Darwinian selection

Labor moves to save the Northern Territory’s second House of Representatives seat ahead of next month’s determination of state and territory seat entitlements.

The post below this one features Adrian Beaumont’s latest updates on the polling situation in the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Back on home turf, I have two updates to relate.

The first involves the calculation of the states’ and territories’ House of Representatives seat entitlements for the next parliament, which will be determined next month on the basis of yet-to-be published quarterly population figures from December. Barring a sudden change in population trends in the last quarter of last year, this will cause Victoria to gain a seat for the second term in a row, boosting it to 39 seats — a return to where it was when the parliament was enlarged in 1984, before a lean period for the state reduced it to 37 in 1996. It is even more clear that Western Australia will lose the sixteenth seat it has had for the past two terms, reflecting the waxing and waning of the mining and resources boom.

Relatedly — and to get to my main point — the Northern Territory is also set to lose a seat, unless something comes of Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy’s announcement last week that she will introduce a bill to guarantee the territory its existing two seats. The territory just scraped over the line with 1.502 population quotas at the last determination in 2017, rounding up to an entitlement of two seats, and has since experienced a continuation of relative decline since the resource boom halcyon days of 2009 — and even then its population only amounted to 1.54 quotas.

The Northern Territory was first divided into its current two seats of Solomon and Lingiari in 2001, but its claim to a second seat has been consistently precarious. It would have reverted to one seat in 2004 if not for a legislative fix to change definitions in a way that put it over the threshold, which received bipartisan support partly because both major parties imagined at that time that they could win both seats. This proved a forlorn hope in the Coalition’s case, with Lingiari having remained with Labor at all times and Solomon having fallen their way in both 2016 and 2019.

As a result, Solomon and Lingiari have consistently had the lowest enrolments in the country, at a shade below 70,000 at the time of the 2019 federal election, compared with an average of 110,755 in the mainland states, 98,644 in the Australian Capital Territory (which gained a third seat last year) and 77,215 in Tasmania (which maintains the constitutionally mandated minimum of five seats for the six original states). Conversely, a single Northern Territory seat would have an enrolment far greater than any other, with the unfortunate effect of under-representing its indigenous population, which accounts for more than a quarter of the total.

My other update relates to the July 4 Eden-Monaro by-election, for which nominations close on Tuesday. The Daily Telegraph ($) reports four candidates have nominated for the Nationals’ Eden-Monaro preselection, to be held on Sunday: Trevor Hicks, deputy mayor of Queanbeyan-Palerang; Fleur Flanery, owner of Australian Landscape Conference; Mareeta Grundy, a dietician; and Michael Green, a farmer from Nimmitabel. The Greens announced on the weekend that their candidate will be Cathy Griff, a Bega Valley Shire councillor.

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.

1,310 comments on “Darwinian selection”

Comments Page 1 of 27
1 2 27
  1. ‘Allo, ‘allo, what’s this, then?

    [David Speers
    New foreign investment powers allowing raids on offices & forced asset sales will NOT apply retrospectively (ie to Port of Darwin). They will apply to any investment made under Vic’s Belt & Road agreement with China.]

  2. The government are pretty crap at forecasting but they hit their KPI for delivering feck all compared to what they announce out of the park with this effort.

    Wow… Even Kevin Andrews managed to shift 7.8% of his marriage counselling vouchers.

  3. poroti @ #3 Friday, June 5th, 2020 – 7:05 am

    The government are pretty crap at forecasting but they hit their KPI for delivering feck all compared to what they announce out of the park with this effort.

    predicted 36,000 Covid food boxes to older Australians

    Government scheme delivers just 38


    There’s a bit of a pattern forming here with the Morrison government.

    Big splashy announcement. Feck all delivery after the event.

  4. Just goes to show some smart people aren’t as smart as they think they are and convince everyone else they are:

    Sweden’s top epidemiologist has admitted his strategy to fight COVID-19 resulted in too many deaths, after persuading his country to avoid a strict lockdown.

    …But with many other European Union countries now rolling back their lockdowns after appearing to bring COVID-19 under control, there are signs that Sweden may be left behind. That includes the freedom of movement of its citizens, as some EU countries restrict access to people coming from what are deemed high-risk COVID zones.


    There has to be a word created for smart idiots.

  5. Regarding the NT HoR seat numbers.

    Personally I think the mainland States and Territories should be treated as one population, which is then divided into 145 electorates, with no consideration for internal boundaries beyond the provision that the original States must contain at least 5 seats.

    This I think would provide much more stable and consistent electorates in terms of location and number of voters.

    Reviews of the boundaries could then be done every 5 years to account for changing population.

    I imagine the above would require some sort of Constitutional amendment, so it would be highly unlikely, but I think it would eliminate issues with the current way we determine electorates.

  6. lizzie
    Friday, June 5th, 2020 – 7:07 am
    Comment #4

    Deliberately provocative by The Age?


    Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, the main group organising the rally, said on Thursday that they had no knowledge of rally participants making threats to police.

    The state government is hoping a cold and rainy forecast for Saturday, as well as warnings from the Premier, Health Minister and Chief Health Officer about the COVID-19 danger of mass gatherings, will keep numbers low.

    Newcastle currently 9℃ – feels like 7℃
    Projected top of 18℃ Sunny. Wind NW 11 KM/H

  7. poroti @ #3 Friday, June 5th, 2020 – 5:05 am

    The government are pretty crap at forecasting but they hit their KPI for delivering feck all compared to what they announce out of the park with this effort.

    predicted 36,000 Covid food boxes to older Australians

    Government scheme delivers just 38


    What a fantastic achievement by the Government, more great savings for the Budget bottom line.

    That surplus could still be a possibility! 🙂

  8. @DocAvvers
    Apparently “senior government source (who?) has told @TheAge police are preparing for tactics from some protesters on Saturday designed to provoke physical confrontation”. Oh, of course they are. I’ve seen police be ‘provoked’ by ANY sort of protest, including a prayer circle.

  9. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    John Hewson writes that banking on gas will leave us stranded. He homes in on the government’s rather selective reliance on science.
    David Crowe reports that a new security test would be imposed on all foreign investments that threaten the national interest in a federal government plan to fix legal gaps that leave critical assets exposed to overseas control.
    Phil Coorey writes that a US visit was once seen overwhelmingly as a political positive for an Australian prime minister. But under Donald Trump they’re an exercise in putting the alliance first and risking poor optics back home.
    A shake-up of the prices of vocational education courses, abolishing unnecessary regulators, expanding access to student loans, introducing government-funded vouchers for training and simplifying subsidies are among proposals floated by a Productivity Commission report explains Fergus Hunter.
    It’s pretty clear that David Crowe is singularly underwhelmed by SfM’s HomeBuilder scheme.
    The Australian reveals that several government MPs have voiced concerns over the government’s $668m HomeBuilder stimulus package and ballooning post-COVID public debt in a weekly tele-town hall meeting with Scott Morrison.
    And the SMH editorial thinks the HomeBuilder money would be better spent on social housing. It suggests Morrison’s ideology has been in play.
    The AFR editorial also questions the wisdom of HomeBuilder.
    Scott Morrison’s call for Australia to renovate won’t rebuild a broken economy says Van Badham.
    And Emma Dawson reckons the homebuilder scheme is simply pork-barrelling to the Coalition’s electoral base.
    Andrew Tate reckons Morrison should lay off selling the snake oil.
    As the Government lavishes stimulus on home renovators, the pandemic has revealed Australia’s economy to be fragile, with an export profile more akin to a developing nation, and a huge trade deficit in high-end manufactures. “We have to start making things again,” writes Peter Roberts of our narrow manufacturing base.
    John Kehoe reports that police have raided a bedding company over allegations it deliberately depressed monthly revenue to qualify for up to $11 million in JobKeeper wage subsidies. Good stuff!
    Elizabeth Knight explains how Westpac missed money-laundering ticking bomb in bowels of the bank.
    And Stephen Bartholomeusz writes about the difficult roles directors have in effective governance of complex organisations.
    Katharine Murphy is a bit upset that officials from Scott Morrison’s department are refusing to release conflict of interest disclosures from members of the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission so they can be scrutinised by the public because the declarations are provided “in confidence”.
    Shane Wright examines the woeful retail sales figures just released.
    Telco retailers are saying NBN wholesale prices and performance will both need to improve as the network rollout nears completion.
    Activists have threatened police command with spitting, inflammatory chanting and other forms of physical abuse during Saturday’s Black Lives Matter protest in Melbourne in an attempt to provoke use-of-force responses from officers. IMHO this is unacceptable and will only serve to diminish the momentum for change.
    Michelle Grattan tells us that the pandemic has killed Indigenous referendum and delivered a likely mortal blow to religious discrimination legislation.
    The direction Morrison is taking Australia is characterised by the same overarching ethos as that of his grotesque idol, Trump. It’s self-interest, writes Michelle Pini.
    This is big, I think. The Australian Tax Office has launched fresh legal action against accounting giant PwC and meat processing firm JBS in an escalation of its ongoing conflict with the ‘big four’ firm over tax avoidance.
    Tony Shepherd, completely in character, advocated for public service pay freezes.
    But Adrian Rollins correctly pays tribute to our much and unfairly maligned public services.
    Meanwhile the University of Melbourne expects to lose $1 billion in revenue from foreign students in the next three years and has urged staff to accept a 2.2% pay cut.
    The Australian tells us that surgeons are accusing health ­administrators of allowing operating theatres in public hospitals to sit idle while patients wait in pain for elective surgery as waitlists blow out.
    The High Court decision to rule that the use of tear gas on four youths at the Northern Territory’s notorious Don Dale detention centre in 2014 was unlawful could not have come at a more appropriate time opines Greg Barns.
    Just 38 of a predicted 36,000 food boxes have been delivered under a $9.3m government initiative designed to deliver emergency food supplies to older Australians isolating throughout Covid-19. Another “estimation variation”?
    Zoe Samios tells us how the government has commissioned a second opinion on the state of Australia’s struggling regional broadcasting sector after an initial report proposed regulatory reform.
    Bill Gates sees a way to ensure that poorer regions won’t be left behind in the rush for COVID-19 vaccines: invest in factories globally.
    Janes Massola writes about a UN human rights body slamming Duterte’s murderous drug war.
    Racial tension overseas is serving as a wake-up call for other countries to recognise their own issues, including ours here in Australia, writes Hayden Marks.
    Christiane Barro proves us with a disturbing look at how things are developing in suburban Los Angeles.
    While you might have considered Trump’s threat this week to mobilise the military as something unthinkable, it seems Americans find it very thinkable indeed writes Waleed Aly.
    In a rather chilling contribution, veteran Reporter Robert Penfold says that when police attack news crews, he fears something is broken in America. He’s not wrong!
    The New York Times analyses what drives, and intensely annoys, Trump.
    From Washington DC, Australian lawyer Claire McMullen looks at the legality of using American troops against the people.
    Emma Brockes wonders if the killing of George Floyd be a turning point for American denial.
    Matthew Teague writes that when Donald Trump raised overhead a Bible – the Sword of the Spirit, to believers – he unwittingly cleaved his loyal Christian supporters into two camps.
    Trump’s photo op with church and Bible was offensive, but not new says theologist Robyn Whitaker.
    A vast database from a little-known company called Surgisphere has influenced rapid policy shifts as the world seeks treatments for Covid-19. But as researchers began to examine it more closely, they became increasingly concerned writes Melissa Davey.
    The former head of Ferrari in Australasia has earned nomination for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    Peter Broelman

    Cathy Wilcox

    A very in form Matt Golding

    Jim Pavlidis

    Mark David

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  10. The SA State Government will offer up to $1000 in rent relief to some residential tenants who are struggling due to COVID-19 restrictions.

    Treasurer Rob Lucas announced the scheme today, which will support people who are either receiving JobKeeper or JobSeeker payments, have less than $5000 in savings and are paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent.

    The scheme, which Lucas says would cover about 10,000 tenancies at a cost of $10 million, will be provided via landlords who have agreed with their tenants to provide rent relief of at least $1000.

  11. I thought ‘snake oil’ was just an invention. Apparently not.

    Like the proverbial stimulus cheque in a faltering economy, snake oil was an incredibly effective medicinal product when it first appeared in America in the mid-1880s – the trouble only started when the salesmen got hold of it.

    Brought to the USA by Chinese workers, the oil of the Asian water snake was rich in omega-three acids and did reduce inflammation on all the tired – clearly non-unionised – bones that built the railways.

    The product had a good word-of-mouth reputation, but once showmen put local rattlesnakes with no medicinal properties into the mix, followed by snake oil being removed from the product altogether, what labourers were left with was a fancy bottle of congealed fats and no relief.

    Over to you ‘Scotty from Marketing’.


  12. Another day dawns in the glorious one-party state of Morristan!
    A few minor bumps – robodebt, recession – already sorted, so what lays ahead for the Glorious Leader and his people?

  13. Just scrolled the entire ‘top stories’ front page of the smh. Nothing.
    One opinion piece on Homebuilder (critical).
    Otherwise it’s all sweet!
    Feel like singing three choruses of Morristan My Home before brekkie!!

  14. The TV rights to HomeBuilder have been sold to one of the FTA networks. Scotty Cam will be the host apparently. Reality TV politics brought to you by ScottyFromMarketing.

  15. On Scotty Cam
    When the Block airs wonder if it will benefit. Nice boost and nice PR or is that peak cynicism.

  16. lizzie

    “…. what labourers were left with was a fancy bottle of congealed fats and no relief.”
    That’s a good definition of a Morrison Government policy!

    A fancy bottle of congealed fats and no relief!!!

  17. Just my luck. I rarely comment and I do it at the end of the previous thread. Here it is again.Re the Reno Rorts. In my neighbourhood, there is a couple who just sold their home a month ago and are moving down south to the Murray River. They have plans to build a new home. They were just ready to sign a contract to start building their new home. Along comes, Reno Rorts and all they have to do is delay by a day in signing the contract and they qualify for a $25,000 grant. I say good luck to them.
    However, there will be no stimulation with this grant, no extra tradesmen used, no new construction, no jobs saved. Just someone who has the money to build a new home at the place and the right time to receive a $25,000 gift. How many are there in the same situation or near the same situation, how lucky are they?

  18. Yeah I don’t care how low their population gets, the NT should have two seats minimum. One MP cannot be expected to adequately represent such a large and remote area on their own. I’d much rather they were over-represented than under-represented.

  19. I won’t be attending mass gatherings of any kind (clubs, public transport, cinema, events, demonstrations) for the forseable future. I don’t think that the planned rallies in Sydney are a good idea at this time, although normally I would be all for it. However, authority figures insulting and talking down to would-be protesters is not the way to dissuade them, quite the opposite.

  20. Muskiemp

    Getting benefit from any of Scotty’s gifts is always a matter of luck.
    I haven’t seen any “real” economists praise this program. Nothing but criticism.

  21. I just hope that the people in Eden Monaro who can’t get one red cent out of the Morrison government to rebuild their homes and their lives after the bushfires, see HomeBuilder (another 2 words joined together Liberal Party slogan), for what it is…and vote accordingly in the upcoming by-election.

  22. Lizzie
    Yes, it has fallen flat. There will bo no stimulation with this wank of a policy. ScottyfromMarketing will congratulate himself with those receiving the gift and say how wonderful it worked. Also to make sure not too many get the gift, applications end in September 2020.

  23. Muskiemp

    Looks as if September is going to be quite a good month for pigeons coming home to roost at Scotty’s place.

  24. The NT has about 1% of Australia’s population and the Federal Parliament has 150 seats, with a constitutional mandate that electorates cannot cross state boundaries. The numbers mean that the NT will be greatly over-represented with two seats or greatly under-represented with one.

    I’d go with the minimum of two seats to avoid under-representation of an area with a high indigenous population (about 25%).

  25. It’s not only blacks who are killed. Just a trigger happy culture in police.

    Police in northern California fatally shot an unarmed 22-year-old who was on his knees with his hands up outside a Walgreens store while responding to a call of alleged looting, officials said.

    An officer in the city of Vallejo was inside his car when he shot Sean Monterrosa on Monday night amid local and national protests against police brutality. Police said an officer mistakenly believed Monterrosa had a gun, but later determined he had a hammer in his pocket.


  26. Government hush on meetings with class action firm ahead of reform bill


    The Victorian government has been referred to IBAC over its refusal to reveal how many times it met with a leading class action law firm and major Labor donor before proceeding with a contentious move to allow lawyers to charge lucrative contingency fees.
    Maurice Blackburn has historically donated generously to the Australian Labor Party, but the most recent ledgers reveal the law firm substantially increased its donations to the party, state branches and the Australian Council of Trade Unions to almost $600,000 in the lead-up to the last state and federal elections. Its previous highest annual donation was $163,000 in 2009.

    The proposed class action changes would allow judges to hand plaintiff lawyers a slice of the settlement or judgement amount, rather than a set fee.
    If the bill passes the upper house this month, Victoria will be the only state or territory in Australia to allow law firms to charge contingency fees.

    The Andrews government has faced growing criticism over its lack of transparency since it was first elected in 2014, with figures released last week showing a steady year-on-year decline in the release of information by Victorian departments and agencies over the past five years.

  27. Hamish Macdonald
    Since recording the intv with Rio Tinto Iron Ore CEO Chris Salisbury in which he said he takes accountability for destroying Juukan Caves, @RNBreakfast has obtained this email in which Rio management blames the media and says there is “no record” of opposition from PKKP elders.

  28. High Court decision today on the long legal battle over New Acland Coal mine expansion


    After years of litigation, Australia’s highest court will today make a major decision on the fate of the controversial proposed expansion to the New Acland Coal mine in Queensland.

    A so-called “special leave application”, if successful, may eventually see the matter sent back to Queensland’s Land Court for a new hearing.

    If the application fails, the mine expansion is one big step closer to proceeding, with only a few approvals left to obtain.
    The mine sits in the middle of prime agricultural land. Farmers and the community are deeply concerned the proposed expansion will have serious impacts including groundwater depletion, noise, air quality, visual amenity, soil damage, social disruption and land values. It will also absorb the town of Acland.

  29. “It’s not only blacks who are killed. Just a trigger happy culture in police.”


    These cops who kill in cold blood need to be given life sentences. There’s no excuse for shooting someone who’s kneeling on the ground with their hands up in surrender. They think they are above the law just because it’s their job to enforce it. They need to be treated like the murderers they are.

  30. BK’s round up once again shows how biased towards the LNP that the media is and why the ALP keeps losing federal elections due to the terrible anti-ALP opinions. Apparently.

  31. After Robodebt, it’s time to address ParentsNext


    In December 2018, 75,259 people were in ParentsNext: 95% women, 19% Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, 21% culturally and linguistically diverse, and 12% with a disability.

    Our interviews with participants paint a picture of a weekly “tick-the-box” exercise conducted under the threat of losing payments below the poverty line at a time when caring for children, often under challenging circumstances, is more than enough to keep them busy.
    ParentsNext continues largely unreformed despite the Senate committee’s recommendation that it cease in its current form.

    It is consistent with a long Australian history of blaming, punishing and stigmatising welfare recipients and single mothers in particular.

    The Senate Inquiry was chaired by Greens senator Rachel Siewert.

    ParentsNext, including its trial and subsequent broader rollout. March 2019.


  32. Bucephalus

    The mystery is why, when successive LNP governments have deliberately destroyed much of the social fabric of Australia, there are still enough people to vote for them and believe their myths.

Comments Page 1 of 27
1 2 27

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *