Victorian and ACT draft federal redistributions

New federal boundaries (and seats) in Victoria and the ACT bring Labor good news on multiple fronts.

The Australian Electoral Commission has published draft boundaries for redistributions of Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, both of which gain new seats. At the bottom of the post are my estimates for the new margins, which I’m pleased to say are almost bang on those produced independently by Ben Raue at The Tally Room. The redistribution picture will not be complete (even in draft form) until next month, when we get a draft for South Australia, which is to be knocked back from eleven seats to ten.

As expected, the draft redistributions for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory are full of good news for Labor, who gain a new seat on Melbourne’s booming western fringe and have two Liberal-held seats made notionally Labor, without suffering too much damage through the knock-on effects. The creation of a third seat in the Australian Capital Territory could hardly fail to be of benefit to Labor, and so it has proved. There are a number of name changes: Corangamite is now Cox, in recognition of the fact that its titular lake has been transferred to neighbouring Wannon to the west; Melbourne Ports is Macnamara; Murray is Nicholls; McNamara is Monash. Corangamite and Cox I get, but I could do without the name changes to Melbourne Ports and Murray, which denote in-my-view-excessive zeal not to have electorates named after geographic features.

First, a quick guide to the most interesting of the proposed changes in Victoria. All of this relates to Coalition versus Labor: nothing of very great interest is to happen in the seats where the Greens are strong, with Adam Bandt’s position marginally improved in Melbourne, and their chances of gaining Higgins from the Liberals very slightly reduced.

The good news for Labor:

Fraser. The news seat at the western edge of Melbourne is a Labor lock — the party’s safest seat in the state, if not the country. Bill Shorten’s seat of Maribyrnong is to supply 34% of the voters, Calwell 29%, Gellibrand 20% and Gorton 16%.

Cox. The electorate known since federation as Corangamite, and held by Labor only through the Rudd/Gillard period, is to become a notional Labor seat, with rural areas in the west and parts of Geelong in the east traded for the Bellarine Peninsula, the latter providing 30% of its voters. This is the culmination of a trend in which a once rural conservative seat has been drawn within the orbit of Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, to the advantage of Labor.

Dunkley. The second of the two seats to move from Liberal to notional Labor is Dunkley in Melbourne’s south-east, a seat Labor never quite manages to knock over. This is due to the loss of bayside retirement haven of Mornington in the south, which is to be wasted for the Liberals in Flinders, and the gain of the new suburbia of Carrum Downs in the north, formerly in Isaacs, which is to provide 14% of the voters.

The good news for the Liberals, such as it is:

Chisholm. The only seat the Liberals gained from Labor in 2016 is to be strengthened by the addition of Blackburn and its surrounds in the north, and the loss of the Oakleigh area in the south. This bolsters the margin from 1.2% to 3.2%.

La Trobe. Reflecting growth on the urban fringe, La Trobe is to lose voters around Belgrave to Casey, and move eastwards to conservative-leaning semi-rural areas around Packenham that were formerly in McMillan (now Monash). This gives them a fillip from 1.4% to 2.5% in an always keenly contested seat.

Other substantially changed electorates with marginally interesting consequences:

Bruce. Labor’s margin in Bruce is to be greatly increased by the loss of Liberal-voting Glen Waverley at its northern end, and a gain of urban fringe territory at Rowville and Lysterfield in the east, and suburbia at the southern end around Noble Park. Only 49% of the old Bruce’s voters remain, around Mulgrave, with the rest coming from Holt (25%), Hotham (16%) and Isaacs (11%).

Hotham. This is to be pushed far enough to the east that it will have as many voters from Bruce (39% of the total) as from Hotham (38%), with the remainer coming from Chisholm. The gains are around Mulgrave in Bruce’s case and Oakleigh in Chisholm’s. This might make the seat winnable for the Liberals at a very good election, with Labor margin cut from 7.5% to 4.3%.

Isaacs. Relatedly, Hotham’s southern neighbour moves north to take an area around Heatherton, which is to provide about a third of its voters. Here too the advantage is to the Liberals, the Labor margin cut from 6.7% to 2.4%, but they pay for it through the aforementioned transfer of Carrum Downs in the south to Dunkley.

The ACT is to have a seat called Bean to complement Canberra and Fenner, but it’s really Canberra that’s the new seat, with Bean covering territory at the southern end that was entirely in the old Canberra, and redrawn Canberra covering the centre and east, including areas formerly in both Canberra and Fenner. Fenner continues to lie at the northern end of Canberra. Ben Raue at The Tally Room calculates that Bean is the least strong of the three for Labor, but there’s not much in it, with margins of 8.9% in Bean, 12.9% in Canberra and 11.8% in Fenner. Canberra is much the best of the three for the Greens, with 18.7% of the primary vote to around 13% in the other two, but remains a vague prospect for them at best.

L-NP change ALP change GRN change L-NP 2pp vs ALP change
Aston 49.5% -1.3% 31.1% 0.0% 8.9% 0.5% 57.4% -1.2%
Ballarat 38.8% -0.1% 43.3% 0.1% 10.9% 0.1% 42.5% -0.1%
Batman 19.5% -0.4% 35.2% 0.0% 36.7% 0.5% 27.8% -0.5%
Bendigo 41.3% -0.3% 38.6% 0.2% 11.0% 0.0% 46.0% -0.2%
Bruce 28.6% -11.4% 56.1% 11.8% 6.3% -0.8% 34.2% -11.7%
Calwell 25.6% -2.0% 59.0% 2.2% 8.0% -0.4% 30.0% -2.2%
Casey 47.1% -2.4% 27.9% -0.5% 13.5% 1.8% 54.1% -1.9%
Chisholm 47.4% 2.2% 34.3% -1.6% 11.6% -0.7% 53.2% 2.0%
Corio 36.2% 1.1% 43.8% -1.9% 11.8% 0.0% 41.4% 1.4%
Cox (Corangamite) 43.6% -2.8% 34.0% 3.2% 12.3% 0.8% 49.9% -3.2%
Deakin 50.0% -0.1% 30.3% -0.8% 11.3% -0.4% 56.2% 0.5%
Dunkley 40.2% -2.6% 37.0% 3.8% 9.5% -0.2% 48.3% -3.2%
Flinders 50.7% -0.9% 27.3% 0.3% 11.2% 0.5% 57.1% -0.7%
Fraser 24.2% 59.9% 9.4% 29.1%
Gellibrand 30.3% 3.7% 45.6% -1.3% 19.3% -2.2% 35.3% 3.6%
Gippsland 56.1% -0.3% 20.3% 0.3% 7.8% 0.0% 68.1% -0.3%
Goldstein 56.1% -0.3% 22.0% 0.1% 16.0% 0.1% 62.4% -0.2%
Gorton 29.0% 1.1% 61.0% -1.3% 10.1% 0.2% 31.7% 1.2%
Higgins 51.6% -0.4% 16.5% 1.6% 24.2% -1.1% 60.1% -0.6%
Holt 33.8% 3.9% 48.9% -4.9% 6.4% 0.0% 40.1% 4.3%
Hotham 40.3% 3.0% 43.2% -2.6% 9.1% -0.1% 45.7% 3.2%
Indi 45.4% 0.6% 10.0% 0.2% 4.0% 0.2% 54.8% 0.4%
Isaacs 43.2% 2.8% 40.2% -4.3% 10.9% 0.7% 47.6% 3.3%
Jagajaga 40.6% -0.4% 40.5% 1.3% 13.6% -1.3% 44.9% -0.4%
Kooyong 57.4% -0.8% 20.8% 1.0% 18.6% -0.3% 62.6% -0.8%
La Trobe 43.5% 1.3% 33.5% 2.1% 7.7% -2.9% 52.5% 1.1%
Lalor 30.1% -0.9% 52.6% 0.8% 9.6% -0.2% 35.7% -0.9%
Macnamara (Melbourne Ports) 41.7% -0.2% 26.5% -0.5% 24.5% 0.7% 48.5% -0.1%
Mallee 63.1% -1.2% 22.5% 1.1% 7.0% -0.1% 69.9% -1.4%
Maribyrnong 34.7% 2.4% 41.2% -9.3% 17.3% 7.5% 40.5% 2.8%
Mcewen 38.3% 2.2% 41.4% -3.3% 8.9% 1.3% 44.6% 2.4%
Melbourne 24.7% -0.5% 23.4% -1.0% 45.1% 1.4% 33.0% -0.4%
Menzies 49.7% -2.0% 26.9% 2.3% 10.5% 1.4% 57.7% -2.9%
Monash (McMillan) 49.9% 2.0% 27.6% -1.7% 10.2% 0.5% 57.6% 1.6%
Nicholls (Murray) 64.8% -2.6% 16.9% 1.9% 4.4% 0.0% 72.4% -2.5%
Scullin 25.2% -3.3% 60.6% 3.6% 6.8% -0.8% 29.6% -3.1%
Wannon 53.1% -0.1% 30.0% -0.7% 8.2% 0.0% 59.1% 0.1%
Wills 21.4% -0.5% 38.1% 0.5% 30.8% 0.0% 28.3% -0.5%

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.

85 comments on “Victorian and ACT draft federal redistributions”

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  1. When do the Victorian and ACT redistributions take effect? Just wondering how this works with an early election.

  2. The population growth in La Trobe has been mostly been in the area near Cranbourne which is not a good thing for the Liberals.

  3. Hm, so if I take these figures and compare them to the current BludgerTrack figures:

    Casey goes from being safe to marginal on BludgerTrack or the redistribution, and flips on redistributed BT.

    Flinders goes from being safe to marginal on Bludger Track/redistributed BT.

    Menzies goes from being safe to marginal on redistributed BT.

    Rather than saying how this moves the party balances, I want to know if this changes the number of marginal seats. We go from eight marginal seats to nine (Bruce and Jagajaga, barely marginal, drop out; Hotham and Casey just enter, Isaacs enters well enough). But’s that’s four within two points to only three.

    If we consider the BludgerTrack shift, we have ten marginal seats (four within two points) without the redistribution, and ten marginal seats (three or four within two points).

    So my guess is the next election will be fought in Queensland and western Sydney again. It’s quite dull.

    (I haven’t considered Green marginals in this, because I’m not convinced that will make a difference to who forms government.)

  4. Victoria, SA and the ACT must elect the new number of members at the next election. If the re-distribution is not complete before the election is called, the ACT will be split into three seats anyway, SA would have the two smallest enrolment seats merged (Barker and Grey almost certainly) and Victoria would see the two largest adjacent enrolment seats split into three seats. The redistribution will be completed .

  5. And the Government was never likely to go early before July anyway as that would have been a House only Election meaning there would needed to be an additional half senate in 12 months and things would just be messy.
    The only SA might not be done if there is an election late in the year but I doubt that will happen either. More likely March next year.

  6. Fascinating choice of Bean for the new Canberra Electorate. Tom Rogers was the Adjutant of the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1991. His mannerisms led to him being compared with Rowan Atkinson who was in the TV show Black Adder at that time. This led to Tom Rogers being labeled by the Cadets, and staff, as the Black ADJER.

    If this electorate is called Bean its probably conceit. I look forward to the FOI answers.

  7. I see the Greens Victorian State Director is whining about “Labor’s gerrymander”. About as truthful as “Labor’s Adani Mine”.

  8. Merri Creek
    Albert Park High School has special entry for Music students and only 300 places for ordinary students

    The local council area newsletter grizzles that ordinary students commute to Williamstown, Brunswick, Hawthorne, Elwood and glen Eira and other high schools to go to school

    The electorate is aware that students in port melbourne have to go to town to catch tram or train to elsternwick to walk 1 km to Elwood secondary college because the ghost bus from port melbourne to elsternwick station runs 8 times a day between 9 and 3. Operated by Altona bus lines

  9. I don’t know how you’ve calculated the Greens vs Lib 2CP for Higgins, but it’s clearly wrong. You’ve listed the Lib vs ALP 2PP as: 60.1% -0.6%, if you take 0.6% off the actual Libs vs Greens 2CP (which you really should to be consistent) then Higgins drops to Lib vs Greens 2CP of 7.4%

  10. Is Isaacs 2.4% or 3.4%? There seem to be two different margins in the blurb and the table. Plus, Ben has it at 3.1%.


  11. Polly, everything in the 2PP column is Liberal-versus-Labor. Which may well be redundant in the case of Higgins, but that’s what it is. I disagree that the Liberal-versus-Labor change should be applied to the Liberal-versus-Greens margin, because to my mind they’re separate things. No Liberal-versus-Greens data exists for the area that’s being added to the electorate (which is disappointing, because apparently the NSWEC can manage it).

    PJ, the table is right, and I’ve corrected the blurb. Thanks for pointing it out.

  12. NSWEC fully enters data for every Lower House ballot paper so you can look up 2CPs between any pair of candidates in every seat, an amazing feature rendered virtually useless by NSW having OPV.

  13. @ B.S. Fairman
    The greater part of Cranbourne is in proposed division of Holt, however Latrobe gains Pakenham from McMillan which has been growing strongly and I believe in a strongly Labor voting area.

  14. @JBL

    Bill Shorten lives in Moonee Ponds, so running for Fraser based on Sunshine would be out of the question. However despite boundary changes in Maribyrnong is still a Safe Labor seat.

  15. The Greens should publicly apologise for calling this a gerrymander, which is Palmeresque nonsense. It’s also stupid, because it’s not even based on anything real – I don’t see any significant difference in their chances on these boundaries. What’s more, how can they possibly blame Labor for the AEC’s decision? This kind of thing undermines faith in our democratic institutions. I expect better from them (although these days it seems like I probably shouldn’t).

    Meanwhile, I’m actually all for the re-namings here, and would dearly like the Electoral Commission to move away from geographic names entirely. Those pesky Federation names are hard to get rid of and I’m glad they’re taking the excuses they can (i.e. Corangamite). Don’t know how they can possibly justify keeping Werriwa last time, but the re-naming of Melbourne Ports gives me hope that they might finally come for North Sydney next time as well. I’m sure there will be plenty of objections to the renamings (as there always are), but they all seem like good calls to me and I hope they stick to their guns.

    I wish they’d renamed Canberra too, but at least now the seat called “Canberra” is the one you’d guess it would be.

  16. @Jay

    Yeah, Pakenham fairly solid for ALP. Lots of refugees, no one losing their sh*t over it. I’m in the new estates in the east, was pumping at the shops tonight, really good vibes going there, very young demographic, lots of young kids, hardly any oldies. The close ups on booth counts I’ve looked at corroborate this.

    Wifey asked the cops when we moved four years ago what their biggest issues were, they said DV. It can get a bit shouty around here occasionally, but all the pads are nice and new.

    30-40K in Pakenham, I think La Trobe will be very marginal. Liberals sent out a flyer wanting mandatory sentencing for repeat violent offenders, although this was from the state party. Seems the liberals think everyone wants to be lazy thinkers like themselves, no matter the detriment.

  17. Why did not the AEC move Caulfield North to Higgins and move South Yarra-Prahran area into Macnamara? Since they are proposing moving Carnegie, Murrumbeena and Hughesdale into Higgins.

  18. Jay
    In their notes the AEC said that Dandenong Rd and Caulfield Racecourse formed natural boundaries.
    Yet the 5000 voters added from Windsor Prahran live north of Dandenong Rd south of High st between Punt Rd and Chapel St
    Have you checked how many voters live in North Caulfield?
    As macnamara will have 118,000 voters I think the Windsor voters might just stay in Higgins

  19. Both seats notionally moving to Labor are held by relatively unknown first termers.

    More generally, does this make the chances of an early election more likely?

  20. Gai Brodtmann has announced she will be standing for Bean & Andrew Leigh for Fenner – which leaves the central seat of Canberra up for grabs – its also the safest for the ALP interestingly enough.

  21. Billie: The AEC has a board definition of natural boundary. Basically, they like major roads, rivers, etc. What they don’t want is minor streets or property boundaries which some of the local government areas in Victoria contain. An example of this is in North Fitzroy where the cities of Yarra and Moreland are divided by a minor street and then just house blocks (I only noticed this when I was living there a couple decades ago).

  22. @Billie

    The removal of Caulfield and the adding of South Yarra-Prahran (along with Docklands) to Melbourne Ports was suggest ed by the AEC back in the 2010 electoral redistribution draft.

  23. @Jay, the population in Prahran and South Yarra is way too high to do that – also, Carnegie is already in Higgins, and so is parts of Hughesdale and parts of Carnegie. It’s just reuniting the rest of Murrumbeena and Hughesdale that has been split by the rail line.

  24. I believe the 2010 proposal was to swap Caulfield for Prahran, Windsor and South Yarra, for more compact electorates with potentially slightly more even residential densities.

  25. William, you’ve said the draft SA redistribution won’t be out until next month, don’t you mean next week? The AEC say it will be released on Friday 13th April.

  26. The Victorian redistribution is a very good proposal and irons out a lot of the issues that were left by the 2010 redistribution. It also achieves good community of interest relationships compared to the last NSW redistribution. However, the 2010 redistribution was a good document on the first draft and the issues such as odd communities of interest and McEwen being left with a massive growth corridor were built into the final version.

    One issue that I am not sure about is the amount of renaming. McMillan, Corangamite and Murray, I can understand. The reasons for renaming Melbourne Ports (an essentially Federation seat) are tenuous at best – considering that Melbourne Ports has covered a very similar area since 1968. Why now? And it still covers a large amount of Melbourne’s port area.

    The Liberals may object to some aspects – but then some of their original suggestions were just downright silly. One area they may object to is the Corio/ Cox (former Corangamite) border. Geelong suburbs such as Belmont and Highton have been included in Corio and the boundary set at Waurn Ponds Creek (a fairly minor waterway). These suburbs have a high community of interest with Grovedale and Waurn Ponds. Leopold and Moolap have been included in Cox but their community of interest would be with the Geelong suburbs to the immediate west rather than the Bellarine Peninsula. A successful challenge might give Sarah Henderson a small buffer.

  27. Corangamite/Cox is likely to keep becoming more of a Geelong seat at every redistribution, given Geelong and the Surf Coast are the only significantly growing areas on the South West Coast.

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