Redistribution Archive

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.

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ACT redistribution – 17 to 25

While I was away in the US, the ACT Legislative Assembly officially voted to increase the number of seats in the Assembly from 17 to 25.

The Assembly is currently elected from three electorates: one electing seven MLAs, and the other two electing five MLAs each.

The new Assembly will be elected from five equal-sized electorates, each electing five MLAs.

This will require the three existing electorates to effectively be redrawn out of existence, with the two five-member electorates shrinking to cover a smaller area, and the middle electorate of Molonglo being broken apart.

In March, I analysed the possible electoral boundaries that could be drawn with the ACT’s current population, and you can read that here.

Not a great amount has changed since then.

The ACT’s population is contained within seven ‘districts':

  • Belconnen
  • Gungahlin
  • North Canberra (the ‘inner north’)
  • South Canberra (the ‘inner south’)
  • Tuggeranong
  • Weston Creek
  • Woden Valley

The ACT is currently developing an eighth district named ‘Molonglo’ but it does not yet contain a substantial population.

Using the population estimates for each suburb from the last redistribution in 2008, you can get a good sense of the options. Bear in mind that each electorate will need to have approximately 20% of the ACT population within it. The current legislation allows electorates to diverge from the average by up to 10% at the time of the redistribution, and by up to 5% of the estimated population at the time of the next election.

District Enrolment as of Jan 2011 Projected enrolment as of Oct 2012
Belconnen 26.10 25.65
Gungahlin 10.74 12.00
North Canberra 13.00 13.11
South Canberra 7.55 7.58
Tuggeranong 25.59 25.25
Weston Creek 6.96 6.52
Woden Valley 9.74 9.62
Other 0.31 0.28

Belconnen is well over 20% of the population, so there will be an electorate based mostly if not entirely within Belconnen. The combined population of Belconnen and Gungahlin is close to, but not quite, 40% of ACT enrolment. It is possible this population will continue growing, and will allow for two complete electorates in the Gungahlin-Belconnen area, or the Gungahlin-based electorate may need to take in a small part of North Canberra.

North Canberra and South Canberra together make up between 20% and 21% of the total ACT enrolment. There will definitely be an electorate that covers most of this area – if it fits within the quota, and the northern electorates don’t need to extend into the inner north, it would make sense to have a single electorate covering all of the inner north and inner south.

Tuggeranong in the south, like Belconnen, makes up more than 20% of the population, so it seems likely that there will be a Tuggeranong electorate.

The combined Tuggeranong-Weston-Woden area make up just over 40% of the population, so there will almost certainly be an electorate covering the remainder of Tuggeranong, as well as most of Weston Creek and Woden Valley. The precise population figures will determine if it will be possible to contain this entire region into two electorates, or if the inner north-inner south seat will have to spill over into the area.

There will be some room for negotiation and discussion over the detailed boundaries – the population thresholds will allow those making submissions to choose different ways to divide the population, and there will be disagreement about which electorates should be drawn over-population and under-population.

In addition, there will be flexibility in terms of which suburbs of Belconnen and Tuggeranong are contained in the electorates contained entirely within those districts, and which suburbs are combined with the neighbouring districts.

This redistribution is scheduled to commence in October 2014, according to Elections ACT.

WA redistribution – what could happen?

In 2015, New South Wales and Western Australia will both undergo redistributions to redraw federal electoral boundaries due to New South Wales losing its 48th seat and Western Australia gaining its 16th seat. Yesterday I looked at enrolment numbers in NSW seats, and how that redistribution might play out.

In Western Australia, boundaries will be drawn to create a sixteenth electorate. Each electorate will need to be within 10% of the quota, based on 2015 population, and within 3.5% of a quota based on projected population in three and a half years.

Based on April population, all but one of Western Australia’s existing seats is over quota, with Canning over quota by 14%.

The enormous northern electorate of Durack is just under quota, and will probably require no change.

Population growth has been greatest in the electorates of Brand, Canning and Pearce, as well as Fremantle. These four seats are all at least 10% over quota.

Overall, the three regional seats of Durack, O’Connor and Forrest are 9% over quota.

The five electorates south of the river are 44% over quota, while the six electorates north of the river are 39% over quota. The one seat to the east of the river, Hasluck, is 8% over quota.

The most likely outcome will see seats across Perth contracting in size, and effectively the seat of Hasluck will be broken in half, into two eastern seats, one in the north and one in the south, while there will be minimal changes in regional WA.

NSW redistribution – what could happen?

Every three years, approximately one year after the federal election, Australia’s population is assessed, and each state and territory is given a set number of seats to be filled in the next Parliament, based on population. When the number of seats allocated to a state changes, a redistribution is immediately triggered to draw up new electoral boundaries.

This time around, population shifts have guaranteed that New South Wales will lose its 48th seat, and Western Australia will gain a 16th seat. It now appears that the ACT’s population will not be sufficient to give them a third seat, after it first appeared to be possible in late 2013.

These redistributions will by necessity cause significant changes to borders, in order to create a whole new seat in WA and squeeze NSW’s populations into 47 seats.

Electorates will need to be drawn to be within two quotas. A quota is drawn up as the average population per electorate as of the time of the redistribution, and another one which is the average projected population of each new electorate as of 3.5 years after the conclusion of the redistribution. These quotas will be 1/47th of the NSW population, and 1/16th of the WA population.

Below the fold, I’ve posted my analysis of the likely trends in the NSW redistribution, and have produced an interactive map showing the population quotas in each electorate.

In short, I think the seat most likely to be abolished is Hunter, which will have significant knock-on effects in the Hunter region and in western NSW. Seats in inner Sydney will shift east, while seats throughout Western Sydney will expand in size in southwestern direction, shifting Werriwa and Macarthur further into the fringe of Sydney.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a similar analysis of the prospects in Western Australia.

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NZ electorate map finalised

In the lead-up to the New Zealand election in September, the final map of electoral boundaries was released last Thursday. The changes are relatively minor in most seats, although a large number of electorates saw some change in comparison to the draft boundaries.

Back in October I posted an extensive analysis of the draft boundaries. I won’t repeat all of the same analysis, but I have updated the data to reflect the final version.

You can downloaded the following updated files:

And following the fold I have posted my estimated margins of the new electorates.

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NZ redistribution – full analysis of draft boundaries

Last Thursday, the first round of draft boundaries for the next New Zealand election was released to the public.

After extensive work, I have now produced a Google Earth map of the boundaries, as well as estimates of the vote for each party in the party vote and candidate vote in each of the electorates.

In short, no changes were made to the seven Maori electorates (which will not feature much in this analysis), as well as to twenty of the 63 general electorates.

The other 43 general electorates have been redrawn into 44 new electorates. One electorate (Waitakere, on the western fringe of Auckland) has been abolished, with two new  electorates (Upper Harbour and Kelston) created in western Auckland. Western and northern Auckland has seen the greatest changes, with the rest of the country seeing relatively minor changes.

In terms of the impact on parties, the Nationals have lost Waitakere and gained Upper Harbour, for no net change, and Labour has gained the seat of Kelston, resulting in Labour having one more seat than on current boundaries.

In Christchurch, the seat of Christchurch Central has switched from National to Labour, and the seat of Port Hills has switched from Labour to National, for no net change.

You can download the Google Earth map here. You can also download the map, along with the 2008-2011 parliamentary map and maps of local council areas and regions, at the Maps page.

Click through below for a Fusion Table with all of the results, more maps and more data.

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Victorian state maps completed

victoria banner2Following on from the conclusion of the Victorian state redistribution in October, I have now completed the Victorian state map for Google Earth, covering the 2014 election.

Maps have been created for both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council, and you can download them here:

You can download more maps from the Maps page.

Antony Green has produced estimated margins for the eighty-eight Legislative Assembly districts, as well as vote estimates for the redistributed Legislative Council regions.

New Zealand electorate review prospects

christchurch varianceIn New Zealand, the Census is usually conducted once every five years. The last Census was due in 2011, but due to the Canterbury earthquakes they were postponed until early 2013.

Following the Census, the country has undergone the Māori Electoral Option, where Māori voters were given the option to choose whether they vote on the Maori roll or the general roll.

Last week, the latest statistics were released showing the number of people enrolled in each electorate following the Census and the Māori Electoral Option.

The statistics show dramatic shifts in the Christchurch area, and a booming population in Auckland, while overall the New Zealand population grew only slightly.

The increasing population in Auckland will require a new seat to be created somewhere in the Auckland area, while post-earthquakes shifts in the Christchurch population will require the seats in central Christchurch to stretch further out into the suburbs to capture the large boosts in population in nearby seats.

Read on for more information, including statistics and a map with clickable information about each electorate.

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New Zealand election maps updated

Moving on from the Australian federal election, I have gone through my New Zealand election map and clarified the boundaries to ensure they are as accurate as possible.

While doing this, I have produced time-series maps for the general electorates and the Māori electorates. Each file includes the national map for both the candidate and party vote at the 2008 and 2011 elections, which you can toggle.

The electoral boundary review for the 2014-2017 elections will announce the number of general and Māori electorates, with the electorates to be redrawn over the next few months. The draft boundaries will be released in November, with the final maps released in April.

Under New Zealand law, the South Island is guaranteed 16 general electorates. A quota is struck as the general electoral population of South Island divided by 16, which is used to determine the number of Māori electorates and the number of general North Island electorates.

You can read more about the redistribution process here.

Victorian redistribution draft boundaries map finished

Following on from the completion of the NSW draft boundaries map a fortnight ago, I have now finished the Google Earth maps of the new draft boundaries for the Victorian state redistribution.

Electoral maps have been posted for the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. I’ve also updated the time-series map, which can be toggled to show the results for the 2002, 2006 and 2010 elections, to include the 2014 draft boundaries.

vicredist banner

The draft boundaries have seen significant changes to electoral boundaries in northern and western Victoria. One seat was abolished in Eastern Metropolitan, with a second seat north of the river (Ivanhoe) shifted into the East Metro upper house region.

A seat was also abolished in Northern Victoria, with Yan Yean shifted from North Metro upper house region to make up for the abolition.

Two Western Metropolitan region seats were transferred into Northern Metropolitan region, with two new electorates created to make up the difference.

Numerous other seats were renamed or redrawn in different ways, but the two seats created in the west of the city, and the two seats abolished in the east of the city and in the north of the state, were the major shifts.

When you look at the statistics, it appears the Electoral Boundaries Commission has erred on the side of making less changes.

Region 2013 quotas 2018 quotas
Eastern Metropolitan 11.0641 10.6346
Eastern Victoria 11.0950 11.2220
Northern Metropolitan 10.8402 11.3532
Northern Victoria 11.0579 11.1974
South-Eastern Metropolitan 10.9054 10.6503
Southern Metropolitan 10.7620 10.3533
Western Metropolitan 11.1873 11.4729
Western Victoria 11.0881 11.1164

The Southern Metro and South East Metro regions have been drawn with substantially less than 11 quotas, despite a projected decline up to the 2018 election. Southern Metro in particular has been drawn with 10.76 quotas in 2013, and projected to cover only 10.35 quotas in 2018.

The Eastern and South Eastern regions are also projected to be more than one third of a quota short of eleven full quotas by 2018. Adding up these three regions on the south side of the river, and you are 1.36 quotas short of the full 33 quotas in 2018.

Meanwhile, Eastern Victoria, Northern Victoria, Western Victoria and Western Metro have been drawn with more than 11 quotas despite projected growth over the next five years. These four regions are already 0.43 quotas over the average, and this is projected to increase to over a full quota by 2018.

The Commissioners have sensibly drawn North Metro with less than a full 11 quotas. North Metro is projected to grow by over 40% of a quota by 2018.

Overall, the Victorian Commissioners have gone for an opposite approach to the NSW Commissioners – minimising changes at the cost of likely creating substantial variations from the average by the 2018 election.