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”

Comments Page 3 of 4
1 2 3 4
  1. Getting back to the redistribution, it seems to me the real problem for the LibNats is not that they’ve generally had their margins reduced, but who it has happened to. Johnson and Dutton are two of the only three people they have up their under 50 from memory. Johnson is a fool, but I gather some in the right see Dutton as a key figure in their future – they wanted him to get treasury rather than Hockey.

    If he’s knocked off their front bench talent looks even skimpier, and that’s saying something.

  2. Sorry, I shouldn’t post on memory. There are actually five Libs or Nats from Queensland under 50 in the House. Nevertheless, Dutton does look like the only one likely to have much of a future – so the unfavourable redistribution for him is a serious issue.

  3. [ They say AL-bany, in NSW they say AWL-bury. ]

    Yep – that’s a good way of spotting over east folk down south. 😉 Then again, we have a Warwick (worrick) and a Berwick St (bur-wick) in Perth, so we can’t really talk. Regional variation is weird. (Also, we say ‘Avon’ with a short ‘a’ – are the Vics different?)

    My god, that new seat’s going to be a mess… marginal not-Labor, two and a half conservative parties in Queensland, no historical sitting member from any of them. Get the popcorn.

  4. Psephos

    I don’t know how Victorian you are … but it is definitely Cassle – maine just up the Cole der Freeway, just as lots of Victorian children build sand – cassles at the beach … you probably also say Sand-ring-hm not sand-ring-ham.

    Unless you are originally from Adelaide or NSW or south of the river from Mawl -vern not Mole – vern. At Chez Pseph, we always joke that in Central Victoria, no pronunciation is sacred!!

  5. The AEC seem to be determined to call a new Queensland seat, Wright. If it doesn’t get up will they try again next time – is Qld so bereft of people that they can name a seat after?

    Why not call the new seat Lamington – both geographical and celebrating a great piece of Australian cuisine!!

  6. Fadden is an interesting seat that Antony finds has gone from 10.2 % LNP to 10.9 % LNP. The report had this to say about Fadden.

    114. Projected enrolment in the existing Division of Fadden is 125 476. It must lose at least 24 841 electors, or up to 31 647, to fall within numerical tolerances.
    115. The Committee proposes that electors in the western area of Fadden be transferred to adjoining divisions, including Wright, with the transfer of 18 654 electors to Forde, 6 220 electors to Wright, and 1 274 electors to Moncrieff.
    116. This results in a projected enrolment for Fadden of 99 328 or a variation from the projected average enrolment of plus 2.16%.
    117. The proposed boundaries will place the divisions of Fadden, Moncrieff and McPherson wholly within Gold Coast City Council.]

  7. Naming a seat after Bjelke-Petersen, who avoided a conviction for corruption only because of the corrupt behaviour of a juror, would have been a total disgrace.

    Labor people of course want a seat of Theodore, but the finding of the Royal Commission does weigh against him even though he was never charged. If the seat was to be named for a politician, Killen would have been the leading candidate.

    I don’t see anything wrong with Wright, though Oodgeroo would have been a good choice too.

  8. I don’t think there’s even been a seat named for a politician which wasn’t in the state which that politician represented.

    The real problem will be Malcolm Fraser, because there’s already a Fraser in the ACT, named after Jim Fraser (ACT MHR 1951-71). It might be time to rename that seat O’Malley or Burley Griffin in honour of the upcoming Canberra centenary. Then when Malcolm pops off they can name a seat in Vic for him.

  9. I’m pleased as punch they’ve somewhat rationalised my old electorate of Petrie. At one point, if I remember rightly, it was actually impossible to traverse it from north to south by car, unless you had a 4WD and could drive along the beach near Dohles’ Rocks.

    The proposed boundaries are a lot more sensible and I’m very surprised it’s taken this long to fix them.

  10. Antony&Psephos @ 97 and 98: There’s no town called Castlemaine in Queensland to my knowledge, but the Castlemaine Brewery in Brisbane is pronounced “Cassle-main”. No idea how the Victorian town is pronounced, although I know the brewery is named after the town.

  11. The population of South-West Sydney is set to explode over coming years, particularly in Camden and Liverpool. While this isn’t exactly where Whitlam’s old seat was (Werriwa back then was more Fairfield-centred, moving down to Liverpool), it should see the need for another seat in SW Sydney next to Fowler and Werriwa, particularly if Macarthur gets the chop in the current redistribution.

    The bigger problem is that NSW as a state is unlikely to be gaining a seat anytime soon, so Whitlam would need to come at the expense of another seat, so maybe they would rename Fowler instead.

  12. Interestingly, McMahon is the only dead Prime Minister to not have a seat named after him. Even Gorton had a seat quickly named after him when he died. Is that a consequence of NSW’s shrinking seat allocation? Or does it say something about his Prime Ministership?

  13. [I don’t see anything wrong with Wright, though Oodgeroo would have been a good choice too.]

    It will be much harder for the argument against the name of Wright to be accepted as it has now been proposed for the area where the great woman actually lived.

    Saw a play by Sam Watson about Oodgeroo a couple of weeks ago and was very disappointed by the naive story that was performed. Hope Sam never attempts to write a play about Judith Wright.

  14. 111

    If the ACT went back to 3 seats (I think that excluding the population of the territories from the number of people in the Commonwealth for the purpose of quota determination may do that) and the LA of the ACT was increased to 21 seats, then they could have Molonglo, Ginninderra and Brindabella. This theoretically should add four extra state seats.

  15. [Now, now, we have to love Malcolm now he’s gone all wet in his old age.]
    regarding mal (sort of).

    Is a mall a mal
    a ball a bal
    a pall a pal

    and prahran is just a drunken way of saying “pra-am”

  16. Ben Raue @ 117

    Nice point; I’ve wondered that too. NSW has a catalog of eminent personages that (presumably) will one day have to have a seat named after them: McMahon, Whitlam, McKell (GG), and so on. Unfortunately, NSW’s falling quota of seats isn’t helping to clear the current backlog.

    Any ‘new’ seats in NSW (like your SW Sydney example) will have to come at the expense of old seats. This happened with the ‘new’ Vic seat of Gorton (via abolition of Burke). Similarly, I believe some years ago the ALP pushed for a new seat called McKell (also the name of a former state seat in NSW), formed as part of a proposed radical redistribution of rural NSW.

    Personally, I’m still miffed that there’s no longer a federal seat called Lawson. Blaxland, Wentworth, but no Lawson. Where’s the justice in that? Then again, Vic has a Wills but no Burke.

  17. We should be a bit more adventurous with the seat names.

    I suggest, the seat of Gotto and the seat of Morosi, should be the top priorities.

  18. I would think that Werriwa should be renamed Whitlam after his death. Although it has been around since 1901, the name refers to Lake George which is no longer in the electorate. Lowe could become McMahon. It is not a federation electorate and so is not protected under the naming guidelines.

    To the extent that Calare is no longer related to the Lachlan River, it too should be renamed.

    The AEC should remove geographical names that are very local and do not reflect major cities or regions. Berowra and Prospect as suggested by Adam, but names like New England I would keep.

  19. Tom 121: And if the entire population of Australia moved to Canberra, the ACT would have 150 seats, and one could be named after each of first 150 residents of the ACT. I’m surprised you haven’t already mentioned this.

  20. The name Fraser should have been dropped when the ACT reverted from three to two seats. (Indeed it was the member for Fraser, Steve Dargavel, who lost out from that reapportionment.)

  21. 127

    The exclusion of the population of the territories from the population of the commonwealth is no such a ludicrous idea. They were not included until the preparations for the 1990 election. Giving the Commonwealth electorates the ACT names is unlikely but using the same boundaries, as in Tasmania, if the ACT has 3 MHRs and 3 equal territory electorates is not. I am not the idiot you seem to think I am.

  22. The territory populations are still excluded from the “Commonwealth” population. As is clear from any rudimentary examination of the determination of entitlements.

    And it doesn’t make the difference you seem to think it does; the ACT still only has two seats.

  23. Speaking of NSW seats that should be renamed, Richmond is another. They won’t do it because it is a federation division, but it is a geographic name which is no longer relevant as the Richmond River is no longer within its boundaries, and it confuses the hell out of people.

  24. Not entirely on point Tom – but a way to get around the statistical contrivance used for the NT alone is to give the territories a quota based not on the states, but on Tasmania, so long as Tasmania gets more seats than it would be allowed but for the 5 seat minimum. So their quota would be based on 1/5th of Tasmania’s votes. This would give the Northern Territory 2 and the ACT 3.

  25. I think that’s a good idea, Boundary Man.

    I personally think it’s about time we enlarged the Parliament, considering it has now been 25 years since the last enlargement. We could add a 13th and 14th Senator for each state (possibly a 3rd Senator for each territory), which would add roughly 25 seats to the House of Representatives. It would also give the NT a clear 2 seats and the ACT a clear 3 seats and bring Tasmania closer to qualifying for its 5 seats on its population.

  26. There is no way in all the world in space that Kevin Rudd is going to propose an additional 36 federal politicians at a cost of approximately $1 million a year each. It doesn’t matter what the theoretical arguments are, it isn’t going to happen. I agree that the ACT has been treated unfairly by the current formula (as has SA by the way), but the problem will not be solved by enlarging the Parliament. The only way to do it is to legislate that the NT must have two seats and the ACT three seats until further notice. The new seat for the ACT would have to come off NSW or Vic. I think even that’s very unlikely.

  27. [The new seat for the ACT would have to come off NSW or Vic. I think even that’s very unlikely.]
    No it wouldn’t. The territory seats are supplementary. It’s only between the states that there is a give/take relationship.

  28. 137

    What is the chance that Rudd would hold a referendum in conjunction with the next election to amend the Constitution to apportion seats between states based on enrolled voters instead of the whole population?

    Enlarging the quota by adding seats would mean that the ACT had seats with enrolments between those of Tasmania and the mainland. The Fischer-Bounds method would also fix the problem more systematically that a simplistic ACT must have two and the ACT three rule. I will even give the link again in case you did not follow it because the text of the link did not turn green to indicate it was a real link.

  29. [What is the chance that Rudd would hold a referendum in conjunction with the next election to amend the Constitution to apportion seats between states based on enrolled voters instead of the whole population?]


  30. David, I don’t think that’s true, I think the quota rule applies to all the state and territories, but I don’t have time now to go and read the Electoral Act to find out. But even if it doesn’t, the overall size of the House is subject to the nexus provision of the Constitution. If the size of the House rises too far above twice the size of the Senate (minus the territory Senators), the High Court will order it to be reduced, as it did in 1977. The Senate now has 72 state Senators, so the House should have 144 members. In fact it has 150, which I would have thought is the upper limit of what the High Court would tolerate.

    Tom, the chances of Rudd holding a referendum on any subject in 2010 are nil. He won’t even hold one on the republic, which is party policy. He certainly won’t hold one to oblige some esoteric fetish of yours.

  31. David is right. The quota for allocation of seats per state is determined by dividing the population of the Commonwealth (including Territories) by twice the number of State Senators. The population of each state is divided by the quota to give a quotient that determines the number of seats. If the fraction part of the quotient is greater than a half, the seat gets an extra seat. This is in Section 24 of the Constitution.

    Constitutionally this does not apply to the Territories, but the Electoral Act uses the same formula to determine Territory seats. However, as it is in legislation, so the Parliament is able to amend its application to Territory representation. The Parliament did this six years ago by bringing margin of error in population estimates into the formula so that the Northern Territory could retain two seats.

    The cut in size of the House in 1977 came about by the High Court ruling that the Territories couldn’t be used in determining the quota under Section 24. It didn’t order the size of the House to shrink, it changed the calculation of the formula by excluding the Territory Senators.

  32. The debate on this site over the Queensland redistribution gives me a special pleasure as do all such debates oin electoral redistributions.and their consequences.
    In 1975…at the instigation of then Prime Minister Whitlam…..,I Brian Mckinlay, undertook a High Court Challenge to part of the Commonwealth Electoral Act.
    Though many of our challenges were disallowed by the High Court(though Justice Lionel Murphy supported them !) there was one matter on which The High Court gave me favourable ruling. That matter related to the timing of redistributions,which had until them been left to the government of the day to initiate,usually after the periodic census.
    In 1975 the High Court ruled that the redistributions henceforth, must take place if needed in the life of the current Parliament,when the information on population changes in a State came to hand.
    This has seen many redistributions,often in a single state,and has had on some occasions had a major political effect on M.P.s..as we have seen in Dickson,and other seats and perhaps in 2007 in Benelong?
    The full account of the Court’s decision in 1975 can be found on Google under “McKinlay and The Commonwealth” the name used for the case.though it’s makes demands on the legal lay person.
    As the instigator of the action(with a bit of help from Gough!)I derive a real pleasure from watching it’s working out in our political system. to ensure a fairer representation of voters. and .all under my name.
    .I think it contitutes at least 15 minutes of fame!!…though I have to confess to being a bit shaken when a commentator in the media once explained that the frequent redistributions since 1975 were due to the actions of a now deceased Victorian voter !!!
    I now writing an account of the whole affair just to clear up that point !!

  33. Well, we’re both right. David is right to say that the parliament could legislate specifically to create a third ACT seat without taking it from anyone else. I’m right to say that in the current legislation the quota rule applies to all the state and territories.

    Such an Act would increase the size of the House to 151, seven above what it ought to be under the nexus clause. It would be open to challenge as unconstitutional. If someone did challenge it, the High Court would have to find whatever section of the Act which provides for a House bigger than 144 to be unconstitutional, no?

  34. No. The clause states the House should be as near as practicable to twice the Senate. But it also gives a specific formula to allocate seats to the states. Assuming Tasmania will always have the fixed five seats, that means you could have up to 149 House members representing the states, that 72 State Senators times 2 plus all five states being slightly above 0.5 so getting an extra seat.

    Section 122 allows the Commonwealth to make laws for House seats for Territories. The Territory members have been created by legislation. The High Court couldn’t cut the number of State members because Section 24 is specific on how many seats each state has. The High Court might get interested if the Territories were over-represented in a way that diminished the voting power of the States, but that is clearly not the case.

  35. Ah, so the nexus clause applies only to the number of members in both houses representing the states, and the territories are ignored on both sides of the equation? So the current relevant figures are 72 and 146? I hadn’t realised that, thanks for making that clear.

  36. Psephos

    [There is no way in all the world in space]

    That sounds familiar but I’m not confident about placing it. Nigel Molesworth, perhaps?

  37. I’d have to read the case law to be certain, but there is ambiguity between Section 24 and 122, and the High Court would latch on to the words as near as practicable.

    I’ve double checked some old books, and while the High Court did rule the Territory Senators couldn’t be used in the Section 24 calculations, this had never actually been done.

    What actually happened was that in 1964, the Menzies government allowed a state to get an extra seat for ANY fraction over the full quota. Goodness knows how that provision lasted 12 years given the wording of Section 24. It was these additional seats that disappeared in 1977 after the provision was ruled unconstitutional.

Comments Page 3 of 4
1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *