Redistribution Archive

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NT redistribution – draft boundary map finished

Following up on Wednesday’s post about the Northern Territory redistribution, I’ve now completed my Google Earth map of the electoral boundaries.

You can download the map here, and it’s embedded below (sorry no stats, just the boundaries).

As explained last week, the Alice Springs area effectively lost a seat to the Darwin area.

Overall, this redistribution has been more dramatic than the last one, with big shifts in the Darwin, Palmerston and Alice Springs areas.

Prior to the redistribution, the Alice Springs area included three seats entirely contained in the town, but the seat of Araluen has been abolished, and the seat of Stuart has shifted south to take in parts of Alice Springs and taking on a new name of Battarbee.

In the top end, Nhulunbuy (renamed Milirrpum) has expanded to take in Groote Eylandt from Arnhem, which then shifts east to take in territory from Arafura. The seats of Goyder and Daly both shifted south, following the trend caused by the abolition of Araluen.

A majority of seats in the Northern Territory are included in the two northern urban areas of Darwin and Palmerston, and traditionally there has always been one seat straddling Darwin and Palmerston. That seat is currently Fong Lim, but Fong Lim has retracted into the Darwin area, with the creation of a new seat called Spillett covering parts of Palmerston, and the fringe areas between Palmerston and Darwin.

Antony Green has done his usual estimates of the partisan impact of the changes.

1

Draft boundaries released for NT redistribution

Amongst many other redistributions, the Northern Territory is redrawing the boundaries of the 25 electorates for the territory’s Legislative Assembly.

The redistribution map was released yesterday. I’m working on my map of the new electorates, and should have it finished by Monday.

In short, the town of Alice Springs has lost one of its three seats to the Darwin area, with a new seat created in the Palmerston area on the fringe of Darwin.

Antony Green has produced a good summary of the boundary change proposal.

18

Federal redistribution update

The Australian Electoral Commission is currently undertaking federal redistributions in New South Wales (which is losing one seat), Western Australia (which is gaining one seat) and the ACT (which should see minor changes on the border between the two seats.

Since I last wrote about these redistributions, we have seen two rounds of submissions in New South Wales and Western Australia, with a variety of individuals and groups, including political parties, putting in ‘suggestions’ and then a second opportunity for individuals and groups to make ‘comments on suggestions’.

I’ll only briefly cover the ACT, where the process is at a slightly earlier stage. With only two divisions, and with the southern division of Canberra under quota and the northern division of Fraser over quota, you would expect a few suburbs at the southern edge of northern Canberra to be transferred, but the process is relatively simple. In fact, no political party bothered to put in any suggestions.

In the case of Western Australia, I’ll keep my summary simple, and refer to WA resident William Bowe’s summary at Poll Bludger.

In short, both major parties agree on creating a new division out of parts of Hasluck in south-eastern Perth. Labor recommends calling the division ‘Tonkin’, and the Liberal Party recommends ‘Court’, both using the names of deceased former WA premiers who belonged to those respective parties. The WA Greens  proposes naming the sixteenth division ‘Vallentine’ after former senator Jo Vallentine, who was elected for the Nuclear Disarmament Party, became an independent then helped form the WA Greens. Vallentine would be a strong candidate for a seat name, except for the fact that AEC guidelines recommend that divisions be named after deceased persons, and Vallentine is very much alive. These guidelines can be ignored, so the option is still a possibility.

I wanted to focus most of my writing on New South Wales, the largest state with the most complex electoral boundaries. I’ve waited until after the second round of submissions were released last week. In this post, I’ll run through some interesting points in the map where the parties have disagreed on their approach.

This blog post is quite lengthy, and runs through five key parts of the state, and what each of the parties has proposed. I will return to these three redistributions (along with the state redistribution in Western Australia and the Brisbane City Council ward redistribution) when the draft boundaries are released.

Read the rest of this entry »

9

NSW Nationals want smaller seats – how?

Last month, Nationals MLC Ben Franklin announced that he would seek a parliamentary inquiry into the size of the western NSW electorates of Barwon and Murray, which cover a majority of the New South Wales land mass. Today, according to a tweet from the party’s account, the NSW Nationals passed a motion calling for smaller electorates in regional NSW.

It’s true that these electorates are huge, and are a challenge to represent, but this simply reflects the low populations living in these areas. While there are some variations in electoral boundaries which could make Barwon at the least slightly smaller, any legislative changes would likely require increasing the population contained within seats in Sydney and along the coast, unless the Nationals are considering a proposal to increase the size of the Legislative Assembly.

The proposal also ignores the fact that the Nationals actually benefit from our electoral system. In 2015, the Nationals polled about the same as the Greens, but won 17 seats to the Greens’ 3, due to their vote being concentrated in particular parts of the state.

Franklin ignores all the other conditions that can make it harder to represent an electorate, such as having a large number of residents who don’t speak English, many residents with problems needing support from their local MP, such as public housing issues. It’s a lot easier to measure the landmass a seat covers, but it doesn’t mean it is the only problem faced by MPs in representing their electorate. Yet we don’t discuss weighting electoral power based on any other type of disadvantage – it’s one person, one vote.

There is a long and ugly history in Australia of electoral laws being used to increase the voting power of rural voters at the expense of urban voters – in effect MPs represented land, not just people. In New South Wales at a state level, and in most other jurisdictions, different quotas were set in rural and urban areas, meaning that there were much smaller numbers of voters in a rural seat than in an urban seat. Read the rest of this entry »

7

NSW redistribution – updated figures

Last year, I wrote up an analysis of the prospects for the current redistribution of federal electorates in NSW.

In late April, the final population data, provided to well below the suburb level, was released. In addition to updated population figures as of the end of 2014, the data also includes estimates of the population in each area as of August 2019.

When drawing the electoral boundaries, the 2019 projections are actually more critical. The law requires all seats to fall within 10% of the average as of the current day (the 2014 data), but fall within only 3.5% of the average as of the end of the projection period (2019).

Last year, I explained how the region covering the Hunter, the Central Coast and the North Coast was well under-quota, and I expected that the seat of Hunter would be broken up, effectively seeing western NSW lose half a seat and the Hunter lose half a seat.

However the latest data reveals that the proportion of the NSW population living in this northern part of the state is expected to decline even further. The four seats with the biggest drop in their quota between 2014 and 2019 are the four north coast seats of Cowper, Lyne, Page and Richmond. This doesn’t mean that these seats are shrinking – but they are growing well below the statewide average.

When you add up all of the seats in northern NSW, including New England, the Hunter, the Central Coast and the North Coast, this entire region (which currently has 12 seats) only has enough population in 2019 for 11.09 quotas. This means that, after transferring a small part of either Hunter or New England to a seat further west, this entire area would be under quota by a whole seat’s worth of population, which means a seat somewhere in the area. I expect this seat to most likely be Lyne, which is at risk of being pushed so far south by its neighbours to the north that it loses its main centre of Port Macquarie.

At the other end of the spectrum, the inner-city seats of Wentworth and Sydney will continue to outpace the statewide population growth, and by 2019 between them they will be 0.18 quotas over the target. This fast growth should pull Grayndler to the east. The marginal seat of Reid is also almost 0.07 quotas over the target, and will likely be pulled east by the inner-city growth, substantially changing the make-up of the seat in ways I don’t yet understand.

The deadline for submissions is May 22, and I’d expect to see the draft boundaries from the Electoral Commission some time in July.

There are also currently redistributions pending for federal boundaries in the ACT and Western Australia. While ACT should be relatively simple, in WA they are gaining a 16th seat so there will be substantial change there too, but I haven’t been following it as closely. We’re also undergoing a state electorate redistribution in Western Australia, and we’ve already seen draft boundaries released for the new ACT Legislative Assembly electorates. When the drafts are released I will produce maps for each of these redistributions.

One other thing: What happens if a double dissolution is called before the redistribution is concluded? If a state is undergoing a redistribution but is not changing its number of seats, nothing happens. That’s the case in the ACT, and would have been last time in Victoria and South Australia.

But if a state is increasing its number of seats (as in WA) or reducing its number of seats (as in NSW), a ‘mini-redistribution’ is conducted, which will ensure each state has the right number of seats, but will also result in disproportionate seat sizes.

In New South Wales, the two contiguous seats with the lowest enrolment, which I believe are Shortland and Newcastle in the Hunter region, would be merged. Correction: Shane Easson in comments points out that the two smallest seats are actually Farrer and Riverina, which are both Nationals seats.

In Western Australia, the two contiguous seats with the highest enrolment, which I believe are Canning and Pearce on the fringe of Perth, will be split into three seats.

Since Newcastle and Shortland are both safe Labor seats and Canning and Pearce are both safe Liberal seats, this would have a net +2 effect for the Coalition without a vote being cast.

5

Redrawn ACT electoral boundaries released

Earlier this week, while most of us were distracted by the New South Wales election results, the ACT Electoral Commission released draft boundaries for the next election.

Electoral boundaries are reviewed after every election, but most changes have been minor since the ACT’s electorates were still used at the 1995 election.

In 2014, the ACT Legislative Assembly voted to expand the Assembly from 17 members to 25 members, and as part of that the existing three electorates (one electing seven and two electing five) will be replaced by five equally-sized electorates.

These boundaries are similar to most predictions.

The Belconnen-based seat of Ginninderra and the Tuggeranong-based seat of Brindabella have largely remained intact, simply shrinking to cover a smaller area.

Ginninderra lost all of its Gungahlin suburbs and a few Belconnen suburbs to a new Gungahlin-based seat of Yerrabi, and Brindabella has lost its northern suburbs to the Woden Valley-based seat of Murrumbidgee.

The central electorate of Molonglo currently covers a majority of both Gungahlin and Woden Valley, along with the entirety of the inner north and the inner south.

Gungahlin and Woden Valley have been lost to the new seats of Yerrabi and Murrumbidgee effectively, while the remainder of Molonglo has been renamed Kurrajong.

On these new boundaries, the five main centres of Canberra each now have their own electorate:

  • Central Canberra – Kurrajong
  • Belconnen – Ginninderra
  • Gungahlin – Yerrabi
  • Tuggeranong – Brindabella
  • Woden Valley – Murrumbidgee

You can click on each electorate on the above map to see my estimates of the vote for each party on the new boundaries. You can download the map from the Tally Room maps page.

Electorate Labor Liberal Greens Motorist Bullet Train Others
Brindabella 2.11 2.87 0.42 0.25 0.21 0.14
Ginninderra 2.46 1.91 0.64 0.43 0.21 0.35
Kurrajong 2.42 1.98 1.03 0.10 0.33 0.15
Murrumbidgee 2.41 2.46 0.62 0.15 0.23 0.13
Yerrabi 2.27 2.45 0.51 0.32 0.22 0.23

On these figures, Labor would win ten seats, Liberal eleven, and the Greens one, with the remaining seats undecided.

In order for a party to win a majority, they would need to win three seats in at least three electorates, which either side could manage with a small swing.

Elsewhere: Antony Green crunched the numbers earlier this week.

1

Brisbane City – redrawing the wards

briswardsThe City of Brisbane is unlike any other council in Australia. With a population of over one million people, the council is much larger than metropolitan councils in other Australian cities.

The election for Lord Mayor of Brisbane is the largest single-member election in Australia, with over 550,000 people voting in the 2012 election. This is much more than in a federal electorate. The council consists of 26 councillors, each elected from their own ward. Those 26 wards are also quite large – almost as large as Queensland state seats.

Considering all this, elections for the City of Brisbane are more like a small state election than any other local council election around Australia. With this in mind, I’m planning to cover the March 2016 Brisbane election in the same way I have done for recent state elections, with a guide for each ward.

In the meantime, the Electoral Commission of Queensland is currently undertaking a redistribution of Brisbane’s wards for the 2016 and 2020 elections. The last redistribution took place before the 2008 election, and the current wards have been used for two elections.

In this post, I’m looking at what changes may need to be made to the existing ward boundaries.

At the last redistribution before the 2008 election, the ward of Grange was abolished in the north of Brisbane, and was effectively replaced by a southern ward. In exchange, the seat of Walter Taylor lost the one third of its territory on the southern side of the river. This effectively cut the number of wards north of the river from 12.7 to 12. It seems likely that some of these trends will be reversed in this redistribution.

The ECQ has released enrolment figures for each ward as of 2014, as well as projects for 2016 and 2018. All wards must be within 10% of the quota in 2014, and it’s a good idea to also try and draw boundaries that keep wards within that quota by 2018.

For my analysis I have split Brisbane into four quarters. There are twelve wards north of the river and fourteen south of the river. For the wards south of the river, I have split them into two quarters of seven wards each. The south-east covers The Gabba ward in South Brisbane and all those wards to the east of the M3, while the south-west covers the remaining wards south of the river.

The north-west covers Central ward (covering the Brisbane CBD) and wards further west covering areas like Indooroopilly, Ashgrove and Moggill. The north-east covers areas to the north and east of the CBD.

Region Enrolment Wards 2014 variation 2016 variation 2018 variation
North-East 167,584 6 20.37 24.53 28.23
North-West 162,855 6 2.86 6.11 3.07
South-East 188,911 7 -0.68 -3.67 0.53
South-West 183,002 7 -22.55 -26.97 -31.83

Overall, the north-west and south-east are close to quota. There are some seats over quota – Central is 10.2% over quota already, and The Gabba is expected to be more than 10% over quota by 2018 – but theoretically these issues could be resolved by minor changes between neighbouring wards rather than major structural changes to the whole city.

However the north-east is well over quota and the south-west is well under quota. By 2018, the north-east will have enough extra voters for 28% of an extra ward. By 2018, the south-west’s population will fall 31.8% short of justifying a seventh ward.

In order to resolve these differences, wards will need to shift north from the south-west to the north-east. Since these two regions don’t border each other, it will require significant changes to some wards in one of the regions where the population is on quota.

In particular, it will be necessary for one of the wards to cross the river. At the moment, there is no ward crossing the river. In the past, the Walter Taylor ward (covering the Indooroopilly area) has included areas on the south side of Brisbane, and the Indooroopilly state seat is currently the only Brisbane seat to cross the river. Because of this, it seems likely that a ward will cross the river in this area.

So the most likely trend seems to be:

  • Seats in the south-east undergo minor changes, with the Gabba shrinking and giving territory to Holland Park, and Holland Park and three of its neighbours all expanding slightly to absorb the growth from the Gabba. The surplus from Doboy will bring Wynnum-Manly up to quota relatively simply.
  • In the south-west, Parkinson will shrink, but all of its neighbours will have to grow, in particular Jamboree and Macgregor. This will require one of these wards, probably Tennyson, to jump the river and take in about 8000 voters.
  • The wards of Walter Taylor, The Gap and Toowong all will require substantial more population, which will probably result in significant redrawing of their borders and a general shift to the north-east. This will include taking in substantial parts of Central ward, which is well over quota.
  • Bracken Ridge will likely give some of its territory to Deagon to bring them both into quota, and McDowall will take population from Marchant to bring them into quota. No changes are necessary to Northgate.
  • Hamilton is due to be way over quota, and with Northgate not needing changes, most of this population growth will need to be discharged into Central ward. With Central giving up some of its territory to Toowong, this will result in Central shifting towards the north-east.

You can find out more about the redistribution at the ECQ website, and submissions close on December 22.

11

ACT redistribution – wanna play?

The ACT Electoral Commission has now started the process of drawing new electoral boundaries for the 2016 ACT election, and I have previously written about this impending redistribution.

This redistribution is particularly interesting because the number of seats in the ACT Legislative Assembly is increasing from 17 to 25, which will require a wholescale redrawing of the three existing electorates into five equal-sized electorates.

As part of the redistribution, the Electoral Commission has now released enrolment figures for each suburb in Canberra, and a nifty tool that allows members of the public to allocate suburbs to electorates to create your own electoral map, and then officially submit it directly to the commission.

The main point of interest for me is that the enrolment for Belconnen and Gungahlin is collectively large enough to justify exactly two electorates. This should mean that the Gungahlin seat will not have to include parts of the inner north of Canberra.

While there is still room for different boundaries, it seems reasonably clear where the seats will be drawn. There will be a seat entirely within Belconnen, and a second seat covering Gungahlin and the remaining suburbs of Belconnen. A third seat will pretty much just cover the inner north and the inner south, and the south of Canberra will be split into two seats – probably one focused on Tuggeranong and another focused on Woden.

Here is one scenario I have plotted out – what do you think?

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

9

A new seat of Whitlam?

With the recent death of former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, discussion has already started about the possibility of creating a federal electorate bearing his name. With a federal redistribution due for New South Wales in 2015, there appears to be a real possibility that an electorate bearing the name ‘Whitlam’ could be contested for the first time at the 2016 federal election.

Most Westminster parliamentary systems use geographic descriptors to name their electorates. Australian state electorates in most cases take the name of a key suburb in their electorate, and names tend to change often as suburbs shift between seats. New Zealand electorates follow a similar model. Constituencies in the United Kingdom and Canada also use geographic names, but often pair two or more geographic names together if a seat has more than one major centre (eg. Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission in Canada, or Houghton and Sunderland South in the UK).

Australian federal electorates have followed a different naming convention, often using names that are not tied to a particular geographic area and can maintain their ‘identity’ even while some of the suburbs within the seat may change. A majority of federal electorates are named after prominent Australians. There are a number of electorates that still carry the names of geographic areas, but most of these are holdovers from an earlier era, and in most cases are named after major centres (eg. Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Fremantle).

The Australian Electoral Commission issues guidelines for naming divisions, which indicates a preference for naming new divisions after prominent deceased Australians, and in particular suggests naming seats after Prime Ministers. It also looks to protect seats with indigenous names, or with names that date to the first federal Parliament in 1901, and discourages the use of geographic names or duplicating the name of a state electorate.

There is a federal division carrying the surname of every Prime Minister to serve before Gough Whitlam (it’s unclear to me whether the seat of Cook in southern Sydney is solely named for Captain James Cook, or also for former Liberal prime minister Joseph Cook, but there is a seat with the name).

There has been wide variation in how quickly the AEC has acted to create a seat named after a Prime Minister following their death.

  • John Gorton – died 2002, seat of Burke renamed Gorton for 2004 election. Gorton is in the outer western suburbs of Melbourne, whereas John Gorton represented Higgins in the eastern suburbs.
  • William McMahon – died 1988, seat of Prospect renamed McMahon for 2010 election. McMahon is in the western suburbs of Sydney, whereas William McMahon represented Lowe in the inner west. At the 2009 redistribution, the seat of Lowe was renamed Reid, with the seat of Reid effectively abolished.
  • Frank Forde – died 1983, new seat of Forde created in 1984 when Queensland was given five additional electorates. Forde covers the southern fringe of Brisbane around the Logan area, whereas Frank Forde represented Capricornia in central Queensland.
  • John McEwen – died 1980, new seat of McEwen created in 1984 when Victoria was given five additional electorates. McEwen covers rural areas to the north of Melbourne, while John McEwen represented Murray and Indi, both in northern Victoria.
  • Robert Menzies – died 1978, new seat of Menzies created in 1984. Menzies covers parts of Eastern Melbourne, and is adjacent to Robert Menzies’ former seat of Kooyong.
  • Arthur Fadden – died 1973, new seat of Fadden created in 1977. Fadden was first drawn to cover southern Brisbane, but now covers northern parts of the Gold Coast. Arthur Fadden first represented the Darling Downs in southern rural Queensland, and then McPherson, which at the time covered the southern Gold Coast and large areas further west but has since contracted into the Gold Coast.
  • Harold Holt – presumed dead 1967, new seat of Holt created in 1969. Holt is on the south-eastern fringe of Melbourne, whereas Harold Holt represented Higgins in the inner east of Melbourne.

Looking at the five most recent examples, we see some broad trends. Firstly, most Prime Ministers tend to get seats named after them not long after they died – it was less than five years in five out of seven cases. In the case of Robert Menzies, the seat was created six years after his death. Billy McMahon’s case is the only exception – a seat was not created for 21 years after his death.

In the case of the three Prime Ministers who died in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was relatively easy for the Electoral Commission to name seats after them in the 1984 redistribution, which was triggered by the addition of over twenty new seats to the House of Representatives. A large number of prominent Australians were honoured with electorate names, including three Prime Ministers (the longest-serving PM, and two of the shortest-serving PMs).

In the two most recent cases, seats were renamed, rather than a new seat being created. This is likely to be the same in the case of Whitlam.

There is also a trend in terms of what areas are graced with the name of a former Prime Minister. In all cases, the former Prime Minister’s seat lies in the state they represented in the Parliament, but often does not cover the same area. The seats of Menzies, McEwen and Fadden cover roughly similar areas. McMahon is a little bit further away, while Holt, Forde and Gorton cover wildly different areas. You can also see this with earlier Prime Ministers – Edmund Barton represented the Hunter region, but his seat lies in southern Sydney. Billy Hughes represented central Sydney, northern Sydney and briefly Bendigo, but his seat covers parts of south-western Sydney and the Sutherland Shire.

The AEC has also never paid any consideration to giving Prime Ministers’ names to seats that their party now represents – many seats named after Prime Ministers are very safe seats for the opposing party.

So what are the options for a seat named ‘Whitlam’? I think it’s safe to assume that the seat will lie in New South Wales, where Whitlam lived much of his life and where he served as an MP. Conveniently, New South Wales is due for a redistribution next year, due to the NSW population not keeping up with the rest of the country, which will necessitate a reduction of NSW seats in the Parliament from 48 to 47. Unfortunately there is no prospect of New South Wales gaining additional seats in the near future, so a new seat of Whitlam will have to be a new name for an existing seat.

WSseats-WhitlamI also think the best option for a seat of Whitlam lies in Western Sydney, which he represented in Parliament and is particularly seen as connected to the Whitlam legacy. There are a large number of seats in Western Sydney, many of which have good reasons why the AEC would not want to replace the existing name with ‘Whitlam':

  • Werriwa – the seat Gough Whitlam represented from 1952 to 1978. The seat has an indigenous name, and is an original Federation electorate, which may see it saved. On the other hand, ‘Werriwa’ is a reference to Lake George in southern NSW, which was contained in the electorate in 1901. It bears little relevance to the south-western Sydney area that the seat now covers, and Whitlam may make more sense as a seat name.
  • Fowler – immediately north of Werriwa, covering much of the areas that lay in Werriwa when Whitlam sat in Parliament. The seat is named after Lilian Fowler, who was the first female Mayor in Australia when she served as Mayor of Newtown, and then went on to sit as a Lang Labor MP in the NSW state Parliament in the late 1940s. There are very few seats named after women, but she is much less prominent a figure than Gough Whitlam.
  • Hughes – also substantially overlaps with the area Gough Whitlam represented, but is already named after a Prime Minister.
  • McMahon – partially overlaps withthe area Gough Whitlam represented, but is already named after a Prime Minister.
  • Blaxland – Whitlam did not represent this area, but was still a significant beneficiary of the Whitlam legacy. The current name can be confusing, considering the name of the town of Blaxland in the Blue Mountains – quite a long way away from the electorate. It is also worth bearing in mind that this seat could eventually be an appropriate seat to be renamed after Paul Keating when that time comes.
  • Parramatta – An original electorate, but as a geographic name that is also used for the City Council and state electorate (both of which have different boundaries) it can be quite confusing. Previous electoral redistributions have also brought Parramatta close to shifting out of the Parramatta CBD, so a more flexible name may make life easier for the boundary commissioners.
  • Chifley – named after a Prime Minister, and not an area that Whitlam represented.
  • Greenway – named after colonial architect Francis Greenway.
  • Lindsay – named after Australian artist Norman Lindsay.

There are clearly a number of options, none of them perfect, and I expect we will see a variety of submissions by political parties and others during the redistribution process.

To my mind, I think the most likely seats to be renamed are Parramatta or Werriwa. They are the only seats in the region not to be named after a prominent Australian, and while they are both Federation names, their geographic descriptions are either constraining (in the case of Parramatta) or irrelevant (in the case of Werriwa).

I also think there is an outside chance that the commissioners could rename Fowler, Lindsay or Greenway, as those seats are not already named after Prime Ministers.

What do you think?

95

Werriwa – a century of shifting boundaries

Werriwa boundaries, 1900 redistribution. Click to enlarge.

Werriwa boundaries, 1900 redistribution. Click to enlarge.

Gough Whitlam represented the federal electorate of Werriwa from a 1952 by-election until his resignation in 1978. The electorate has a long history of being held by Labor, ever since the 1930s. From 1934 until 2005, the seat was only held by four MPs, three of whom rose to a high rank in the federal ALP. Gough Whitlam from 1952 to 1978, and then John Kerin from 1978 to 1994 and Mark Latham from 1994 to 2005. Kerin served as Treasurer in the Hawke government, and Latham led the ALP to the 2004 election. From 1954 to 2005, every change of MP in Werriwa took place at a by-election.

The 2005 by-election was won by Chris Hayes, who held the seat until 2010. In 2010, he shifted to the seat of Fowler, immediately north of Werriwa, and Laurie Ferguson, who had represented Reid since 1990, took over Werriwa.

I have a particular personal interest in Werriwa. I lived in the electorate for most of my life until 2010, and ran in the electorate in 2004 and at the 2005 by-election.

Werriwa is a particularly fascinating seat, and that’s what I want to cover today.

Werriwa has existed continuously as a federal electorate since 1901, but the seat covers a very different area today to its original territory in 1901. Werriwa originally covered a large part of southern New South Wales, including Lake George (which gives the seat its name) and what is now the northern suburbs of Canberra.

With the use of historical maps, I’m going to trace how Werriwa shifted regions gradually over time, moving from a southern NSW rural electorate to a suburban seat in south-western Sydney.

Read the rest of this entry »