WA state redistribution finalised

An analysis of the new state electoral boundaries in Western Australia, which were finalised on Friday.

The final boundaries for the Western Australian state redistribution were published on Friday, and can be viewed here. Listed below are my own calculations of new margins, a detailed accounting of which can be seen on this spreadsheet. Of the tweaks made to the draft proposal, two are of consequence. In the metropolitan area, a plan to realign the boundary between Mount Lawley and Maylands has essentially been scrapped, which means two booths won by Liberal in 2013 will stay in Mount Lawley, and two won by Labor will stay in Maylands. This is slightly to the advantage of both Michael Sutherland and Lisa Baker, who respectively hold Mount Lawley and Maylands for Liberal and Labor. In the country, Collie-Preston will gain the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup instead of part of the City of Busselton, as it was argued the latter should be left intact within Vasse (which, relatedly, will no longer gain Margaret River and the surrounding area, which instead stay in Warren-Blackwood).

The other big change is cosmetic, but no less welcome for that – a plan to rename a number of electorates after notable personages has been scrapped, with all electorates maintaining locality-based names. There are any number of reasons why the practice the commissioners were seeking to import from the federal level works a lot less well for state electorates, owing to their smaller size and lesser sense of permanency from one redistribution to the next. Particularly awkardly, both the draft state and federal redistributions proposed the creation of electorates named Burt. The state electorate in question had assumed particular political interest in being ground zero for the Perth Freight Link issue and, relatedly, the scene of a turf war between two Liberal MPs, both of whom would prefer to have the much safer seat neighbouring it to the east. Burt will now take on the more logical name of Bicton, while its neighbour will retain the name of Bateman, rather than being renamed Toohey as proposed.

LIB 2PP CHANGE
Albany 48.8% +0.9%
Armadale 40.4% +0.0%
Balcatta 57.0% -0.3%
Baldivis 41.2% New
Bassendean 44.8% -0.1%
Bateman 73.2% +5.3%
Belmont 51.2% +0.3%
Bicton (Alfred Cove) 60.6% -13.0%
Bunbury 61.9% -1.2%
Burns Beach (Ocean Reef) 61.5% -7.5%
Butler 49.3% +1.1%
Cannington 48.4% +0.4%
Carine 68.3% +0.2%
Central Wheatbelt 71.6% +0.5%
Churchlands 69.9% -0.2%
Cockburn 46.4% +0.5%
Collie-Preston 52.8% +2.9%
Cottesloe 71.1% +0.2%
Darling Range 62.8% -2.5%
Dawesville 62.7% -0.0%
Eyre Abolished
Forrestfield 52.2% +0.1%
Fremantle 34.9% -7.3%
Geraldton 72.8% +0.0%
Girrawheen 47.3% -0.3%
Hillarys 66.0% -3.0%
Jandakot 68.1% +10.1%
Joondalup 60.1% +5.7%
Kalamunda 60.3% -0.2%
Kalgoorlie 67.6% +0.7%
Kimberley 44.9% -0.0%
Kingsley 64.0% -0.8%
Kwinana 45.1% +7.0%
Mandurah 42.3% -0.0%
Maylands 47.6% +0.6%
Midland 49.4% -0.5%
Mirrabooka 45.4% -0.0%
Moore 73.2% -0.0%
Morley 54.7% +0.0%
Mount Lawley 58.8% -0.5%
Murray-Wellington 62.0% +0.0%
Nedlands 69.0% -0.1%
North West Central 62.2% -1.3%
Perth 52.8% +0.2%
Pilbara (NAT vs ALP) 63.8% +2.3%
Riverton 62.7% +3.5%
Rockingham 36.8% -0.0%
Roe (Wagin) 76.2% +0.4%
Scarborough 67.3% +0.0%
South Perth 69.7% -1.4%
Southern River 61.0% -6.0%
Swan Hills 53.9% -2.0%
Thornlie (Gosnells) 48.0% +0.9%
Vasse 71.2% -0.0%
Victoria Park 45.8% -0.2%
Wanneroo 61.0% -0.1%
Warnbro 39.5% -1.7%
Warren-Blackwood 66.3% +0.8%
West Swan 50.4% +2.3%
Willagee 47.1% +7.7%

Western Australia redistributed: draft state boundaries

A proposed state redistribution in Western Australia abolishes a conservative rural electorate and creates a Labor one in Perth’s southern suburbs.

Draft boundaries have been published for the Western Australian state redistribution. It proposes abolishing the electorate of Eyre in the south-eastern corner of the state, which is held for the Liberals by Graham Jacobs, who narrowly saw off a challenge from the Nationals at the March 2013 election. Its major centres of Esperance and Boulder are respectively to be absorbed by Wagin and Kalgoorlie. The seat created in its place is Baldivis, from the rapidly growing southern suburbs centre of the same name. A number of electorates have been renamed, apparently on the principle that geographic electorate names are best avoided. Antony Green might have projected new margins at some point today, and I might take a stab at it myself if I get time this afternoon.

UPDATE: Below is my own stab at a pendulum with redistributed boundaries, without making the effort to accommodate the many name changes. Antony Green doesn’t provide a margin for the new seat of Baldivis because of the complication of independent candidate Carole Adams in the Kwinana electorate in 2013, but I’ve done an elaborate bit of modelling to produce an estimate of 8.2% using Legislative Council results. Non-trivial differences between my margins and Antony’s are in Darling Range (11.9% from him, 10.6% from me), Cannington (2.3% from him, 1.5% from me), Joondalup (10.9% from him, 10.2% from me), Southern River (11.3% from him, 10.5% from me), Churchlands (20.0% from me, 20.9% from him) and Riverton (12.6% from him, 11.9% from me).

Change Coalition seats Labor seats Change
0.3% (1.2%) BELMONT WEST SWAN (0.3%) 1.6%
0.1% (2.1%) FORRESTFIELD MIDLAND (0.7%) 0.6%
0.1% (2.8%) PERTH BUTLER (1.0%) 0.8%
3.5% (3.3%) COLLIE-PRESTON ALBANY (1.5%) 0.6%
2.0% (3.9%) SWAN HILLS CANNINGTON (1.5%) 0.5%
0.0% (4.7%) MORLEY GOSNELLS (1.9%) 1.0%
0.3% (7.1%) BALCATTA MAYLANDS (2.0%) 1.1%
1.7% (7.7%) MOUNT LAWLEY GIRRAWHEEN (2.8%) 0.4%
0.5% (10.0%) KALAMUNDA COCKBURN (4.1%) 0.1%
6.4% (10.5%) SOUTHERN RIVER VICTORIA PARK (4.2%) 0.1%
8.4% (10.6%) OCEAN REEF WILLAGEE (4.2%) 6.4%
4.7% (10.6%) DARLING RANGE MIRRABOOKA (4.6%) 0.0%
6.4% (10.9%) JOONDALUP KIMBERLEY (5.1%) 0.0%
0.0% (11.1%) WANNEROO BASSENDEAN (5.1%) 0.0%
0.0% (11.5%) PILBARA KWINANA (5.8%) 3.2%
12.1% (11.5%) ALFRED COVE MANDURAH (7.7%) 0.0%
2.7% (11.9%) RIVERTON BALDIVIS (8.2%) NEW
0.0% (12.0%) MURRAY-WELLINGTON ARMADALE (9.6%) 0.0%
1.0% (12.1%) BUNBURY WARNBRO (10.6%) 1.8%
0.0% (12.7%) DAWESVILLE ROCKINGHAM (13.2%) 0.0%
0.8% (14.0%) KINGSLEY FREMANTLE (15.0%) 7.1%
2.3% (16.7%) HILLARYS
0.0% (17.3%) SCARBOROUGH
3.4% (17.8%) VASSE
0.2% (18.3%) CARINE
10.6% (18.7%) JANDAKOT
0.0% (19.1%) NEDLANDS
1.4% (19.7%) SOUTH PERTH
0.0% (20.9%) COTTESLOE
0.8% (20.9%) CHURCHLANDS
5.2% (23.1%) BATEMAN
L/N GERALDTON
L/N CENTRAL WHEATBELT
L/N KALGOORLIE
L/N MOORE
L/N NORTH WEST CENTRAL
L/N WAGIN
L/N WARREN-BLACKWOOD

WA state redistribution: part the first

A detailed look at what the parties propose for the Western Australian state redistribution.

I wouldn’t normally do a post for an event as minor as the publication of suggestions for a state redistribution, but Greens operative Grahame Bowland has made it worth our while in the case of the present Western Australian redistribution by mapping out the boundaries proposed by the Liberals and the Greens. This has made it a fairly simple matter for me to calculate notional margins based on their suggestions, so we can have a better idea of what the Liberals in particular are trying to achieve. Much as I’d like to be even-handed by scrutinising a detailed Labor proposal, its submission does not provide one.

The basic thesis of the Liberal submission is that the commissioners should push the 10% tolerance to its limits to avoid abolishing any existing electorates, despite dramatic population changes which have caused outer suburban electorates to be well over average enrolment. By contrast, Labor and the Greens propose the more obvious approach of abolishing a country electorate and creating a new metropolitan one. The biggest change proposed by the Liberals is for the waning wheatbelt electorates of Central Wheatbelt and Wagin to be brought up to quota by drawing the latter into Collie, so that the Collie-Preston electorate would become merely Preston. Collie-Preston is a highly marginal seat, held for Labor by locally popular Mick Murray on the slenderest possible margin, because it balances the hugely pro-Labor coal-mining town of Collie against conservative dairy farming surrounds. Excising Collie in the manner proposed would give Preston a Liberal margin approaching 10% on the 2013 results (remembering Labor’s statewide two-party vote was only 42.7%), without making Labor competitive in Wagin.

In the metropolitan area, the Liberals would have their margins boosted from 0.9% to 2.3% in Belmont by extending it northwards to Guildford and Helena Valley; from 2.1% to 3.8% in Forrestfield by chopping Labor turf at Maddington and Kenwick at the southern end, and adding friendlier territory around Gooseberry Hill in the north-east; from 8.1% to around 11% in Jandakot (which despite the present margin was notionally Labor on its creation at the 2008 election) by trading old suburbs at the northern end (Bull Creek and South Lake) for new ones in the south (Hammond Park and Anketell); from 4.5% to 8.5% in Joondalup, by sending Labor-leaning Craigie at the southern end to safe Liberal Hillarys, and adding Liberal-voting coastal territory around Mullaloo from Ocean Reef, which would have a much reduced but still double-digit Liberal margin; and from 4.7% to 6.4% in Morley, by adding Dianella from Mirrabooka. Midland, which Labor retained by a hair’s breadth in 2013, would acquire a notional Liberal margin of 2.2% by gaining Darlington from Kalamunda.

The submission of a detailed proposal by the Greens either reflects their growing confidence about their lower house prospects generally, or the fact that the party attracts wonkish activists who do this sort of thing for fun. Whatever the explanation, the submission proposes the abolition of Eyre in the state’s south-east and the creation of a new seat of Carramar, which would take over areas of the outer northern suburbs from Wanneroo and Butler, and by my reckoning would have a notional Liberal margin of 6.3%. It is proposed that the Greens’ favoured target seat of Fremantle would extend north of the river to take in North Fremantle, offering them the indirect advantage of subduing Labor’s primary vote.

Victorian draft state redistribution

Victoria’s Electoral Boundaries Commission has unveiled draft boundaries for its very long awaited state redistribution.

The attention of most politics watchers will be firmly elsewhere, but Victoria’s Electoral Boundaries Commission has unveiled draft boundaries for its very long awaited state redistribution. I’m a bit too distracted to give them any consideration just at the moment, but you can view them here.

UPDATE: Antony Green has more.

New South Wales draft state redistribution

Proposed new state electoral boundaries for New South Wales create a new inner-city seat at the expense of one in the state’s south.

A proposal for a redistribution of New South Wales’ state electoral boundaries has been published, the major change being that the metropolitan area gains a seat at the expense of the rest of the state. The new seat has been created in the inner city, with Marrickville divided between the new seats of Newtown in the east and Summer Hill in the west. Considerable rearrangement in the outer inland suburbs causes Menai, Smithfield and Toongabbie to be respectively renamed Holsworthy, Prospect and Seven Hills.

The abolition of a rural electorate has been achieved by merging Burrinjuck and Murrumbidgee into Cootamundra. Murrumbidgee’s western half is absorbed by Murray, the name of which changes from Murray-Darling to register the transfer of the state’s north-western corner by Barwon. The eastern part of Burrinjuck is absorbed by Goulburn. Part of Goulburn’s territory is in turn absorbed by Wollondilly, with knock-on effects in Sydney’s outer south-west.

Maps of the proposed boundaries can be viewed here. The redistribution commissioners will now receive suggestions and objections to the proposals until July 17.

UPDATE: A proposal for a redistribution of New South Wales’ state electoral boundaries has been published, the major change being that the metropolitan area gains a seat at the expense of the rest of the state. The new seat has been created in the inner city, with Marrickville divided between the new seats of Newtown in the east and Summer Hill in the west. Considerable rearrangement in the outer inland suburbs causes Menai, Smithfield and Toongabbie to be respectively renamed Holsworthy, Prospect and Seven Hills.

The abolition of a rural electorate has been achieved by merging Burrinjuck and Murrumbidgee into Cootamundra. Murrumbidgee’s western half is absorbed by Murray, the name of which changes from Murray-Darling to register the transfer of the state’s north-western corner by Barwon. The eastern part of Burrinjuck is absorbed by Goulburn. Part of Goulburn’s territory is in turn absorbed by Wollondilly, with knock-on effects in Sydney’s outer south-west.

Maps of the proposed boundaries can be viewed here. The redistribution commissioners will now receive suggestions and objections to the proposals until July 17.

UPDATE: Antony Green has published his estimated margins. The change from Toongabbie to Seven Hills has been particularly significant, creating a seat with a notional Liberal margin of 8.5% (through the absorption of Northmead and Winston Hills from Baulkham Hills) from one that had been safe enough for Labor that Nathan Rees was able to retain it in the 2011 landslide. The Liberals have been strengthened in Campbelltown, Oatley and Wollondilly, but Holsworthy is weaker for the Liberals than Menai which it replaces – and of course there is now one less conservative electorate in the country and one extra “left” electorate in the city.

South Australia redistributed

Drowned out by the news of the Olympic Dam expansion being shelved yesterday was the release of the final report of South Australia’s state electoral redistribution. This is a fairly dry topic at the best of times, this one at first promised to be reasonably interesting, as state redistributions go. South Australia’s redistribution commissioners, who perform their work between every election, have uniquely been given direction to seek “electoral fairness” ever since a provision to that effect was inserted in the legislation after Labor’s lucky escape in 1989, when John Bannon won a third and final election from a base of 48.1% of the two-party vote.

Successive redistributions have sought to achieve this by drawing boundaries that would deliver victory at the subsequent election to the party with the greater share of the two-party vote, assuming a perfectly even swing. This eminently rational approach could not overcome the basic flaw of the endeavour, which is that election results can never be so neatly predicated on the basis of what happened last time. The 2010 election was a remarkable case in point, with 22 of the state’s 47 seats recording double-digit swings against Labor, but the two most marginal Labor seats actually swinging in their favour (the only ones to do so). Labor was thus able to suffer a net loss of just two seats in the face of a plunge in their two-party vote from 56.8% to 48.4%, emerging with a solid majority of 26 out of 47.

That left the redistribution commissioners with a formidable task in drawing boundaries which met the electoral fairness requirement as it had previously been conceived. From a psephological perspective, the contortions required to burden marginal seat Labor MPs with the requisite Liberal-voting areas, assuming there were any nearby, promised to be something to behold. Instead, the draft boundaries published in May showed the commissioners had simply thrown up their hands and dispensed with the Mackerras-pendulum derived notion of “fairness” which had previously been applied. Their rationale for doing so makes for interesting reading, as it essentially argues that the Liberals’ defeat was down to political failings a redistribution can’t be expected to account for:

As many of the seats held by Labor were marginal, little would have been required for an effective campaign to influence the final result … Had the Liberal Party achieved a uniform swing it would have formed government. As quoted (in the findings of the 1991 Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission), “The Commission has no control over, and can accept no responsibility for, the quality of the candidates, policies and campaigns.”

That being so, the commissioners turned in an extremely conservative set of changes, and despite the protestations of the Liberal Party there has been no fundamental change in the final determination. However, the Liberals have been thrown the following bones:

• Bright has been given extra territory from its Liberal northern neighbour Morphett, turning Labor member Chloe Fox’s 0.3% margin in the original redistribution to a deficit of 0.1%. The Liberal margin in Morphett, which also cedes territory to Elder (see below), is accordingly down from 11.1% to 9.9%.

• Elder is redrawn in relation to its Liberal neighbours Morphett and Waite, cutting Pat Conlon’s margin from 3.4% to 1.7%.

• Waite also cedes territory to Ashford, so as to cut Stephanie Key’s margin in the latter electorate from 4.4% to 1.5%. The Liberal margin in Waite is reduced from 13.0% to 11.1%.

• Grace Portolesi’s 1.9% margin in Hartley has been cut to 0.5% by adding extra territory from neighbouring Bragg, where Vickie Chapman’s Liberal margin of 21.0% goes to 20.0%.

The redistribution is otherwise as described by Antony Green when the draft boundaries were published, the most notable changes being a boost in Labor’s margin in Little Para from 6.7% to 10.9% with the addition of territory in Elizabeth, the Liberal margin in Morialta dropping from 4.2% to 2.9%, and Norwood being renamed Dunstan in honour of its esteemed former member.