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”

  1. William

    I am a bit out of touch re ACT but a quick look at that Redivision seems to me that all three seats will become a bit marginal however that map is bloody hard to read.

  2. The greens would have won last time in MacNamara, they came pretty close in Melbourne Ports. Overall the re-disturbtion is favorable to Labor, with a gain of 2 seats off the Liberals and losing one to the Greens.

  3. I am disappointed to see Melbourne Ports change name to MacNamara

    Why has MacNamara had 118000 electors loaded into it. It will still be the only federal division without a non-selective government high school

    I would have thought Fraser should be the new name for Wannon, not a western suburbs putative Labor seat

  4. Bean would only be gettable by the Coalition in a very very bad ALP year – with a brilliant Liberal candidate – something that is becoming increasingly unlikely as the local party has been leaning more and more conservative and the range of candidates more limited

  5. Changes to Corrangamite and Dunkley will please ALP. McEwen could be much worse for them.

    Chisholm stronger for Libs but close enough to be competetive.

  6. @ Doug thanks for that link.

    Using Ben Raue’s last election primaries Canberra is:
    42.44 32.87 18.7 (La, Li, Gr)

    If we take Canberra to experience the same swing in primaries as the rest of the nation (BT has territories swinging harder, but I suspect that is a very strong swing in the NT), that leaves the forecast for an election ‘held today’ at:

    45.24 26.27 18.3 10.19 (La, Li, Gr, unspecified).

    Discounting what I take to be informal, and distributing what I take to be the bullet train party’s preferences according to their split in Canberra at the last election that gets us to

    49.4 29.5 21.0 (La, Li, Gr)

    So the Greens a bit further from 2nd place than I expected, and Liberals a lot further from 1st than I had thought.

    Regardless, will be interesting to see if the Greens end up in second place eventually.

    Fenner, despite the very similar 2PP outcome as Canberra, will almost certainly remain very safe Labor indefinitely.

  7. So if Labor picks up two in Victoria, plus Bean, plus a Green who will to vote Liberal, isn’t the next Federal election a bit like the last SA one – the government needs a swing to it to hold on to power?

  8. Isaacs now much more marginal – not great news for Dreyfus, but he should easily retain his seat at the next go-round. Regaining Chisholm just got a little harder.

    Regarding names…. It’s nice to see Monash finally get a seat named after him. I had thought the name Burke might be re-instated, but no (odd to have Wills, but no Burke).

  9. @ Socrates – if there was no swing, on these boundaries it would be minority government time, with either major having viable paths to power.

    But may change further with the SA redistribution.

  10. So in Victoria Labor nominally has 21/38 divisions as opposed to 18/37? Did I count that right? The Coalition is then 15/38 and one Green and one Indi indie?

  11. Socrates

    Loss of a seat in SA. While likely to be a Lib/NXT seat it may have knock on effects elsewhere.

  12. @ WB – Do you know how counts work for:
    Higgins (Lib vs Greens),
    Batman (Labor vs Greens)
    Macnamara (who actually makes it to the final 2, and who wins that if the final 2 is not Lab vs Lib)?

  13. However, it has also made Chisholm and Latrobe a lot easier to defend and possibly put Hotham and Isaacs in play (if the Coalition get their act together).

  14. So if Mr Raue’s suggestion, that this will affect 20% of Victorian voters, does that have an implication for personal votes? Or do the incumbents largely get their advantage during the later parts of the term?

  15. If you want to be really mercenary an early election before these changes are finalised would involve a mini re-distribution which would only involve one new alp seat rather than 2-3 new labor seats.

  16. Is there any substantive research which points to the value of a quality incumbent upon a seat, such as Mark Dreyfus in Isaacs?

  17. Cat

    Anna Burke held Chisholm for years against the area’s underlying demography beacuse of her personal vote.

    I think a personal vote can be 1-2% extra. Higher in rural areas i think?

  18. The Libs will be happy that Casy, Chisholm and La Trobe are a bit easier to retain, but all three will be on Labor’s radar.

    Isaacs and Hotham (to a lesser extent) become marginal but Labor won’t be worried about either next election.

    Notionally Labor picks up Cox, Dunkley and the new Fraser so the Coalition/Lab/others split in parliament is 74/72/5 add in Bean and it’s 74/73/5 with one to go from SA. Very probably 74/73/4 or 73/73/5 once that’s sorted.

    Labor will be delighted.

    McNamara will be interesting mainly for who Labor preselects. Batman should have shown the Greens the folly of assuming demographics would do all the work for them. I’m sure Labor won’t be giving it up and will go in very confident of holding.

    And then Melbourne is the sleeper. The small move away from the Libs makes it even more likely that Labor will come 2nd. Then it’s on the Lib prefs. Another good candidate and campaign along with the natural wave of an incoming government (sans black swan) and Labor won’t be just letting Bandt cruise in.

  19. Margin for Casey down from 6.1 to 4.5, with a 4.2% swing to ALP in Victoria on bludger track its going to be a big one, watch for pork redistribution.

    Most happy about Cox (Corrangamite), its hard for Labor to hold regional areas, probably not many farmers in there now splitting out Colac doesnt help in Wannon, but culturally and geographically the new boundary is a better fit than with Avoca/Maryborough, happy to take one for the team to have another red neighbor.

  20. McNamara will be interesting mainly for who Labor preselects. Batman should have shown the Greens the folly of assuming demographics would do all the work for them. I’m sure Labor won’t be giving it up and will go in very confident of holding.

    Batman also showed Labor to stop preselecting bad right wing candidates for progressive seats, so if Danby holds on it will be a real fight.

  21. So did Adam Bandt, I hear.

    He certainly did, given he lives around 300m away from me. Ahh well, this gives me a chance to get to know Bill’s electorate office staff when I start incessantly emailing them 😉

  22. My Victoria table now includes primary votes. The changes have been very slightly disadvantageous to the Greens in Higgins, but there’s really nothing all that interesting here so far as the Greens are concerned.

  23. Yeah seeing that the Primary movement is all to Bandt that puts a bit of a different complexion on things.

    Still don’t think Labor will be writing it off though.

  24. William,

    Is Indi calculated on a 2PP basis with McGowan treated as coalition? Or do they manage it when its a independent held seat?

  25. I’m not sure what’s going on there to be honest, Ides. I thought I was using Liberal-versus-Liberal numbers that completely ignored McGowan, but the Liberal margin should surely be a lot bigger than that. I think my 2PP data for Indi might actually be empty, and the numbers here are just from those parts that are being newly added to the electorate. I’ll look into it when I get time.

  26. So they have been on a proposed renaming fest and have proposed to change Batman. This will be unpopular with those who proposed it.

  27. @WB: Unless I’m missing something, how have Goldstein margins changed? I don’t think the boundaries have changed.

    Samantha Maiden on Twitter suggests Shorten may run in Fraser, but I think that’s unlikely.

  28. Billie – Macnamara/Melbourne Ports continues to have Albert Park College within its boundaries. It is a non-selective Government High school with more than a thousand students.

  29. Actually, Indi checks out. Even when the contest isn’t Liberal versus Labor, the AEC publishes two-party preferred numbers, i.e. ballot papers with Labor higher versus ballot papers with Liberal higher. On the basis of the 2016 result, this was a lot closer than I would have figured — a Liberal margin of 4.4%. Clearly a distorting effect of Cathy McGowan in what’s really a safe conservative electorate. Nonetheless, my calculation is doing what it’s supposed to.
    JBL, that’s to do with a very slight imperfection in my methodology for allocating pre-poll and postal votes, which is a necessarily inexact science.

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