Victorian state draft redistribution

Following on promptly from finalised federal boundaries, the draft of a significantly revised state electoral map for Victoria.

In addition to yesterday’s finalisation of the state’s federal boundaries, covered in the post below, today saw the publication of a new draft state boundaries for Victoria. The current boundaries have been in effect for two terms, in which time Melbourne in particular has experienced very substantial growth, resulting in extensive changes in the proposed boundaries. The changes have occurred mostly within Melbourne, with three new seats appearing in the western suburbs and the northern and south-eastern fringes, and another three disappearing in the relatively stagnant suburbs of middle eastern and south-eastern Melbourne.

Over the fold at the bottom of this post is a display of my effort to calculate new party vote shares for the new boundaries, an endeavour complicated on this occasion by the fact that fewer than half the votes in 2018 were cast in election day polling booths, those being the only ones for which the data offers any sense of where in the electorate they were cast. The primary votes display should be straightforward enough, but two-candidate preferred is complicated by the fact that many of the results mash together counts from different electorates that involved candidates of different parties. UPDATE: Antony Green has two-party preferred estimates here.

There are six seats that I’m designating as new and a corresponding number as abolished. The former include three that are safe for Labor (Greenvale, Kalkallo and Laverton), one that is marginal Labor (Pakenham) and two that are marginal Liberal (Berwick and Glen Waverley). Three of the abolished seats are Labor (safe Keysborough and Yuroke and marginal Mount Waverley) and the other three Liberal (Ferntree Gully, Forest Hill and Gembrook, all highly marginal). Four seats change party designation, with Bass and Bayswater going from Labor to notional Liberal and Hastings and Ripon vice-versa. As explained below, Greens-held Prahran should probably be considered Labor-held on the new boundaries. All told, the results in 2018 on these boundaries would have been Labor 57 (up two), Coalition 26 (down one), Greens two (down one) and independents three.

Major changes:

• Growth on Melbourne’s northern fringe results in a new safe seat for Labor, with Yuroke divided into the new seats of Greenvale (margin 22.1%) and Kalkallo (20.0%).

• Similarly, growth in Melbourne’s south-eastern fringe is accommodated with the effective replacement of Gembrook, which had a Liberal margin of 0.8% at the election, by two new seats: Berwick, with a Liberal margin of 1.6%, and Pakenham, with a Labor margin of 3.3%. The suburb of Berwick formerly provided the seat of Narre Warren South with a Liberal-leaning eastern end, the loss of which boosts Labor’s margin in the seat from 6.9% to 11.1%.

• In addition to the area gained from abolished Gembrook, which includes the northern end of the town of Pakenham, the Pakenham electorate takes the southern part of the town of Pakenham from Bass. The removal of this territory from Bass weakens Labor in a seat they gained with a 2.4% margin in 2018, resulting in a notional Liberal margin of 1.9%.

• The new seat in western Melbourne, Laverton, is inevitably safe for Labor, with a notional margin of 23.6%. Its eastern end was formerly in Footscray, its west in Tarneit.

• Labor loses a safe seat in Melbourne’s south-east with the abolition of Keysborough, which is absorbed by its Labor-held neighbours.

• Eastern Melbourne loses two seats, one through the abolition of Ferntree Gully and its absorption by neighbouring Bayswater and Rowville. Ferntree Gully was held by the Liberals by 1.6% in 2018, but the changes convert Labor’s 0.4% margin in Bayswater to a notional Liberal margin of 1.2%, while Rowville remains secure for the Liberals.

• Eastern Melbourne’s other loss comes through the replacement of Mount Waverley and Forest Hill by a single new seat of Glen Waverley. I give Glen Waverley a Liberal margin of 0.8%, whereas Labor won Mount Waverley by 1.8% and Liberal won Forest Hill by 1.2%, so this technically amounts to another loss for Labor. The western parts of Mount Waverley and Forest Hill are absorbed by Box Hill and Ashwood, the latter being essentially a renamed Burwood in which I calculate a Labor margin of 2.5%, down from 3.3%.

• Prahran and Albert Park are to undergo very significant change through a territory swap that will shift St Kilda to Prahran and part of South Yarra to Albert Park. This makes the Liberals a lot less competitive in Prahran (down 5.2% on the primary vote for mine) and widens the gap between Labor and the Greens from 0.9%, which the Greens were just barely able to close on minor party preferences, to 5.3%. However, the next election will be a different ball game in St Kilda, with Labor losing the advantage of a sitting member. The exchange of South Yarra for St Kilda boosts the Liberals by around 3% in Albert Park, where Labor’s margin in 2019 was 13.1%.

• Brunswick is drawn deeper into the inner city environs of Carlton North and Fitzroy North, boosting the Greens margin over Labor from 0.6% to 2.1%.

• Ripon, which the Liberals won by 15 votes in 2018, has a notional Labor margin of 2.6% after gaining Ballarat suburbia around Alfredton from the electorate previously known as Wendouree, which now gains the colourful new name of Eureka. Eureka in turn absorbs the parts of Ballarat that were formerly in Buninyong, which in turn gains rural territory from Polwarth. This boosts Labor’s margin in Wendouree/Eureka from 10.3% to 13.2% and cuts it in Buninyong from 12.2% to 7.0%.

• Other electorates with new names are Point Cook, which is essentially a renamed Altona with a Labor margin of 12.5% rather than 14.6%; and Morang, which is very much the old electorate of Mill Park and remains extremely safe for Labor.

• Smaller changes to significant seats include Hastings’ gain of coastal townships around Balnarring from Nepean, which turns the 1.1% Liberal margin into a notional Labor margin of 0.3%; Eildon’s gain of the Melbourne fringe suburb of Hurstbridge from Yuroke, which cuts the Liberal margin from 2.4% to 0.2%; Croydon’s gain of territory from northern Bayswater, which cuts the Liberal margin there from 2.1% to 0.5%; and changes to Ringwood that boost Labor’s margin from 2.8% to 3.5%.

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.

21 comments on “Victorian state draft redistribution”

  1. I think you’re right about St Kilda being a different ballgame next election in a new electorate.

    If I’m not mistaken, the Greens outpoll Labor at the equivalent federal polling places, and also at the St Kilda booths already in Prahran, so the dynamic could change quite a bit in those redistributed St Kilda booths with an incumbent Greens MP and unknown ALP challenger. The dip in Labor’s polling after the pandemic might also be a factor, and would most likely just translate into Greens votes in that area.

    I think the ALP / Greens race at the 3PP stage will be just like the last 2 elections in Prahran, too close to call and could go either way.

    But unlike 2014 where the 2PP was also so close, or 2018 which was expected to be similar until the swing against the Liberals became apparent on election night, there should be no question on these boundaries that whoever comes out on top out of ALP or Greens at the 3PP stage also comfortably wins the seat.

    South Yarra becomes the most Liberal-friendly suburb in the electorate and even that is only around 50-50 and loses its most Liberal-leaning booths (around Fawkner Park), meaning they may not even win a single polling place’s 2PP count on these boundaries.

  2. I am mistaken, the ALP candidate did get a higher vote than the Greens in the St Kilda booths already in Prahran, but it was a lot closer than than St Kilda booths in Albert Park:

    St Kilda booths in Albert Park:
    St Kilda – ALP 51%, GRN 28%
    St Kilda Park – ALP 48%, GRN 21%
    St Kilda South – ALP 46%, GRN 24%

    St Kilda booths in Prahran:
    Alma – ALP 36%, GRN 31%
    Redan Central – ALP 39%, GRN 34%

    All those comparable federal booths in St Kilda vote pretty much the same as each other in federal elections and don’t have any real difference east or west of St Kilda Road, so I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t also vote similar to each other if all 5 were in the same state seat too. So I think the Greens are probably in a better position to retain than the numbers indicate.

  3. If I’m reading that table correctly, Broadmeadows jumps from being ALP vs Lib to ALP vs Ind, presumably because of the area added in from Pascoe Vale (which must’ve been either half the seat, or very strong for the independent who came second there). Not too often a redistribution does that. (Also, the primary vote for “other” seems to be 2% more than the 2cp. Eh?)

    Broadmeadows has Labor down 11.9% and “other” up 13.5%, Libs and Greens down less than 2% between them; Pascoe Vale has Greens up 8.1%, “other” down 8.9%, with the big two barely shifting. Brunswick has hardly any change comparatively; it just matters more because it’s a marginal seat. I guess the Greens did almost as well in Coburg as in Carlton, which I would expect to change now that Coburg’s gone from being in a winnable seat to a near-impossibility.

    45.4% primary vote for “other” in Melton, as if that wasn’t high enough already! That’s the second highest in the state, only beaten by Shepparton, and ahead of two other seats won by independents (and a few others where they made the 2cp cut). Labor got very lucky there in 2018.

    Also in the west: The Greens get above 20% in Footscray, ahead of the Libs. They’ll probably come a distant second, similar to Preston.

  4. Melton 2018 was unfocused rage that came up short. Too many independents defuse the protest vote. With Bacchus Marsh out (providing that stays out in the final boundaries), I would be surprised if Bacchus Marsh resident (at least at the time of the last election, according to his ABC Elections information) Jarrod Bingham were to run in Melton again, given his vote was disproportionately in Bacchus Marsh.

    The informal vote was massive as well (10.06%).

  5. Also, the primary vote for “other” seems to be 2% more than the 2cp. Eh?

    It should say “IND” rather than “OTH” in the column headings under two-candidate preferred. The IND in this case is Pascoe Vale candidate Oscar Yildiz, and his 18.7% TCP is entirely from the part of that electorate that has been transferred to Broadmeadows. By contrast, the “OTH” column under primary vote is the combined total for everyone who wasn’t Labor, Liberal or Greens.

  6. Ahh, gotcha.

    One other thing: I know there’s a South Morang (home to a new train station, which took way too much time and money to get built from a WA perspective), but is there a Morang? Weird name for a seat if there isn’t one.

  7. @Bird of Paradox

    South Morang is a suburb in Melbourne’s outer north. There is famously no “Morang”. There presumably was at some point, for South Morang to be south of, but it hasn’t existed in some time.

    Regards general conversation – the Bacchus Marsh area could be a place to watch, given significant local opposition to the site chosen for dumping contaminated spoil from the West Gate Tunnel.

    But this would require one clear independent to stand and coalesce the protest vote around them. So probably the rage’ll fizzle out. Also with the changes to Melton I think it’ll stay safe Labor in 2022.

  8. I would be interested to know the new primaries for Footscray based on the previous election. The outcome last time was distorted by the Greens’ choice of candidate sending votes elsewhere. I suspect this will be a lot more competitive next time.

  9. What used to be called Morang North is now called Mernda (at some point Morang South became South Morang, although the school is still called Morang South).

    In Melton last time, Labor lost both their incumbent MP and their originally preselected candidate to assorted scandals – with an incumbent in place this time you’d expect there to be much less of a protest vote going to independents.

  10. Wander West: comparing Footscray to the last few elections would be messy, because there was a decent vote for Catherine Cumming, who’s now in the upper house. The Animal Justice Party got 7.6% in 2018, probably because they were the only party apart from Labor/Lib/Greens. (The Socialists got something similar in Broadmeadows for the same reason.) Might be a protest against the Green candidate, but the AJP also outpolled the Greens in Mill Park, so it’s not just a Footscray thing.

    The 2018 ABC page reckons the Greens came second (obviously from AJP preferences), but the VEC doesn’t recount non-standard 2cp results when a party won with a majority. Same thing happened in 2006: Cumming probably came second after prefs, but Labor got over 50% so we’ll never know.

  11. Another thing: in the upper house, East Metro region has been renamed Northeast Metro. I guess there’s enough of it north of the Yarra now that they had to change its name.

  12. Eltham has been in Eastern Metro since its creation in the 2005 initial distribution of regions as part of the Bracks Government`s Legislative Council reforms.

    Ivanhoe was moved from Northern Metro to Eastern Metro in the 2013 redistribution.

    These proposals move Bundoora and Morang (a renamed Mill Park, with some territory taken out of Yan Yean and some given to Bundoora).

  13. Yep. In 2006, the Yarra was the border between regions (with Eltham sticking out like a sore thumb); now it’s Darebin Creek. The new seats in W and N Metro mean the regions have to shuffle anti-clockwise. The population centre of Melbourne is moving west.

    Gaining Bundoora and Mill Park makes the new NE Metro a fair bit better for Labor than the old E Metro, while not doing too much to change WM or NM (which basically exchange one safe Labor seat for another). That could come in handy next time there’s a close election.

  14. I am wondering about the data for Mildura, the changes in 2cp for NAT and IND indicate that the 2cp last time was 55.6-44.4 yet it was only 50.3-49.7. Is this due to the fact that the 2pp was 55.6-44.4?

  15. Seems like it, yeah.

    Antony Green has a pdf here (no commentary, just numbers). His 2cp figures are: Cupper 47.6, Nat 47.0, Lib 3.8, ALP 1.9. (The Lib and ALP figures are from an area transferred in from Ripon with a Lib/ALP 2cp of 66%.) Whatever secret sauce he uses gets that to 56.2% 2pp (Nat/ALP), compared to 55.6% in 2018. No new Ind/Nat margin.

    He also gets a 18.7% 2pp for the Libs in Richmond, when they didn’t run there. The 2cp is the ALP/Grn result that actually happened, while the 2pp is ALP/(blank) of 81.3%/(blank). The booth transferred to Brunswick has an ALP 2pp of 84.9%. *scratches head*

  16. Thanks Tom. I hadnt properly appreciated how far west “East” metro already was.

    Is there a case for a “Metro Central” division? Say, Melbourne, Richmond, Northcote, Brunswick, Footscray, Williamstown, Albert Park, Prahran, Hawthorn and Kew?

    Surely that’s more of a community of interest than having Morang and Kew in the same region.

  17. The EBC is loth to cross the Yarra, if they can avoid it.

    It is also very unlikely without an additional region, which requires a referendum. Getting the votes for a referendum to expand parliament in the foreseeable future would likely required tied Parliament causing a constitutional crisis (inability to elect a speaker, no ability to call an election to resolve the deadlock), providing obvious to ordinary voters cause to add a region of Legislative Assembly seats (and accompanying Legislative Council seats) to prevent a tied parliament. We just missed out on potentially that in 2010 by hundreds of votes, with the Nats probably particularly likely to push an additional region (to get Melton, Yan Yean and a seat in the east or south out of the regional regions and keep their regional seat numbers).

    Even with an additional region, a central metro region is unlikely.

  18. That “Metro Central” region wouldn’t work. If you pull Footscray and Williamstown out of WM, they’d have to be replaced with two seats from NM, and then the continuing NM would be an outer suburban region stretching from Broadmeadows to Ringwood. “Community of interest” isn’t a major concern when regions have more than half a million people each, but that would fail it worse than the current arrangement. (And what do Kew and Footscray have to do with each other, anyway?)

    No mater what the number of regions is, there’s always going to be a few outer suburban seats that end up in country regions, for the same reason federal divisions sometimes cross the metropolitan boundary (such as McEwen). The Nats just have to live with that. If they really want more seats, they should break the coalition and try to outpoll the Liberals in those regions. As it is, their one remaining upper house seat (2nd coalition seat in E Vic) is much more under threat by a microparty than by Labor.

  19. With 9 regions, there is only 1 mixed metro-non-metro region (Eastern Victoria, which is relatively balances between the two), with 8 regions, all three regional regions are mixed.

    The size of the Legislative Assembly and Victorian Parliament overall has not increased since the 1985 election, while the number of enrolled voters has gone from less than 2.4 million at that election to over 4.3 million voters enrolled as of March this year. The Legislative Council actually shrunk by 4 in 2006, when it was reformed.

    The Coalition vote is likely to increase at the next election, given the government will be seeking a third term. There is a reasonable chance that the Legislative Council could be reformed before the election, with the ALP likely to be able to get less through a deluge of micro parties (most of whom are less friendly to the ALP than the Greens on many issues) with a smaller number of Legislative Council seats won by ALP at the next election if GTVs are not scrapped, making the Coalition less likely to loose seat to minor parties.

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