? If it’s in Sandgate or Brighton I wonder if he’d give any thought to jumping ship to Petrie.

    Given the polls, he’s probably not in trouble, but on these boundaries the seat is no gimme. A senior minister would love something a bit safer.

  35. Swan’s office is in Nundah according to his website, which is at the southern end of his electorate.

    Perhaps we’re back to the 1996 situation where Lilley is a seat Labor would lose if they lose office; but they ought to hold it whilst they’re in govt. Plus Swan may be able to improve the Labor vote at the western end if he has any personal standing.

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