NSW redistribution thread

A thread for discussion of the proposed new federal boundaries for New South Wales, which can be viewed here. Laurie Ferguson’s seat of Reid is the one for the chop. Antony Green’s analysis is here. My own overview will appear later.

UPDATE (10/8/09): Here it is.


The abolished electorate of Reid, located in the western suburbs from Homebush Bay west to Westmead and south to Rookwood, has been carved up three ways: 46,300 (44 per cent) of its voters go to Parramatta, 33,300 (32 per cent go) to McMahon, as Lowe is now named, and 26,000 (25 per cent go) to Blaxland. The transfer to Parramatta solves that electorate’s identity problem, the boundary between Parramatta and Reid currently running through a town centre that will now sit at the heart of the electorate bearing its name. Parramatta also gains from Reid areas extending eastwards through the Parramatta River and its surrounds to Rydalmere, and southwards to Merrylands and Granville. This is great news for Labor’s Parramatta MP, Julie Owens, whose margin (by Antony Green’s reckoning) is up from 6.9 per cent to 9.5 per cent – provided Laurie Ferguson doesn’t have designs on her seat. McMahon gains the area south from the nature reserves along the Parramatta River through Silverwater and Newington to Rookwood, boosting the margin there to 10.4 per cent. Since there had been murmurings about the future of Lowe MP John “Beef Stroganoff” Murphy in any case, this seat would presumably be the logical target for Ferguson’s predations. Blaxland gains Reid’s southern reaches of Guildford, South Granville and Berala, and presents an unlikely target for Ferguson given the strength of sitting member Jason Clare’s support in the Right.

These changes have resulted in knock-on effects in the electorates south to the Georges River. Watson moves north into areas vacated by the reorientation of Lowe/McMahon and Blaxland to fill the void in Reid. It gains the southern part of Lowe, accounting for an area bisected by the Hume Highway through Enfield and including the southern parts of Strathfield and Croydon to its north and northern Bedfield and Croydon Park to its south. This accounts for 25,200 voters, or 27 per cent of the previous enrolment of Lowe. From Blaxland, Watson gains 18,900 voters in Greenacre and Mount Lewis, or 19.5 per cent of the old Blaxland’s enrolment. There is a further gain 3,900 voters just south of this area from Banks, at Punchbowl. This in turn requires Watson to cede substantial territories to its southern neighbours: Barton, which gains 27,900 voters from Kingsgrove east to Bexley North and Earlwood, and Banks, which gains 18,700 voters at Hurstville and a sliver of territory at Narwee and Riverwood south of the South Western Motorway. Watson thus carries over only 52 per cent of the voters from the division as previously constituted.

Barton’s gains from Watson are counter-balanced by the transfer to Banks of the western part of its territory on the north shore of the Georges River, accounting for 27,000 voters from Connells Point, Kyle Bay and Blakehurst north to Hurstville. Banks’s gains from Barton and Watson amount to an eastward shift, which is manifested at the opposite end by transfers to Hughes (22,900 votes from Milperra south through Panania to Georges River, home to 22,900 voters) and Blaxland (15,100 voters in an area from Bankstown Aerodrome east through Condell Park to Bankstown itself). The effect has been to reduce the Labor margin in Banks to single figures, from 11.1 per cent to 9.6 per cent. Blaxland’s gains in north and south are counterbalanced by losses in east (18,900 voters in Greenacre and Mount Lewis to Watson, as previously mentioned) and west (20,200 voters in Lansvale and eastern Cabramatta to Fowler), changing the electorate’s orientation on the map from horizontal and vertical and leaving it carrying over only 60 per cent of its existing voters.

Hughes pays for its gain from Banks with two transfers to its eastern neighbour Cook, around Como on Georges River (4900 voters) and Sutherland further south (3400 voters), one to its north-western neighbour Fowler (5600 voters at Liverpool), and the loss of urban Heathcote and the adjoining national park of the same name to Cunningham in the south (4,900 voters). The Banks gain in particular has contributed to a small but potentially crucial change in the Liberal margin, which is cut from 2.2 per cent 1.1 per cent. Fowler loses the outskirts areas west of Kemps Creek – over half of its geographic area – accounting for 9500 voters at Wallacia, Warragamba, Luddenham and Greendale, which now form the northern tip of Macarthur. It also loses 10,800 voters at Cecil Park to Prospect in the north and 1500 at Austral to Werriwa in the south, while making the aforementioned gains from Blaxland and Hughes to the east. Prospect’s gain from Fowler is counterbalanced at its opposite end by a neat shift of the northern boundary from the Western Motorway to the Great Western Highway, moving 3500 voters to Chifley. Its eastern tip at South Wentworthville, containing 5400 voters, is transferred to Parramatta. Werriwa’s gain from Fowler is counterbalanced by the loss of 4300 around Blairmount and Blair Athol to Macarthur in the south.

Parramatta’s gains from Prospect and particularly Reid are counterbalanced by losses in the west and central north. The latter area accounts for a transfer for 9500 voters around Winston Hills to Mitchell, bringing the Liberal margin there down from 11.6 per cent to 9.6 per cent. The area west of Old Windsor Road and Binalong Road, accounting for 44,400 voters in Kings Langley, Lalor Park, Seven Hills, Toongabbie and Girraween, goes to Greenway in a dramatic redrawing of that electorate. A further strip of territory immediately to the west is transferred to Greenway from Chifley, accounting for 9700 voters from Blacktown south to Prospect. All that remains of the original Greenway is its area closest to the city, defined by the Blacktown-Richmond Railway in the west and Old Windsor Road in the east, with Marayong, Acacia Gardens, Parklea, Glenwood, Stanhope Gardens and Riverstone in between. This area contains 44,900 voters, only 45 per cent of those in Greenway as currently constituted. The area west of the railway, including 9,700 voters at Shanes Park, Marsden Park and Colebee, now forms the northern end of Chifley. Further west again, on the opposite bank of South Creek, Londonderry and its 4000 voters now form the northern end of Lindsay, reducing the Labor margin there from 6.8 per cent to 6.3 per cent. Beyond that to the north, the outskirsts and semi-rural territory which previously made up most of Greenway’s geographic area has been transferred to Macquarie. Greenway thus goes from being a Liberal seat with a margin of 4.5 per cent to a Labor seat with a margin of 5.6 per cent, presenting Liberal member Louise Markus with a redistribution as bad as her last one was good.

Mitchell’s gain from Parramatta in the south is counterbalanced by the loss to Berowra in the north of its area beyond Cattal Creek, containing 8600 voters from Glenhaven north-west to Annangrove. Berowra also gains a small strip of the otherwise unchanged Bennelong, adding 1900 voters north of North Rocks Road and Plympton Road in Beecroft. The former change helps push the Liberal margin over double figures, from 8.9 per cent to 10.3 per cent. Its gains are counterbalanced by the transfer of 6600 voters around Normanhurst in the south-east to Bradfield, which also gains 7000 voters at East Killara and East Lindfield from its south-eastern neighbour Warringah. The latter transfer forms part of a rationalisation of Warringah’s western boundary along Middle Harbour Creek and Sugarloaf Bay, which also moves Castle Cove and Middle Cove due south of the Berowra transfer to North Sydney. Warringah also loses 3500 voters to the otherwise unchanged Mackellar at Forrestville on the eastern bank of Middle Harbour Creek, adjoining the East Killara/East Lindfield transfer to Bradfield. North Sydney gains the southern part of Bradfield around Chatswood, adding 13,800 voters, while losing to Warringah 2700 voters in a strip between Middle Harbour and Sydney Harbour from Willoughby Bay to Neutral Bay and Cremorne Point. Liberal margins in Warringah and North Sydney have both been garnished slightly, from 5.4 per cent to 5.0 per cent in the former case and 9.5 per cent to 8.8 per cent in the latter.

The southern shore and inner city seats have undergone very little change. Malcolm Turnbull’s base in Wentworth has gone untouched. Its southern neighbour, Peter Garrett’s Kingsford Smith, loses 3600 voters in its north-western corner at Rosebury to Sydney, which is otherwise unchanged. Sydney’s western neighbour, Grayndler, absorbs 1200 voters in northern Croydon from Lowe, allowing Grayndler to cover the entire municipality of Ashfield.


The area Macquarie absorbs from Greenway extends from Richmond in Sydney’s north-western outskirts north through Kurrajong to the unpopulated Parr State Conservation Area and populated McDonald River valley, and accounts for 43,600 voters. Just as the loss of this area has been devastating for the Liberals in Greenway, so has its gain all but eliminated Labor’s buffer in Macquarie, from 7.0 per cent to 0.1 per cent. Macquarie maintains the Blue Mountains municipal area but loses to Calare its interior territory, including 41,900 voters in and around Lithgow, Oberon and Bathurst, which returns to Calare populous areas it lost at the previous election. In doing so it again makes Calare a marginal seat, as it had been when Labor held it throughout the Hawke-Keating years. The Nationals margin is now 1.2 per cent, compared with 12.1 per cent at the election. Calare retains 41,400 voters in Orange, the neighbouring Cabonne and Blayney municipalities and the northern part of the Bathurst Regional Council area. It also absorbs the area of Parkes nearest to Sydney, namely the southern half of Wellington Shire Council (including Mumbi and Neurea) and most of Mid-Western Regional Council (Mudgee and Gulgong), home to 14,500 voters. The unpopulated remainder of Mid-Western, beyond Bylong Valley to the east, is transferred to Hunter.

Parkes in turn absorbs from Calare its expansive interior areas, resulting in a dramatic increase in its already considerable geographic area and a corresponding reduction in Calare’s. This area runs from Forbes and Parkes out to Narromine, Warren, Condobelin, Nyngan, Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina and Wilcannia, and contains 34,700 voters. A further area to the south, containing 2,600 voters in Shire of Carrathool and the southern half of the Shire of Lachlan, goes to Riverina, while 11,800 voters to the east of this area in the shires of Weddin and Cowra go to Hume. The area maintained by Parkes extends from Dubbo and Wellington north through the shires of Gilgandra, Warrumbungle, Coonamble and Narrabri to the Queensland border at Walgett, Moree Plains and Gwydir. Parkes loses the 8200 voters in the Shire of Gunnedah to its eastern neighbour, New England, which in turn loses 1100 voters in the north-eastern part of the Shire of Tenterfield to Page. This adjustment has cut the Labor margin in Page from 2.4 per cent to 2.2 per cent.

The latter amendment notwithstanding, the north coast electorates of Richmond, Page and Cowper have been little affected. Richmond is unchanged, reflecting ongoing population growth around Tweed Heads. A salient south of Grafton containing 250 voters has been transferrred from Cowper to Page for the sake of neatness. Cowper’s southern neighbour, Lyne, gains 3800 voters in the Shire of Gloucester at its interior southern end from Paterson. Paterson’s boundary with Hunter in the city of Maitland has been amended to conform with New England Highway, adding East Maitland on the highway’s north-eastern side, and to the north of the city it gains an area around Hillsborough and Maitland Vale north of the Hunter River. The changes account for 2300 voters between them, counterbalancing Hunter‘s gains from Parkes and cutting the Liberal margin in Paterson from 1.5 per cent to 0.4 per cent. Paterson loses to Newcastle the area from the Paterson River and Four Mile Creek south to Raymond Terrace Road, including the town of Duckenfield and 530 voters. Newcastle loses to Charlton an area of Lambton south of Newcastle Road and west of Croudace Street, which includes Newcastle Private Hospital and 1200 voters in a residential area to the north. There is no other change to Charlton, and no change at all to its coastal neighbour Shortland. Further south again, Dobell is unchanged except for the loss of 157 voters in its interior area of McPherson State Forest and Mangrove Creek Dam, which is transferred to the otherwise unchanged Robertson.

In the interior, Farrer remains unchanged, continuing to cover the entirety of the state’s western border and extending along the Victorian border as far as Albury and the adjoining Shire of Greater Hume. Neighbouring Riverina now extends to the Victorian border by gaining the interior areas of Eden-Monaro, the shires of Tumut and Tumbarumba (10,100 voters), and also has the previously discussed gain from Calare. This is counterbalanced by the loss of the Shire of Cootamundra and its 5500 voters to Hume. Eden-Monaro gains the 13,900 voters in and around Batemans Bay from its northern coastal neighbour Gilmore, which together with the Riverina transfer returns Eden-Monaro to its pre-2007 boundaries, excepting the anomalous areas north of the Australian Capital Territory which remain in Hume. Labor’s margin there is reduced from 3.4 per cent to 2.3 per cent. At its eastern end, Hume gains from Macarthur and loses to Throsby. The gain of the interior area of Macarthur, covering 10,500 voters from Lake Burragorang south through Oakdale, The Oaks and Picton to Wilton and Brooks Point, counterbalances Macarthur’s Sydney outskirts gains from Fowler and Werriwa. To Throsby it loses the balance of the Shire of Wingecarribee east of the Hume Highway, including 27,500 voters in and around the rail line towns of Mittagong, Bowral and Moss Vale. The changes to Hume increase the Liberal margin from 4.2 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

Throsby loses to Gilmore its southern coastal area around Shellharbour and lighly populated areas of the Municipality of Kiama further inland, collectively accounting for 20,200 voters. This counterbalances Gilmore’s loss of Batemans Bay to Eden-Monaro in the south. Labor’s strength around Shellharbour and weakness around Batemans Bay are just enough to shift Gilmore into the notional Labor column, turning a Liberal margin of 4.1 per cent into a Labor margin of 0.2 per cent. At Throsby’s northern coastal end, the unpopulated Spring Hill industrial area north of Port Kembla is transferred to Cunningham. More substantially, Cunningham gains northern areas in the Shire of Sutherland: at the coastal end, it gains the Royal National Park along with Bundeena and Maianbar on the southern bank of the Hacking River from Cook, adding 1800 voters; further inland, it gains 4900 voters in and around the Princes Highway centres of Heathcote and Waterfall from Hughes. Cook makes two gains along its western boundary from Hughes: at Como and Bonnet Bay in the north and in the eastern part of Sutherland further south, collectively adding 8200 voters. Hughes’s losses to Cook and Cunningham, along with the loss of Liverpool to Fowler, counterbalance the substantial gain from Banks north of the Georges River.

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.

211 comments on “NSW redistribution thread”

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  1. 131

    The Greens are very likely to retain their seats in Victoria next year and may well make gains. The polling has the Victorian Greens up up to 5% from the election and I this is probably from ex-ALP voters fed up with Brumby.

  2. Getting back to this redistribution, whatever the claims of political purity of the committee, they have failed the community interest test in so many electorates that they really need to start again with a blank piece of paper. Just to name a few – Lidcombe and Drummoyne? Warilla and Berrima? dividing Sutherland Shire amongst three electorates? the resurrection of that bizarre cigar shaped Greenway while Blacktown is split in half? That on top of the already ridiculous joining of Tibooburra with Albury, Loftus with Liverpool and a number of other plain wacky combinations.

    Forget about biased, its just plain bad.

  3. Why must every thread in here turn into an argument over whether the Greens will win lower house seats in 2010?
    It’s getting very tiresome!

  4. Speaking of my local area: yes, it seems Thornleigh has been moved from Berowra into Bradfield.
    No more Ruddock as my local member!
    And with Nelson retiring, goodness knows who the next member of Bradfield will be?

  5. Gonginalong @153

    It is probably not possible to have a redistribution without some disparate communities of interest. Agree with you that Broken Hill in Farrer is ridiculous – Sussan Ley must have a plane to get around! This redistribution removes some of the sillier ones from last time – such as Tumut and Tumbarumba in Eden Monaro, Lindfield in Warringah but Heathcote into Wollongong also seems silly but then again for many years this part of the Sutherland Shire and the northern suburbs of Wollongong were in the same state and federal seats.

  6. Each time NSW loses a seat, the harder it is to achieve community of interest. In strictly political terms, community of interest doesn’t really matter, though of course it’s desirable. Equal enrolments is a higher priority.

  7. [Agree with you that Broken Hill in Farrer is ridiculous]

    So where would you put Broken Hill? It always had its own seat until 1977 (Barrier, then Darling), but since then it hasn’t had enough voters for that. It has been successively put in Riverina, Parkes and Farrer, but it has no community of interest with the rest of western NSW so it doesn’t fit anywhere.

  8. gonginalong @ 153 – The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 clearly makes the “community of interests” criterion subordinate to the numerical ones set out in ss.63(3) and para 66(3)(a) of the Act. This reflects the policy decisions taken over a quarter of a century ago that the objective of “one vote one value” was of paramount importance.

    For the life of me I can’t see why community of interests matters all that much. People have MPS, they are on the web and in the phone book, they contact them if they need them. We don’t expect MPs to bring largesse back to their communities as in PNG and the US, and that’s a good thing.

    In fact, we might get a better parliament if electorates were deliberately created to provide diversity of interests, since the MPs might have to take account of the views of a broader and more representative set of constituents.

  9. 157

    The simple solution to that is to expand the Parliament.


    What we need is multi-member electorates instead of these divide and conquer single member majoritarian system.

  10. So where would you put Broken Hill? ….. It has been successively put in Riverina, Parkes and Farrer, but it has no community of interest with the rest of western NSW so it doesn’t fit anywhere.

    So thats what Psephos says … It is a ‘best fit’ with whatever seat Dubbo is in. They are linked by road, scheduled air services and the bureaucracy.

  11. A word of caution about notional majorities. When territory is transferred from one seat to another, it should not be automatically assumed that the booths in that territory will vote the same way in the new seat as they did in the old seat.

    Example: the 2007 redistribution transferred Tumut and Tumbarumba from Farrer (safe Lib) to Eden-Monaro (key marginal). Labor had never seriously contested Farrer, but poured money and resources into Eden-Monaro. Result: swings of 15 to 20% in the Tumut and Tumbarumba booths. Obviously this was in part a reflection of the national swing, and partly due to Mike Kelly being an exceptional candidate, but it also showed that the 2004 voting figures from Tumut and Tumbarumba understated the *potential* Labor vote, thus leading to an overstating of the notional Liberal majority in 2007.

    In this redistribution, we might see this at play in Hughes, where a block of Labor-voting suburbs has been transferred from Banks. The Libs have never seriously contested Banks, so these areas *might* be potentially better for the Libs than they appear. Likewise Shellharbour, transferred from Throsby to Gilmore. Thus the situation in these seats might not be as good for Labor as their new notional majorities suggest.

  12. Psephos

    Would you put Macquarie in the same category as:

    a: It was pretty certain that the Libs were not going to win in 2007 so resources not allocated
    b: Bob Debus was a well known candidate who is retiring at the next election.

    Also this morning’s SMH says Danna Vale is retiring so Hughes may be as marginal or even more so.

  13. This redistribution shows that post the next election the NSW Libs could quite possibly reduced to the North Shore rump plus Farrer and Hume. Of those, three remaining seat could be occupied those part their úse by’ date – Philip Ruddock in Berowra, Bronwyn Bishop in Mackellar, and Alby Schultz in Hume. If the Libs are serious about 2013 – they need to give these three the tap on the shoulder and find candidates with senior minister (or leadership) potential.

  14. No I wouldn’t put Macquarie or Calare in the same category. All these areas have been seriously contested at recent elections.

    I agree that Vale’s retirement makes Hughes more winnable for Labor. But in the areas transferred from Banks, of course, the personal vote issue cuts the other way.

  15. pedant @159. Single member electorates are meant to reflect the views of their specific communities. If you’re trying to design electorates including every type of community, then you might as well do away with electorates entirely and have a national proportional system. For those of us who believe that MPs should be representing their constituents and not just party ciphers, the committee have got it very wrong. Albury has far more in common with the Riverina and Broken Hill has far more in common with Central West NSW (to be fair dinkum, Broken Hill should be in SA anyway) – as has also been pointed out, these electorates don’t make geographical sense either for a Member trying to serve them. If I was Muslim I’d also be saying that what they’ve done with McMahon could be seen as a deliberate attempt to spread the areas with lots of Muslims between a number of different electorates – because it certainly doesn’t make sense on any other basis.

  16. [So where would you put Broken Hill? ….. It is a ‘best fit’ with whatever seat Dubbo is in. They are linked by road, scheduled air services and the bureaucracy.]

    Dubbo is an agricultural services town, voting very solidly Nat, while Broken Hill is a mining town voting solidly ALP. There have as much in common as Redfern and Vaucluse.

    I agree that community of interest should be an important criterion in designing divisions, but it has to be subordinate to numbers. The fewer divisions there are, the harder it is to design divisions that have community of interest.

  17. [If I was Muslim I’d also be saying that what they’ve done with McMahon could be seen as a deliberate attempt to spread the areas with lots of Muslims between a number of different electorates – because it certainly doesn’t make sense on any other basis.]

    Maybe you should be a Muslim. You’ve certainly got their knack for paranoid and absurd conspiracy theories.

  18. 169

    So you support demographic and political communities of interest as a major factors in determining seats then? Like how Northcote and Brunswick share more in common with each other that Pascoe Vale and Preston respectively.

  19. 174

    I suppose this argument is for the Victorian redistribution next year. It is still a legitimate argument about demographic similarity versus Merri Creek even if the motives are political (on both sides).

  20. Thanks for this clear admission that the Greens can only win votes in the gentrified inner suburbs and can’t appeal to working-class people in the northern suburbs. I agree.

  21. 176

    The Greens can and do win votes in working class areas but they can and do win more in inner-suburban areas with high levels of professionals. Parties are sensible to target area where their vote is has the most potential to get them elected. I notice that you have not provided any arguments (other than it would help the Greens) or evidence against the use of demographics rather that a creek to determine the how two divisions worth of voters are divided. I think that more Parliamentary representation would help the Greens to get more voters in the non-inner-city areas.

  22. #177

    If seats were drawn according to similar demographics, wouldn’t this just end up creating a set of ultra-safe seats for both parties (with one or two safe Green seats)?

  23. While it is true that the Preston-Northcote and Coburg-Brunswick area are similar but this is like saying Stonnington and Boorandara are similar.

    The Brunswick-Coburg area has for a long time been more middle-class than Preston-Northcote, according to the ABS Wills is the most middle-class seat in the country.

    The Brunswick-Coburg area historically have been different to the Preston-Northcote area for example and this is a minor way of showing the difference but Brunswick-Coburg is very strong in supporting Essendon and Carlton, while Preston-Northcote is nore supportive of Collingwood.

    I also think you will find Brunswick area is more popular with italians and Turkis Coburg is more Muslim and Preston is more Greek. of course in writing that i should point out that this comment is a general statement and is not a complete picture.

    Also Brunswick West and Pascoe Vale look and feel very different to Preston and Reservoir.

    In many ways ths is like comparing Frankston and Dandenong, sure they are next door but they are worlds apart

  24. The only way you can create a Green seat is to have a seat based on Fitzroy and Brunswick East or a seat based on St Kilda.

    The Greens also dfo very well in some rural communities on the suburban fringe and in some country towns.

  25. #180

    At state level, Prahran is likely to absorb more of St Kilda/Windsor area in the next redistribution. It would be a reasonable chance for the Greens in that case, especially if/when Labor is on the way out (realistically, that’s 2014).

  26. 178

    There are areas with demographics that predispose them to being marginal. The seat balance wold not change much but the would be two federal seats in Victoria that would be ALP versus Green rather than one.


    Yes they are similarly similar but they share more boundary.

    The Brunswick area and the Northcote area have both experienced major gentrification in the last couple of decades while the Pascoe Vale/North Coburg and Preston areas have not. This shows up in the statistics I linked to in 173 (particularly the proportion of professionals).

    The southern halves have changed from what they used to be historically due to gentrification.

    So it would rearrange the combinations of ethnic backgrounds. So What?

    Most electorates have a combination of areas with different “looks” and “feels”. Anyway the housing ages are more similar between areas of about the same age (like Brunswick and Northcote or North Coburg and Preston).

    They are a lot closer together than Frankston and Dandenong. The also have less difference in identity. Frankston is South and Dandenong is South-East.

  27. 182

    State redistributions are even more off topic but I shall respond anyway.

    You seem make the assumption that it is always the Liberals that the Greens need to get ahead of. This is not correct. The Greens only need to get one of the big parties to win. The gap between the Greens and the ALP in Prahran at the last state election was 16.59% and that means that a swing of just 8.3% (less if there is a swing from the ALP to the Liberals of under 3.5% or so) to sent a Green to Spring Street. The next redistribution will likely do as you say boundary wise and change it from a three way marginal to a ALP versus Green seat.


    A federal redistribution of a state (ignoring tangents like the first part of this post). So what if it is the wrong side of the Murray and a year different.

  28. The seat is Dickson, named for Sir James Dickson, a former Qld premier who was a member of Barton’s first federal ministry but died before the first federal election.

  29. O dear silly me! am i silly or are the Liberals in that much trouble that even a political tragic doesn’t know the first name of one of its bright lights.

    The SMH called the seat Dixon not Dickson

  30. Psephos @ 164
    I find your comments about Gilmore not as good for labor as it looks on paper, interesting. While i completely agree on the Shellhabour not being properly contested before. it seems to me that Gilmore is a natural labor seat even before the redistribution.
    Its median weekly income is $655 without seeming rural in the riverina kind of way. It seems to me that Gash’s personal vote seems to have masked the liberals true position there. The state seat of Kiama’s margin of 12 percent seems to be the opposite extreme and labor hasn’t done to badly on South coast either till last state election. Im not saying labor will win it as labor seems to have let that part of the state down a fair bit with its candidates in the past and its and is a little on the old side.
    Are there things about it i don’t know?

  31. #191

    Low income would probably come because of the high retiree population down the south coast.

    Even on these boundaries it was a comfortable-ish Liberal seat, excepting Peter Knott’s GST victory in 1993.

  32. It’s ridiculous to think you can divide the state up into 48 evenly-populated communities that all logically connect with each other and share a common interest.

    I think the AEC do a pretty damn good job. Most seats are reasonably logical, and a few aren’t. The only ones that really don’t fit a community of interest test are probably Hughes, Farrer, and maybe Macquarie. That’s pretty damn good. In the case of Macquarie and Farrer the populations are so small that it’s not possible to create a community of interest. Broken Hill and the Blue Mountains really don’t fit with anyone else, and are too small to form a seat on their own.

    If you want to see partisan influence, go check out the maps for the districts in the US House of Representatives. I’ve posted the maps on my blog. You can also see them here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Congressional_districts

    Look at the larger states in particular, since you can’t do that much gerrymandering with only 2 or 3 seats.

  33. Even some of the small states are shockers. Salt Lake City is split between all three of Utah’s congressional districts.

    It shows what can happen when no emphasis is given to community of interest. I don’t think there’s much point having single member constituencies if they don’t represent coherent, logical communities. (Though I agree CoI criteria must be subordinate to numerical criteria.)

  34. Thanks Ben. That is fun. My bipartisan gerrymander won unanimous approval in the legislature but got held up in court for failing to meet compactness laws. 🙁

  35. One reason the US boundaries are “strange” when compared to the Australian context is that the Voting Rights Act requires in effect that boundaries be drawn to allow black majority districts.

    The American boundaries are largely drawn by the STATE legislatures and so are designed to favour one party over the other. Only a few states draw their FEDERAL boundaries independently.

  36. Oh boo. The game itself is a supporter of racial gerrymandering – see the positive op-ed after completing exercise 4.

    One wonders how that aspect of the Voting Rights Act would be enforced if Americans were less segregated and more integrated.

  37. Doing as exercise four as a Democrat, you’re trying to create a new black majority district whilst still maintaining the two pre-existing Democratic districts. (No easy task…)

    I thought it might be more fun to do the exercise as a Republican, cos then you’d have no qualms about screwing a Democratic congressmen out of a seat.

    Only it turns out that under the Republican option you’re trying to create a new Cuban majority seat. And since Cubans vote GOP, it ends up being the exact same exercise.

  38. The US should have multi-member electorates which would eliminate most of the Gerrymandering and would allow racial minority representation without locking up the Democrat vote in areas with a majority of a minority.

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