New South Wales federally redistributed: act one

The major political parties, plus other interested observers, have put in their requests for the redistribution that will cut New South Wales from 48 House of Representatives seats to 47.

The Australian Electoral Commission has published public suggestions for its New South Wales redistribution process, which the redistribution commissioners will now chew on as they prepare a set of draft boundaries.

Labor is proposing that the state’s 48 electorates be reduced to the requisite 47 by pulling the rug from under Liberal member Bob Baldwin, whose seat of Paterson is a little further to the north of the under-enrolled Hunter region, whose seats Labor predictably wants left intact. Labor also wants a rearrangement of western Sydney to create a new seat called Whitlam while abolishing Fowler, contrary to expectations that it might have proposed that Whitlam’s old seat of Werriwa be renamed in his honour. It also proposes that Riverina, held for the Nationals by Michael McCormack, be renamed Bradman, in recognition of the great man’s birth place of Cootamundra. The Liberal submission is taking forever to download, so watch this space for more on that. (UPDATE: Predictably enough, it proposes the abolition of Joel Fitzgibbon’s seat of Hunter.)

I’ll have much, much more to add on these submissions on this post later this evening, or maybe sooner. Labor has helpfully provided mapping software files with its submission, so I’ll be able to unpack its proposal in relatively short order.

UPDATE: Make that tomorrow. In the meantime, Labor redistribution specialist Shane Easson has been offering some insight into proceedings in comments.

UPDATE 2 (30/5): That took quite a while longer than I thought, but below at last are interactive maps of the proposals (or try here for a closer look). The three layers for the Labor and Liberal submissions along with the existing boundaries can be switched on and off by clicking “visible layers”. The Liberal boundaries are off base in a few places due to my need for them to conform with ABS statistical local area boundaries (at least as I perceived it at the time), but the inaccuracies are invariably in places that are populated lightly if at all. Notional Coalition two-party results for the proposed boundaries are listed below the map.

2013 Liberal Labor
Banks 51.8% 52.2% 53.7%
Barton 50.3% 50.4% 49.9%
Bennelong 57.8% 57.8% 57.8%
Berowra 69.1% 69.1% 69.7%
Blaxland 38.6% 37.2% 37.2%
Bradfield 70.8% 70.9% 70.8%
Calare 66.0% 55.8% 65.6%
Charlton 40.8% 37.9% 40.7%
Chifley 39.5% 41.2% 38.9%
Cook 66.4% 66.3% 67.2%
Cowper 61.7% 62.1% 63.2%
Cunningham 40.1% 43.4% 48.0%
Dobell 50.7% 50.9% 50.8%
Eden-Monaro 50.6% 50.8% 50.7%
Farrer 67.4% 67.4% 71.3%
Fowler 33.2% 31.7% Abolished
Gilmore 52.6% 55.0% 52.7%
Grayndler 29.7% 28.0% 32.1%
Greenway 47.0% 44.3% 47.9%
Hughes 60.7% 61.5% 46.6%
Hume 61.5% 61.2% 61.0%
Hunter 46.3% Abolished 45.7%
Kingsford Smith 47.3% 47.8% 47.4%
Lindsay 53.0% 54.3% 54.5%
Lyne 64.8% 65.0% 63.0%
Macarthur 61.4% 62.0% 61.4%
Mackellar 68.8% 68.9% 68.9%
Macquarie 54.5% 58.7% 55.7%
McMahon 44.7% 44.9% 41.2%
Mitchell 72.1% 71.0% 72.1%
New England 70.7% 67.8% 70.2%
Newcastle 41.2% 41.4% 44.7%
North Sydney 65.9% 65.7% 66.0%
Page 52.5% 57.8% 55.3%
Parkes 72.3% 71.8% 70.1%
Parramatta 49.4% 47.1% 45.4%
Paterson 59.8% 56.4% Abolished
Reid 50.9% 54.0% 49.4%
Richmond 47.0% 47.1% 47.2%
Riverina 71.2% 72.1% 69.0%
Robertson 53.0% 52.9% 52.2%
Shortland 42.8% 43.0% 44.1%
Sydney 35.3% 38.7% 39.0%
Throsby 42.2% 36.4% 37.8%
Warringah 65.3% 65.4% 65.4%
Watson 43.2% 40.4% 45.0%
Wentworth 67.7% 67.8% 68.2%
Werriwa 47.8% 46.5% 45.7%
Whitlam 46.6%

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.

48 comments on “New South Wales federally redistributed: act one”

  1. Didn’t Bradman leave Cootamundra before hit his first cricket ball?

    I did a farm stay for a year 5 excursion to Cootamundra. We could watch a sheep being slaughtered or, coincidentally, play cricket. I chose the later.

  2. MikeHilliard

    Your Mum might have a conniption over Baldwin but this old bird will be cheering loudly. He’s a big bag of wind who does nought for this end of the electorate.

  3. Unfortunately, at 8am Friday I slipped and badly broke my leg. I wasn’t able to complete the narrative of the ALP submission to the usual standard but as William Bowe has noted the Maps ( and the details of what goes in and out makes the ALP suggestion easy to understand.
    There was never any chance that we would try to rename Werriwa to Whitlam. Gough would have opposed the removal of an aboriginal Division name in any circumstance. Also, fairly recently, (2008) the Commissioners had dropped Kalgoorlie as the name of a Division in WA.

  4. While Labor’s proposal to abolish Paterson is exactly what I think will happen, Labor’s suggestion for Port Stephens (an area 60 kilometres from Newcastle) to be included within the electorate of Newcastle while Merewether, an inner-city Newcastle suburb, is proposed to be transferred to Shortland strikes me as a far-fetched proposal that strains the community interest test. A far better proposal would’ve been to transfer Raymond Terrace to the seat of Newcastle (the ALP proposal transfers Raymond Terrace to Lyne) and transfer Port Stephens to Lyne, while leaving Merewether in Newcastle.

  5. Nelson Bay is an entire peninsula and you can’t splice it easily. Had it been possible we would have placed Nelson Bay in Lyne and Raymond Terrace in Newcastle. But that wasn’t possible. Re your point concerning Merewether: Shortland is well short of quota and transfers numbers to Dobell and Charlton. Adding Adamstown/kotara wasn’t enough. But the inclusion of Merewether means Shortland continues as a beachside plus Lake Macquarie Division.

  6. Nelson Bay is an entire peninsula and you can’t splice it easily. Had it been possible we would have placed Nelson Bay in Lyne and Raymond Terrace in Newcastle. But that wasn’t possible. Re your point concerning Merewether: Shortland is well short of quota and transfers numbers to Dobell and Charlton. Adding Adamstown/kotara wasn’t enough. But the inclusion of Merewether means Shortland continues as a beachside plus Lake Macquarie Division.

  7. 5

    Not that I know much about Newcastle but your explanation of that particular element of the ALP`s submission does make it seem that that particular change is rather unlikely to get any further.

  8. Some observation of the Liberal proposals, which I have to say are egregiously self-serving:

    – It splits the Blue Mountains communities in half at Faulconbridge between what will be an even safer Macquarie and a National seat in Calare (although on the proposed boundaries, Calare would be winnable for Labor)
    – Berowra crosses the Haweksbury in order to pick up rural parts of Macquarie, so that Macquarie can pick up Liberal leaning mortgage belt suburbs from Greenway.
    – Greenway is dramatically altered to become centred on Blacktown while Chifley gains strong Labor voting areas from Lindsay, while Lindsay gains safe Liberal areas from Macquarie – resulting in somewhat gerrymandered electorates in Lindsay and Macquarie.
    – Drastically alters Sydney and Grayndler to make Sydney more competitive for both Liberals and Greens while destroying the Inner West profile of Granydler.
    – Proposes that Page cross the dividing range to make it much safer for the Nationals.
    – Keeps Maitland divided between two electorates, with Maitland proper and Rutherford going to the Lake Macquarie based electorate of Charlton, with which it has little in common.
    – East Maitland continues on in a gerrymandered Paterson that includes coastal towns and coal mining communities far inland, and now stretches to border Macquarie – in Sydney!

  9. 5)

    If you place Kurri Kurri in Charlton (as I do), then there’s no need for Shortland to take in any part of Newcastle City. Hunter can then move in and take Raymond Terrace and all the urban bits of the lower Hunter, leaving Lyne entirely “rural”. I think that works a little bit better than the major parties’ boundaries.

  10. Interestingly, all the party submissions make large change where it isn’t necessary.

    * Both major parties propose re-arrangements of the inner city which are strange and not needed.

    * They also both keep fiddling with the very marginal seat of Dobell.

    * The Liberals proposal to split the Blue Mountains in half (!) is “interesting” to put it mildly, and it buggers up their seats in western Sydney.

    * The Nationals drop Queanbeyan into Hume, which causes radical change along the south coast.

    * Both Coalition parties push Cunningham into Campbelltown and have Wollongong switching seats.

    * Labor’s proposal is better in some parts, but by abolishing Fowler and creating a new seat south of Parramatta, they make a mess of Parramatta, Hughes, and Blaxland. Their proposals for Grayndler, Reid, and Watson are also very weird.

    * Labor also makes Parkes enormous, splits the Murrumbidgee off from Wagga, and drags Riverina as far north-east as Cowra. Too much mess just to put Broken Hill in Parkes.

    * Both major parties propose things that they have previously opposed when their opponents suggested it. Both also keep proposing things that have been rejected over and over by previous redistributions.

    It will actually be quite fascinating to see if the Committee adopts any of these proposals, or if they will go (as I believe) for a more minimal arrangement.

  11. @9 and 5 thanks Jimmy for the info. I notice in 5 you did not mention East Maitland – the current boundary placing us in Paterson does not make one iota of sense to me. This area swung heavily towards Labor at the recent state election especially in (dare I say in my “more affluent”) area but that obviuosly would do blott for Labor in the current Paterson. Baldwin is invisible here and we, including Thornton, Woodberry and Beresfield, should be either in Hunter or Newcastle IMHO.

  12. Keyman @ 12 – the current division of Maitland is exactly the sort of result that the AEC distribution rules should prevent.

  13. It would be interesting if the New England statehood referendum in 1967 had passed and New England had become a state. Then all states, apart from Tasmania, would have more seats than they do now unless it had caused the 1984 Senate enlargement not to happen (in which case there would be 2 fewer seats over all). The gap between NSW and Tasmanian voters in number of Senators per voter, would be smaller and New England would have a much closer number of voters per Senator to Tasmania.

    There would be an additional state boundary in what is now New South Wales and that could not be crossed by electorate boundaries. This would mean less freedom for the AEC in choosing the boundaries in the area in and around the state of New England. The redistributions would often no be at the same time.

  14. I was involved in preparing the Greens submission – I haven’t had time to thoroughly digest the other submissions, but I have a few thoughts.

    Re Shane’s point about renaming a seat with an indigenous name in the case of Werriwa – it’s a hard decision. As someone who grew up in Werriwa and got involved in politics there I was originally hoping to find an outcome that avoided renaming Werriwa. We did at one point come up with a model which involved creating a new seat of Whitlam around where Labor did – but it involved some radical changes we didn’t want to make so we dropped it.

    Every Western Sydney seat apart from Parramatta and Werriwa is already named after a person, and in every case we believed they were someone significant worthy of recognition. The alternative to renaming Werriwa is renaming Parramatta. It is also an indigenous seat and a geographic name, but unlike Werriwa it is a recognisable geographic name and causes confusion with the state and local boundaries for Parramatta – and the division is constantly at risk of losing the Parramatta city centre.

    We made an effort to specifically reject renaming Fowler – which is effectively what Labor have done, and what Malcolm Mackerras suggests.

    Despite Mackerras dismissing Fowler as not being a significant figure, she was the first female mayor in Australia and was a female political pioneer in the first half of the 20th century.

    It’s also worth noting that there are only 15 divisions named after women, and 98 divisions named after men (there are another three named after both men and women in the same family). We’re really concerned that out of all the seats in Sydney to be renamed, it’s the only seat named after a woman that gets the cut.

    Mark says “all the party submissions” made radical unnecessary changes – I’d be interested to know if you’re including the Greens in that, I feel like the Greens’ submission was relatively mild in its changes, including in the inner city where the Greens could most benefit from more radical changes. Check out Harry Hook’s drawing of “Dalley” to see what a gerrymandered Greens seat would look like.

    In the case of Newcastle and Paterson, it was difficult to draw boundaries that didn’t involve Newcastle extending to Nelson Bay but I think our proposal shows it can be done. We’ve largely left Newcastle alone, while unifying most of Cessnock council area in Charlton and unifying all of Maitland in Hunter.

    There is no need for the dramatic changes both Labor and the Liberal Party propose to the inner city. Labor goes to a big effort to try and explain the community of interest between Leichhardt and the Canada Bay area, while ignoring the stronger community of interest between Leichhardt and Marrickville council areas.

    These council areas can be unified quite simply, as demonstrated in the Greens and Nationals submissions. It seems quite blatantly partisan on the part of Labor. At the moment the best Greens areas in Sydney are split roughly evenly between Grayndler and Sydney. While the natural eastward shift of inner-Sydney seats does shift more of these strong areas into Grayndler, the Greens didn’t try to radically redraw the map to create a strong Greens seat. Yet Labor’s proposal conveniently divides these areas into three separate seats.

    I’m sure there are places in the state where other submissions came up with better ideas than ours, but I think there are a bunch of particularly problematic points that have caught my eye:
    -Splitting the Blue Mountains is a terrible idea and creates all sorts of community of interest problems. It’s also *completely unnecessary*
    -Extending Page over the great dividing range is a blatant attempt at shoring up the Nationals hold on the seat and eliminating a marginal Labor seat.

  15. Oh and the Liberal and National parties both make a complete mess of Campbelltown, which appears entirely blatant. The Libs can’t win in Wollongong or Campbelltown so they put them together to make their lives easier in Macarthur and Hughes.

  16. Sorry I said Fowler was the only seat in Sydney named after a woman, I meant the only seat in Sydney – there’s also Mackellar on the northern beaches.

  17. So, in an effort to retain Werriwa despite the fact that the seat is no longer anywhere near the geographic descriptor, Labor proposes abolishing the name of Fowler, despite many more appropriate candidates for name changes (Sydney, Parramatta, North Sydney). I am glad that people seem less worried about federation divisions, since the naming conventions were so different back then. All for renaming Riverina.

    But Werriwa is just silly. Imagine if it was a more well-known geographic name – if an electorate called Wollongong, for example, no longer included Wollongong but was equivalent to what is now Gilmore, for example. No one would stand for that, and rightly so. The fact that Werriwa has been allowed to survive so long only suggests that the name itself has ceased to have much meaning. It is blindingly obvious that Werriwa should be renamed Whitlam (especially since it is the seat he represented), and I hope the commission goes with this option.

  18. The Greens submission is certainly the best of the parties’..there are couple of things I don’t agree with, but it has avoided unnecessary major change. I agree that the major parties’ proposals for the inner city are both pretty self-serving.

    Labor’s Reid conveniently splits both the strong Green areas (Balmain and Marrickville) AND the strong Liberal areas (Canada Bay and Strathfield) from each other….basically created 4 fairly safe Labor seats from 2.

    The Greens variation on the Hunter was something i tried, but couldn’t make it work. So I would have no issue if the Committee adopted something broadly like that.

    As soon as I read Harry Hook’s introduction “I’ve abolished four seats and created three new ones!”, I didn’t even bother to read it…..

    Splitting the Blue Mountains is just a bizarre decision. It seems the Liberals wanted to bottle up as much Labor territory as possible in Chifley, and drew everything else to fit that.

    I would disagree with your comments about Page as being blatantly partisan. Putting part of the Tablelands in Page means that the north coast doesn’t need major change, and avoids making splits in the Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie areas. I actually thought about something like this, but didn’t believe it would gain any support. I would have no problem with this arrangement if that was how it had to be.

  19. Shane Easson @ 6 – I would’ve thought the most logical solution to redistributing seats in the Hunter would be to:
    – Shift Cessnock and Kurri Kurri to Charlton (which keeps them together, a very desirable outcome for which there are strong common community interest grounds)
    – shift Cardiff, Boolaroo, Edgeworth and Cameron Park from Charlton to Shortland.
    – Shift Wallsend and Maryland to Newcastle so that,
    – Maitland, Thornton, Beresfield, Raymond Terrace, Medowie and the Tomaree and Tilligerry Peninsulas (the southern side of Port Stephens), while Hunter’s rural areas are shifted to Parkes, and the remainder of Paterson transferred to Lyne.

  20. Oops accidentally deleted a part of that last sentence:

    ‘- Maitland, Thornton, Beresfield, Raymond Terrace, Medowie and the Tomaree and Tilligerry Peninsulas (the southern side of Port Stephens) would then be united in Hunter, while Hunter’s rural areas are shifted to Parkes, and the remainder of Paterson transferred to Lyne.

  21. Mark Mulcair – I generally like your proposal but have an (admittedly) minor quibble with your suggestion that Medowie and Lemon Tree Passage go into Lyne. Both these areas are overwhelmingly suburban in nature and are exurban parts of Newcastle. Including them in Lyne would make that seat a hodge-podge seat just as Paterson was. Any proposal that took community interest grounds into consideration would include these two areas in a seat that included Maitland and/or Port Stephens.

  22. It’s also worth mentioning that a seat that combined Maitland and Port Stephens would be fairly evenly balanced between Labor and Liberal. The creation of a marginal Hunter Valley electorate can only be a good thing, with the added bonus that the AEC can avoid partisan bickering over the abolition of a seat favouring one party over the other.

  23. Lots of jiggery pokery in the ALP submission. Have not downloaded 141mb of the Libs but no doubt similar.

    A few points on the Labor submission:
    -they are taking the long view in the inner city (post Tanya and Albo). Their proposals break up the Green vote by pushing some Green areas in Sydney out to Reid and bringing in non Green areas like Campsie and Earlwood into Granyndler.
    -they have effectively abolished Cunningham. It looks as though it would have very similar boundaries as Hughes a distribution or two back.
    -Agree that a Hunter or lower North Coast seat had to go but bringing Lyne down into Newcastle seems odd. From having looked this before – it would be very hard not to break up at least one major North Coast urban centre.
    – Interesting to know what the Barton and Banks outcomes would be – methinks that they might turn two marginal lib seats into two marginal ALP seats.

  24. @23

    Fair enough, I’m not super-familiar with the Hunter region.

    I included some rural areas around Raymond Terrace in Hunter, so that could maybe be swapped for Medowie if the latter wasn’t “rural enough” for Lyne.

    The deficit on the north coast makes that arrangement difficult, unless you send Page over the mountains as the Coalition does.

    A Division of Hunter that included the Lower Hunter but excluded Cessnock and Kurri Kurri would be an interesting contest. Maitland, Muswellbrook, Singleton, and Raymond Terrace are not overwhelmingly Labor, so you’d still have a semi-competitive seat.

  25. Mark Mulcair @ 26 – how would the numbers work out if Cowper became a primarily urban electorate focused on Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Heads, South West Rocks and Port Macquarie while Woolgoolga (and areas immediately north of Coffs Harbor) and hinterland areas like Bellingen, Kempsey, Wauchope (as well as the rural areas around them) could transfer to Page? Correspondingly, Lyne could absorb parts of Paterson such as Foster-Tuncurry, Port Stephens and Medowie, as well as the large rural parts of Paterson north of Maitland. Muswellbrook and Singleton would then have to be left in a Hunter that otherwise included all of Maitland, including East Maitland, Beresfield and Tarro. Depending on the numbers, Raymond Terrace could either go in Hunter or Lyne.

  26. Adding to my comment at 27 the rural parts of Hunter north of Muswellbrook such as Scone, Murrurundi, and their surrounds, could also transfer to Lyne with which they would share a common rural character. I think, however, areas west of Muswellbrook, such as around Merriwa would have to go to Parkes as I think including those parts in Lyne would be stretching its cohesiveness.

  27. Looking at the submissions for the North Coast, it’s clear that the approach taken by the ALP and the Greens of shuffling boundaries southward without crossing the Divide, while commendable in principle, is horrible in practice.

    The Nationals’ suggestion of crossing the divide with Page, while imperfect as even they concede, is superior to Labor and the Greens’ plans to put Port Macquarie in a different electorate to Laurieton and Wauchope (but the same electorate as Coffs Harbour and (even more ridiculously) Coffs Harbour CBD in a different electorate to Coffs’ northern beach suburbs, but in the same electorate as Port.

    While adding the tablelands to Page makes it safer National, so do the changes proposed by Labor and the Greens to give Page Dorrigo, Maclean and the northern suburbs of Coffs. As soon as Ballina is put in Richmond (as all agree is necessary), then Page shifts to the right regardless.

  28. Jimmy @ 27

    Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie are too big to fit into one electorate. Problem is that you could have one plus the immediate hinterland of the other but not both urban areas.

  29. I don’t know if the numbers would work, but you can’t possibly stretch Page from the Qld border as far south as Kempsey.

    My suggestion is basically:

    * Ballina plus hinterland into Richmond.
    * Unite Lismore in Page
    * Remainder of Clarence Valley plus northern rural Coffs into Page
    * Port Macquarie township into Cowper.
    * F-T, Dugong, Great Lakes, Medowie into Lyne.
    * Nelson Bay into Newcastle
    * RT and all of Maitland into Hunter
    * Kurri Kurri into Charlton.

    Is it “perfect”? No. But it avoids splitting Coffs or PM township, it keeps Lyne mostly rural as distinct from Hunter and Newcastle, and it causes no major flow-on effects for Parkes or New England.

  30. JimmyDoyle @27

    Once Coffs, Port and the coastal strip are in put in the same electorate, then that leaves no room for any of their satellite communities, or even suburbs.

    The beaches from Korora to Woolgoolga and on to Red Rock are effectively suburbs of Coffs. Likewise Wauchope and the Camden Haven are suburbs of Port. Likewise South West Rocks and Crescent Head are satellites of Kempsey.

    Putting Bellingen (my closest town) in a different electorate to Coffs or Port, but in the same electorate as Kempsey, Grafton and Yamba, completely fails the community interest test. Right up and down the coast, you’d have people who lived in one electorate and worked or sent their kids to school in another.

    It’s unfortunate, but if you don’t cross the divide with Page, and just come down the coast 100,000 people at a time, then electoral boundaries go through the middle of Coffs and Port. Better to enlarge Page to the west, to my mind. I’m not in the habit of agreeing with the National Party on pretty much anything, but they’ve got this right.

  31. OlivierK – I would argue that Cowper and Page have more in common with one another and can therefore exchange areas more readily than Page can with New England. Additionally, the Dividing Range is treated by the AEC as somewhat sacrosanct, much like the Hawkesbury or the Blue Mountains.

  32. markmulcair @31:

    Your proposal still splits Coffs from its northern suburbs, and Port from its southern and western suburbs.

    The beaches from Korora to Woolgoolga and on to Red Rock are just suburbs of Coffs. You’re basically putting an electorate boundary through the Big Banana.

  33. OlivierK – I don’t disagree with you by the way, Coffs Harbor and Port Macquarie should ideally remain in the same electorates as their suburban and exurban townships.

  34. JimmyDoyle @ 33:

    I agree that it’s not ideal to cross the Divide with Page, but the fact remains that if you don’t, you have to split Coffs and Port from their suburbs and satellite towns.

    There simply isn’t a good solution.

    To me, as a local who votes Green, the Nationals solution is least bad. The Labor and Greens proposals feel unnatural, and would lead to a significantly large number of people living and working in different electorates.

    Putting Korora, a suburb of Coffs only 3km from the main shopping precinct, in a different electorate to Coffs CBD is also the sort of thing the AEC frowns upon. The proposals for Port are almost as bad.

  35. OlivierK,

    I freely admit that the boundary at Coffs is not ideal. I guess I tried to keep all of the town itself in Cowper, while having Page contain the northern beaches and hinterland.

    I don’t have to split Port Mc itself, I can keep it intact in Cowper. I split PM from Wauchope, but they are different towns.

    The alternative is to push Page over the mountains, which is fine by me, I just don’t think the Committee will go that way. Transferring Tenterfield itself is fine, but the links to the coast get weaker as you go further west.

    The Coalition parties are still forced to split PM from Wauchope anyway, even including northern New England in Page, so you’re not gaining a massive advantage.

  36. OlivierK – you also have to look at the flow-on effects of the National proposal to include the Glen Innes part of New England in Page, as it distorts New England, Paterson and Charlton badly:

    – it forces New England, which at present is at quota, to seek more electors forcing it into coal-mining country in and around Muswellbrook. Putting Muswellbrook, a working-class mining town, in agricultural New England is far more egregious than separating Coffs Harbor from its surburbs (especially given this happens fairly routinely e.g. Ballina is split between Richmond and Page and it doesn’t worry them too much, not to mention that Newcastle’s southern and western suburbs are in electorates that combine regional and rural areas). Muswellbrook has far more in common with Singleton and Maitland.
    – Paterson remains a hodge-podge electorate with little community commonality, with rural, coastal and urban parts. It’s only redeeming feature is that it unites Maitland. However its appearance is exceedingly awkward and illogical.
    – Charlton also becomes a bit of a hodge-podge, extending from surburban Newcastle out to Singleton. Separating Singleton, Muswellbrook and Maitland between three electorates smacks of gerrymandering to me.

  37. Agree with that last bit.

    There really do seem to be no good solutions. I suspect we’re just going to be stuck with something less than ideal until the demographics allow something more sane further down the track.

  38. Olivier K @ 40 – the AEC may well just tinker at the edges of Page and Cowper, hoping that future growth will fix the problem for them.

  39. Two things:
    -Dorrigo isn’t moved into Page in the Greens proposal – the entirety of Bellingen Shire remains in Cowper.
    -Yes the drawing of Cowper is far from ideal, and is not likely to last into the next redistribution. Unless trends change, it’s likely that Page will end up consuming Coffs Harbour. But as explained, New England is a seat that is pretty much on quota, and having Page cross the divide causes havoc to that seat too.

  40. On the comments here regarding the North and South Coasts it seems proof of the adage that a little knowledge can be a bad thing. Those who support Page travelling far inland so as to allow more satellites of Coffs to be kept together are proposing a cure far worse than the disease and can’t know the lack of interaction between the Tablelands and the far North Coast.
    Ask yourselves, why would the Libs with their 2009 Suggestions point out that Tenterfield has been in New England constantly since 1949 and insist that the avenue for elector movements in and out of the Coast above the Hawkesbury is via the New England Highway and then propose the opposite in 2015?

  41. On the ‘rural’ parts of Hunter both Singleton and Muswellbrook have an incredibly strong and growing bond with Cessnock. There are no mines in Cessnock LGA but plenty of miners. In Muswellbrook coal production was 4 million tonnes in 2001. It’s now 80 M tonnes.
    As for Charlton NB we are dealing with ‘least worst’ options. Why would you make substantial changes to a Division which only needs 5k electors to be brought up to quota ?why should splitting Kurri Kurri be seen as more virtuous than encroaching a Division into more Newcastle suburbs?

  42. On the South Coast it’s clear that those proposing east west arrangements for Gilmore have never travelled the roads required. For instance, travelling through Kangaroo Valley you have the Hampton Bridge which is a single lane.
    But the ALP says lets remove the tenuous (at best) Southern Highlands Coastal connection. It has the further advantage of containing Wollondilly and Wingecarribee LGA’s together.
    And we make a larger point. If movements in and out of Sydney are mostly via the Hume Highway and via the New England Highway for the North Coast, why not one vantage point for the South Coast which we suggest be through Hughes.

  43. It would be properly interesting to see maps, but it certainly sounds like there are some far fetched proposals from the major parties

  44. I think Charlton will be abolished. I don’t like the idea of a large rural seat such as Hunter [a Federation seat] being abolished, nor a seat like Paterson which is classified as rural but is very provincial given its proximity to Newcastle.

    There has to be a ripple effect arisng from the abolished seat that spreads up the north coast and to the west. Charlton and indeed, Shortland are significantly below electoral quota [103,000 or so] and are small in area. This is an advantage in redrawing boundaries.

    A seat like Cunningham near Wollongong that is well over quota can be used to top up seats like Gilmore, southern metropolitan seats such as Macarthur and faciliate adjustments to boundaries to rural electorates like Farrer and Riverina.

    A pincer movemdent if you like. Charlton from the north of Sydney and Cunningham from the south.

    Because Sydney seats such as Wentworth and Sydney are well above quota, adjustments to their boundaries will feed through to seats like Parramatta, Mitchell and Berowra.

    We will see.


  45. Comments on suggestions are up now. At a glance, most of them seem to be protesting the Liberal proposal to split the Blue Mountains three ways.

    As well as Ben (Greens) and Shane (Labor), it appears we have a few lurking Liberals here too, as several posts on this thread have been used in the Liberals’ comments/critiques of mine, the Greens, and the ALP submission.

    There’s no need to be so shy, guys!

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