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. 199

    Then the Democrats go and persuade the Cuban government to adopt democracy and end the embargo causing Cuba to improve massively and so more Cubans vote Democrat.

  2. Psephos #170. Not that you’d ever want to stereotype an entire group of people based on their religion eh big fella? that must just be the hard drinking, violent, lazy Catholic in me thinking that? or is it my uptight, repressed, insular Protestant quarter? – ah no, of course its the money grubbing, shyster Jewish quarter of me, of course. Well we semites tend to veer towards paranoia – God knows why.

  3. The draft proposal for the new-look 48 Lower House seats in New South Wales has surprised me in the case of Farrer.
    Instead of using this opportunity to correct the anomly of having Broken Hill in the same electorate as Albury is astonishing.
    Anyway I”m glad a Sydney seat got the chop this time after the devasting loss of Gwydir at the last NSW redistribution. The new-look boundaries look challenging particularly for the non-Labor side but if non-labor is to win the next election they have to not only hold their marginals(Paterson, Gilmore, Hughes and Greenway) but pick up Labor Marginals(Macquarie, Bennelong) . One way of doing this is if the Liberals play percentage tennis for the Non-Labor side and forfeit seats like Farrer and Hume(BY GETTING SHULTZ AND LEY TO RETIRE) to the Nationals and concentrate their resources on marginal Sydney electorates.

  4. The loss of the Sydney based seat of Reid follows that not that long ago abolition of the Sydney seat of Phillip. How many metropolitan Melbourne seats have been abolished during that same duration?

  5. I note with interest the federal electorate I once resided in Lowe is to be renamed
    McMahon in honour of the Former Liberal Prime-Minister who along with his wife Lady Sonia called the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney home not the INNER WEST.

  6. The last genuinely metro seat to be abolished in Vic was Henty in 1990. Corinella had some surbuban areas but also a chunk of West Gippsland.

    The abolition of Reid does not actually mean that greater Sydney has lost a seat, because Macquarie has been changed from a Bathurst-Lithgow seat to a Sydney fringes seat. The real loser (again) is western NSW, because Calare has changed from a western seat to a Bathurst-Lithgow seat, which Labor could well win. That would reduce the NSW Nats to three seats (Parkes, Riverina and Cowper).

  7. There must have been a massive rural decline in the last decade….

    In 1992, two metro seats were abolished and a new ‘rural’ (if you count Paterson as ‘rural’) seat was created.

    1999, they had to push Hume toward Sydney to make up the numbers, but rural enrolment held up reasonably well.

    Now in the past two redistributions, effectively one-and-a-half rural seats have been abolished, and Sydney’s remained pretty stable. That’s a huge change from 1992.

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