Redistribution Archive

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Queensland election guide – redistribution summary

Queensland has recently undergone a redistribution of state electoral boundaries, the first in almost a decade. The existing boundaries were used at three elections: 2009, 2012 and 2015.

The number of seats was increased from 89 to 93. This resulted in the creation of five new electorates, with two seats merged.

The inner-city electorates of Indooroopilly and Mount Coot-tha were merged into the new seat of Maiwar. Maiwar is a marginal LNP seat, with a margin of 3%.

Five new seats were created:

  • Bancroft – Labor seat on the northern fringe of Brisbane, with an 8.3% margin.
  • Bonney – marginal LNP seat on the Gold Coast, with a 2.2% margin.
  • Jordan – safe Labor seat at the eastern edge of Ipswich, with a 13.5% margin.
  • MacAlister – Labor seat in the north-east of Logan, with a 6.4% margin.
  • Ninderry – LNP seat on the Sunshine Coast, with a 6.9% margin.

Eleven other electorates have changed their name.

Former name New name
Ashgrove Cooper
Dalrymple Hill
Kallangur Kurwongbah
Indooroopilly Maiwar
Brisbane Central McConnel
Yeerongpilly Miller
Cleveland Oodgeroo
Beaudesert Scenic Rim
Albert Theodore
Sunnybank Toohey
Mount Isa Traeger

The last Queensland state election produced a result of 44 Labor, 42 Liberal National, 2 Katter’s Australian Party and 1 independent.

Antony Green’s redistribution estimate (which I will discuss further below) produces a result of 48 Labor seats, 42 Liberal National seats, 2 Katter’s Australian Party and 1 independent. Two of those Labor seats are now held by independent MPs elected in 2015 as Labor candidates, and one of those LNP seats is now held by a One Nation MP, elected representing the LNP.

Notes on redistribution calculations

I have produced my own estimates of the impact of the redistribution on each electorate. I have produced my own estimates as part of the process of breaking each electorate into sub-areas.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Tasmanian federal redistribution – let’s try that again

Tasmania is currently undergoing a redistribution of its federal boundaries – the second of six federal redistributions due during this parliamentary term. The boundaries will also apply to Tasmanian state lower house elections, but probably not until the 2022 state election.

The draft boundaries were released earlier this year, and they saw a few significant changes. The seat of Bass, which covers most of the Launceston area, retracted in to just cover areas surrounding the Tamar river, losing the north-eastern corner of the state. Lyons underwent changes in a number of areas.

It is standard practice for federal redistributions to go through two rounds of suggestions and comment, followed by the release of a draft map, then two more rounds of objection and comment, followed by the release of the final boundaries. This time, however, the AEC has chosen to open up another round of objections and comment, as the boundaries released today were significantly different to the first draft.

No changes were made to the boundaries of three of the five seats, but there were significant changes to the Bass/Lyons border. Bass regained the Dorset and Flinders council areas in the north-eastern corner of Tasmania, and lost the small part of the Meander Valley council area contained within the Launceston urban area. This area was contained in Bass at least since 2001.

At the other end of the state, the Hobart-area seat of Denison has been renamed Clark, after Andrew Inglis Clark: state Supreme Court justice, Attorney-General and one of the inventors of the Hare-Clark voting system. This followed a campaign to change the seat name, including from sitting MP Andrew Wilkie and his predecessor Duncan Kerr.

You can download the new boundary map here, or view the three versions of the boundary on the below map:

I’ve seen some commentary expressing frustration about the removal of the urban parts of the Meander valley from Bass, sticking them in an electorate which stretches to the edge of Hobart.

Unfortunately it isn’t possible for Bass to contain both the Meander Valley area and the Dorset/Flinders corner without pushing Bass over quota.

Based on projected 2021 enrolment figures, Bass must lie within 3.5% of the average. In real numbers, they must have between 74,289 and 79,677 projected enrolment. Bass is projected (as drawn) to have 75,653 voters.

There are three areas which have been moved between Bass and Lyons – the Meander Valley area on the south side of Launceston, the Dorset/Flinders corner of the state, and the West Tamar area which was moved from Lyons to Bass in the original draft and remains there. Each has between 5867 and 7828 voters as of 2021, and if all three were included in Bass it would be more populous than is permitted.

So the original Redistribution Committee decided to make Bass more of a Launceston-based electorate, moving the rural north-east into Lyons, and the augmented Commission has instead decided to make Bass follow local government areas, leaving part of the Launceston urban area in Lyons.

So now there is time for interested parties to argue the case. Theoretically they could also decide to completely reverse the Lyons-Bass border back to its previous boundaries, putting the West Tamar back into Lyons, but this is unlikely.

Area Current Projected
Bass second draft 74,467 75,653
Lyons second draft 75,508 78,313
Meander Valley (Bass to Lyons) 6,840 7,233
Dorset/Flinders (Bass to Lyons to Bass) 5,849 5,867
West Tamar (Lyons to Bass) 7,675 7,828
Minimum enrolment 67,513 74,289
Maximum enrolment 82,515 79,677
2

Various map updates

Following on from the recent publication of the final Queensland state electoral boundaries, I’ve updated Google Earth boundary maps for three other jurisdictions:

  • Tasmanian federal electorates – The draft boundaries were published on May 5. These boundaries will also cover Tasmanian state lower house elections, although it is unlikely to be finished in time for the 2018 state election.
  • Tasmanian upper house electorates – The final boundaries were published in May, and will first be used at the May 2018 election.
  • North Sydney ward boundaries – I had missed a change in North Sydney’s ward boundaries since the 2012 election. The council had cut its wards from four to three, which necessarily required a change in boundaries.

You can download a large number of past, current and future electoral boundaries as Google Earth maps from the maps page.

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Queensland state redistribution – final boundaries released

The redistribution of Queensland’s state electoral boundaries concluded last Friday, and I’ve now finished my map of the electorates for download. You can download the map to use in Google Earth here.

I’ve also updated my calculations of the margins in each seat, which are at the end of this post. I estimate that there are 47 Labor seats, 44 LNP seats, as well as one KAP seat and one independent seat. On my first draft, I estimated 48 Labor seats and 43 LNP seats – unfortunately I appear to have made an error calculating the margin in Pumicestone, which resulted in me predicting it was a very marginal Labor seat – I now think it’s a marginal LNP seat, despite no change in boundaries. I feel confident this is the right result, although it doesn’t make much difference when the seat is as marginal as Pumicestone is.

As part of my calculations I’ve assigned every polling place to a new seat, and split up the special votes between the new seats, and this will be used as the basis for my guide to the Queensland election, due later this year.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Queensland redistribution – first draft released

The first draft of Queensland’s new state electoral map was released this morning, after a broad outline was leaked last night.

The redistribution is the first in almost a decade, and the redistribution will see four additional seats created in the Assembly. The combination of these factors has meant that the changes are quite dramatic.

Five new seats have been created, while two inner-city seats have been merged.

At least three prominent MPs face a significantly tougher task in winning re-election. Labor minister Steven Miles and LNP frontbencher Scott Emerson represent neighbouring seats of Mount Coot-tha and Indooroopilly. The two seats have both been abolished and replaced by the seat of Maiwar – a seat with a margin of approximately 2.8% for the LNP. They now face the choice of a tough contest or looking for a safer seat elsewhere.

Shane Knuth, a member of Katter’s Australian Party, represents Dalrymple in north Queensland. That seat has been broken apart, with a majority of the seat going into the new seat of Hill – but only 60% of that seat is areas previously contained in Dalrymple.

There are eighteen seats, including Hill and Maiwar, where the incumbent MP currently represents less than 70% of their new seat’s population.

The five new seats are Bancroft, in northern Brisbane; Bonney, on the Gold Coast; Jordan, in the Ipswich area; Macalister on the Gold Coast-Logan boundary and Ninderry on the Sunshine Coast. Some would count Hill as a new seat, but I think it’s an obvious successor to Dalrymple.

Numerous seats have been renamed, with the Commission moving away from the norm where state electorates are named after localities. The Commission instead chose to name a dozen seats after distinguished Queenslanders, following the practice of the Australian Electoral Commission, who traditionally name seats after people. The range of individuals selected for this honour are more diverse than those with federal electorates named in their honour – less politicians, and a lot more women.

This map shows the old and new Queensland state boundaries – red represents the 2009-2015 boundaries, while green represents the draft boundaries released today. Below the map I’ve also posted my own estimates of the margin in each seat. I’m sure others will do more precise analysis, but I thought I should nail my colours to the mast and post my own estimates.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Map update – South Australia and Tasmanian upper house

I’ve recently completed two new maps for download and use: the (kind of) final boundaries for the 2018 South Australian state election, and draft boundaries for the Tasmanian upper house.

South Australia’s state redistribution was overshadowed by the federal election last year. A final set of boundaries was released late last year, with some significant changes to the draft boundaries in southern Adelaide, but these boundaries are stuck pending a lawsuit by the SA Labor Party. Both the first draft and final draft can be downloaded from the maps page, and the map is embedded here.

I’ve also completed the draft boundaries for the Tasmanian Legislative Council. The Tasmanian upper house consists of fifteen single-member electorates, but its members are elected in a very odd way: only 2-3 seats are elected each year, with members serving a six year term. Boundaries are redistributed roughly once a decade, with the sitting members assigned to finish their term representing a new seat.

There have been some major changes to the boundaries along the east coast of Tasmania. The three Launceston-area seats have remained largely the same, as have the four Hobart-area seats and the two rural seats to the west of Hobart. The west coast seat of Murchison has undergone minor changes.

The east coast seat of Apsley has been chopped up, while the seat of Rumney in the south-eastern corner of the state has been pulled in closer to Hobart, losing Sorell and the Tasman peninsula. A new seat of Prosser stretches halfway up the east coast from the Tasman peninsula to Swansea, while the remainder of Apsley has been moved into a new seat of McIntyre.

The seat of Western Tiers has been chopped up, with the north-western seats of Montgomery and Mersey expanding south and the south-western seat of Derwent expanding north. The remainder of Western Tiers has joined the remainder of Apsley as McIntyre, a strangely-shaped seat curving around Launceston, stretching from Cradle Mountain to Flinders Island.

I would expect the final boundaries for the Tasmanian upper house to be determined later this year, and the new boundaries will be used for the first time in 2018.

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SA state redistribution – draft boundary analysis

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-22-18-pmWhile we were all recovering from the federal election, South Australia was undergoing a redrawing of its state electoral map for the 2018 state election. The draft electoral map was released in mid-August, and I blogged about the underlying statistics driving the redistribution at the time.

It’s taken me some time to get back to this redistribution, what with the many territory elections, council elections and by-elections taking place following the federal election, but it’s now complete.

You can download the 2018 draft map here.

The last election produced a result of 23 Labor seats, 22 Liberal seats and two independents. One of those independents, Geoff Brock, sided with Labor to give them a governing majority, while the other independent, Bob Such, went on sick leave soon after the election and later died of cancer. During Such’s absence, former Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith resigned from the party to join Labor’s cabinet. Labor subsequently won the Fisher by-election, giving them a majority in the House of Assembly.

The Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission is required by law to consider the party-political impact of the redistribution, with the aim of producing a result which will give a majority of seats to the party that wins a majority of the two-party-preferred vote. Despite this requirement, Labor won a majority in 2010 despite a Liberal vote majority after preferences, and achieved government again despite losing the vote in 2014.

In line with their mandate, the EDBC has redrawn the boundaries to boost the Liberal position. Assuming no change from the 2014 election vote which gave the Liberal Party 53% after preferences, the new electorates would give the Liberal Party 24 seats and Labor 22. The last seat, Frome, is drawn as notionally Liberal but is held by an independent. Theoretically this should mean that the Liberal Party should be able to win a majority with no change in their vote (assuming they can win back Hamilton-Smith’s seat), although this theory did not work at the last two elections.

45 electorates remain notionally held by the party that won them in 2014 (either at the general election or, in the case of Labor and the seat of Fisher, at the by-election). The other two seats are Elder, in southern Adelaide, and Mawson, which has moved from being a southern Adelaide seat into a regional electorate by stretching out to take in Kangaroo Island and the Fleurieu Peninsula. Both seats are held by Labor MPs but are now notional Liberal seats.

The following map shows the new electoral map. Click on each seat to see the post-redistribution margin, and who held the seat before the redistribution.

This map is only a draft – we should be expecting a final version of the map to be released in November.

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What’s going on at the Tally Room

This blog has been pretty quiet since the conclusion of the NSW council elections. I’m working on a few different projects in the background and I just wanted to give a quick update.

Firstly, I’ve been working on a project to collect together all of the results of the NSW council elections to publish in an easy-to-use format for data analysis. This is part of a broader project to publish local and state election results in an easy-to-use format, since so many electoral commissions do not publish results (as well as candidate and booth lists) in accessible formats, unlike the AEC. Unfortunately I’ve hit a wall in scraping the data for the 2016 council elections, although the data for the 2011 and 2012 elections is ready. If you’re an expert on web scraping who can help me with this, drop me a line. Once this is done, I might do some high-level comparisons of the 2012 and 2016 election results.

The ACT election is due this Saturday, and I’ve got guides published for all five electorates which you can read here. I’ve got an article going up at the Guardian today about the election which is also worth a read. Unfortunately I won’t be around to do a liveblog on Saturday night, but I will return to do some overall analysis on the weekend.

Three by-elections are due in New South Wales in November and I’ve published guides for all three seats. This includes a guide to the Wollongong by-election, which was only recently written.

Beyond that, I’ve been making maps for a couple of recent redistributions. The Northern Territory is in the midst of a redistribution, whereby the urban seat of Solomon will lose some areas on the outskirts of Darwin and Palmerston to the seat of Lingiari. This is the first time since the territory was split into two electorates in 2001 that the boundaries will be changed. I’ve completed a map of the new boundaries which you can download from the maps page.

I am currently working on the new draft map for the South Australian state redistribution, and I’ll be publishing that probably next week, and once the draft boundaries are released for the Queensland state redistribution I will also make a map of those boundaries.

Then once all that’s done I plan to get into preparing the guide to the Western Australian state election, for early next year.

So I will pop up from time to time, but mostly I’ll be away in the background for the remainder of this year.

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South Australian state redistribution update

This is a quick blog post about a story that I’ve missed up until now.

As they do every four years, the South Australian electoral boundaries are currently in the process of being redistributed. The draft boundaries are due to be released at 11am Adelaide time this morning. This follows a round of submissions earlier this year, which largely went under the radar due to the federal election.

South Australia conducts redistributions after every election. Unlike other jurisdictions around Australia, the boundaries commission is required to ensure that the result is “fair” – ie. that a majority of the two-party-preferred vote gives a majority of seats. I’m on the record as thinking that this is an impossible task. By definition a system of single-member electorates are not fair, it can’t handle multiparty politics, and is always undone by different swings across the state.

The 2010 election saw Labor hold on to its majority despite losing a majority of the two-party-preferred vote, despite the best efforts to draw boundaries which wouldn’t produce this result. After this election, the boundaries commission decided that the boundaries were not unfair and didn’t attempt to undertake major redrawing of the boundaries to undo Labor’s new advantage.

The following map shows how much each seat diverges from the average quota as of 2016. Seats marked in red are above average, those in blue below average. Those in pale yellow are within a range of 1% either above or below. Those in a darker colour are 5% above or below average.

Seats must fall within 10% of the average. Technically only two seats fall outside this band: Port Adelaide is over 10% above average, and the remote north-western seat of Giles is over 10% below average.

In practice a lot more seats will be redrawn. On a regional basis, seats in the northern suburbs of Adelaide are above average. There are four seats north of the Adelaide city centre which are more than 5% above quota. The nine seats at the northern end of Adelaide are collectively 17.6% above quota, while the fifteen seats in central Adelaide are 7.4% above quota, and the southern Adelaide seats are mostly sitting around the quota.

The five seats in northern South Australia are collectively 22.7% below their fifth quota. This suggests that we should expect one of these rural seats to be pulled further into the northern fringe of Adelaide, to absorb the surplus population in Adelaide. We’ll find out soon enough.

I should note that I’m not planning to immediately drop everything to construct a map of the new draft SA boundaries, as I am hoping to produce a guide to some of the biggest councils up for election in New South Wales in September. I’ll return to produce this map later in the year once other elections no longer monopolise my time.

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QLD redistribution – the numbers

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 4.44.44 pmQueensland is about to dive into a redistribution of state electorates, to update the existing electoral map which was created in the lead up to the 2009 election.

Queensland currently has 89 electorates, but will be adding four additional seats for the next election, thanks to legislation passed earlier this year. For this reason, most existing electorates are above the required average for the new electoral map.

The electorates are required to be roughly in line with the average enrolment as of 2016, and the average projected enrolment as of 2022. The following table shows the quotas in each region of the state.

Seat Seats 2016 quotas 2022 quotas
Brisbane North 16 16.56 16.42
Brisbane South 20 20.12 19.53
Central QLD 11 11.32 11.09
Gold Coast 10 11.00 11.31
North QLD 11 11.42 11.38
SE QLD 10 10.84 11.60
Sunshine Coast 8 8.80 8.94
Western QLD 3 2.94 2.73

It appears that three of the four new seats will be added in the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, and in those parts of South-East Queensland outside of Brisbane (such as Ipswich, which is growing fast).

Below the fold I’ve posted a map and run through the likely impact on each region. Read the rest of this entry »