ACT redistribution – submissions open


The redistribution of ACT Legislative Assembly boundaries for the 2020 election has now commenced, with submissions opening last Monday and open until Monday 4 March.

The electoral map was radically drawn prior to the 2016 election, with the Assembly expanding from 17 to 25 seats, and with the number of electorates increasing from three to five.

This redistribution is likely to be less radical, but there have been some growing differences between electorates which will require some shifts in boundaries, increasing the influence of the northern suburbs of Canberra.

Elections ACT has calculated the projected population in each suburb as of 31 August 2018, and projected a likely population as of 17 October 2020 (the next election date). A quota has been calculated as one-fifth of the current population and the projected population, and this next table shows how much of a quota each current electorate makes up. Electorates are sorted from north to south.

ElectorateAreaCurrent quotaProjected quota
YerrabiGungahlin and Belconnen1.081.15
KurrajongCentral Canberra1.041.03
MurrumbidgeeWoden, Weston Creek, Tuggeranong1.011.01

Electorates don’t have to perfectly fit within quotas: electorates need to be within 10% of the current quota and 5% of the projected quota.

Yerrabi is growing very fast – it’s already 8% over quota and projected to be 15% over quota by the time of the 2020 election. It will definitely need to offload some of its territory.

Yerrabi covers all of the Gungahlin district and those parts of Belconnen which don’t fit in Ginninderra, so it seems obvious that some of these parts of Belconnen will need to be moved into Ginninderra, which is under quota. But these two areas will be 7% over two quotas of 2020.

The middle electorate of Kurrajong currently covers the entire inner north without breaching the border into Gungahlin or Belconnen. It is theoretically possible you could maintain this border, but this would mean drawing the northern electorates over quota while Gungahlin grows rapidly. The alternative would be to move a Belconnen suburb into Kurrajong.

Kurrajong and Murrumbidgee are only slightly over quota, but Brindabella is well under quota so it will be necessary for Murrumbidgee to lose territory to Brindabella, and likely replace that territory with a part of Kurrajong.

There aren’t a lot of options in ACT redistributions, in part because of the small number of districts, and also partly because the territory’s population is aligned in a north-south axis which doesn’t make any alternative boundaries possible.

The redistribution process will probably be concluded later this year, after the federal election.

If you’d like to make a submission, you can use the Elections ACT online mapping tool, which very easily lets you assign suburbs to one of the five electorates and see if your boundaries fit within the quotas, although you do have to register with an account to use it. Here’s one I made earlier:

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  1. Might be early, But i predict Labor will win the ACT election next year, The boundaries won’t hurt them much if at all. ACT is like the New York of Australia.

  2. I realise I’m making a federal point on a post about territory politics, but the ACT really does need to be represented by more Senators. The ACT and Tas have similar sized populations, in fact the ACT’s population will be much larger in no time if growth trends in Canberra continue. Tas has 12 Senators to represent roughly 500k people while the ACT only has 2. It’s totally undemocratic. The people of Canberra deserve to have equal representation. The same would be true for the NT if it had a larger population and provisions should be made to grant the NT extra Senators should it’s population ever grow rapidly like Canberra’s is. The States having an equal weight of 12 Senators each is good, otherwise NSW would have an unfair advantage and pretty much run the Senate all the time were it based solely on population, but the system leaves the Territories underrepresented.

  3. There is a politically viable way to “better represent” (cough, cough) the Territories. Give them an extra two Senators each and put them on the same election timetable as the rest of the Senate.

    In effect this just gifts the major parties an extra two Senators each, hence my scarequotes around “better represent”.

    (I hope to have an on-topic comment at some point in the next few weeks…)

  4. 2 extra senators for the ACT, with the ACT then put on the same half-Senate system used for the states would mean 4 extra senators at once in a post-Double Dissolution election, would favour to the Greens and ALP (likely winners of an extra seat each).

    It would also likely mean doing the same for the NT, which (given its more even vote distribution between major parties) may be the actual cause of increasing territory senators, with likely less predictable results.

  5. Doubt that ALP will get a majority in its own right in the ACT – its hard to do – Andrew Barr does not enjoy the wide esteem as a leader that Jon Stanhope did when he achieved that feat

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