ACT redistribution – ‘Fraser’ renamed ‘Fenner’, loses southern edge


fennerdraftThe Australian Electoral Commission yesterday released draft electoral boundaries for the ACT’s two federal electorates.

At the moment, the ACT is covered by two seats: Canberra and Fraser. The boundary between these two seats follows the Molonglo River and Lake Burley Griffin which divide Canberra in half – all of the northern suburbs in Fraser, and all of the southern suburbs in Canberra.

Canberra’s northern suburbs has been growing faster than its southern suburbs, and this has pushed Fraser to be larger than the seat of Canberra, forcing the Committee to move some suburbs from Fraser to Canberra.

Download the map of the new ACT federal boundaries from this page.

The Committee has decided to move Civic and a number of neighbouring suburbs including Acton, Braddon, Campbell and Reid. In addition, the new estate of Molonglo Valley, which is only being developed now, was moved from Fraser to Canberra.

In addition, the Committee has renamed the seat of Fraser.

Fraser is currently named after Jim Fraser, who was previously the sole member representing the ACT in the House of Representatives. It is normal practice that seats are named after deceased former Prime Ministers, and with the recent death of Malcolm Fraser, the Committee decided to free up the name ‘Fraser’ to be used in the future as the name for a Victorian seat named after the former Prime Minister.

We are expecting a seat to be named after Gough Whitlam in the impending New South Wales redistribution, but the next Victorian redistribution is not due for at least three years, so in the meantime the seat name ‘Fraser’ is likely to be rested.

The former ‘Fraser’ has been renamed ‘Fenner’, after virologist Frank Fenner. Fenner died in 2010, and was a key figure in the global elimination of smallpox.

Interestingly, the Commission was split on whether there were strong reasons to rename the seat of Canberra, with two members supporting a change and two opposing, with the casting vote deciding against making a change. Those who supported change had preferred naming the seat ‘Churcher’ after Betty Churcher, former director of the National Gallery of Australia.

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  1. Shift of Campbell and Civic plus related suburbs might very slightly improve Canberra for Liberals & Greens at the expense of ALP & vice versa for Fenner

  2. I would have thought the opposite. The city is very weak for the Libs. I’d think it would improve Labor’s 2PP in Canberra and reduce it in Fraser/Fenner.

  3. Naming divisions after only surnames is tricky given that more than one famous person with a common surname will need to be honoured over time and every person famous at one point will eventually fade into obscurity with time, which is partially why Jim Fraser has been given the boot.

  4. Looking at the booth figures total impact would be Fraser slight improvement for ALP slight reduction in Greens – probably balancing out with a 2PP probably unchanged

    Canberra very slight improvement for ALP and slight improvement for Greens leading to a slight improvement for ALP in 2PP terms

  5. It was pretty logical that this is what would happen, although I don’t agree with including the parts of Turner and Braddon in the southern seat. Barry Drive is a major road and would be a much clearer divide between north and south than the random minor back streets they seem to have used.

    As a scientist and former student/worker at ANU, I am pleased with the name “Fenner” being adopted.

  6. That is not mathematically possible. There are only 2 seats, therefore if moving the boundary between the seats changes the margin of one seat, it must change the margin of the other.

  7. That’s perfectly possible. If the booths moved from Fraser to Canberra had the same margin as all of Fraser, but a higher margin than that of Canberra, then moving them would increase the margin in Canberra without affecting that of Fraser. It might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but it works.

  8. Here’s an idea. Just abolish the ACT, & make Canberra the capital of NSW too. Move all the pollies & public servants OUT of Sydney. = LOTS of public money saved, by eliminating an entire territory govt, & replacing it with a council. Works for Brisbane.
    WE could then sell ,or re deploy all the duplicated infrastructure in Sydney. i.e.- dept buildings, parliament house, etc.

  9. Mark Mulcair: Andrew Leigh would probably be happier with that – his (Fraser) electorate office is about 50 metres north of Cooyong St (which is the eastern extension of Barry Drive).

  10. ACT currently saves money by combining state and local government – works well for this jurisdiction. Doubt there is any saving to be made – we have already made it

  11. Doug Hynd
    Are you saying that Brisbane city council is bigger (& more costly),than the entire govt operatus of the ACT??. CMON!!!. Also, your comment betrays a certain provincial insularity, if not ACT centricity. The big ,even huge savings would be on the other side. The NSW side of things.
    Like it or not Australia’s primary objective must be FEDERATION with New Zealand.
    To accomplish this the goals of
    1/ eliminating 4 redundant, & useless state, territory govts must be achieved.
    2/ the reformation of the senate to be truly representative of the new federation, or it’s complete elimination.
    without the achievement of these 2 goals,NZ would never agree to federate (with us). & rightly so.Therefore our primary national objective will not be met. This would be a generational failure for all australians, & perpetuate the triviality of our political debate

  12. Back on topic then:

    The Objections are out. The majority of them are form-letter types that want to retain the name “Fraser”. I am sure Jim Fraser was a great local MP, but surely Malcolm Fraser ranks ahead of him as a former Prime Minister? Especially since Victoria has an obvious candidate for re-naming to “Fraser”, the Division of Wannon.

    As kme hinted at, Labor also wants the boundary to be moved, so Andrew Leigh’s electorate office can stay where it is.

  13. Ben
    Too true. I do apologise, for this diversion. However i’m very passionate about this subject. Perhaps,probably, wrongly i seized the opportunity to air the subject.
    In the future could we please have a chance to debate the issue of senate representation ??.

  14. I suspect that as the Molonglo Valley estates develop and increase the population of (the electorate of) Canberra, there will be a gradual shift of Civic and the Inner North suburbs back to Fenner/Fraser.

    Ben, I am curious as to how far off the ACT is from gaining a third seat?

  15. Jimmy D
    I could be wrong. But i’ve estimated that the ACT needs 20000 + extra population nett. That is over , & above it,s existing population growth of 1.4% which is actually the same as NSW. There is also therefore the assumption that the population growth, or rate of growth, of NSW doesn’t increase overall.
    The fact that SA will likely lose a seat at the next determination (likely 2017) is irrelevant, because the House of Reps would simply reduce to 149 seats.
    I would think under the libs, the ACT Population will DECREASE as efficiencies are pursued.
    ALSO changes to the asset, & income tests of commonwealth defined benefit superannuation, are likely to push 500000 !!!! retired public servants OFF part, to full old age pensions. This will likely persuade many retirees, to move out of Canberra into their retirement holiday homes on the coast , & elsewhere

  16. It’s a real shame that the Canberra renaming to Churcher didn’t get up; it would have made sense to rename both at the same time. On the other hand the objections to renaming Fraser are fairly feeble (not to mention frequently inaccurate!) and I imagine the committee will largely ignore them.

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