NSW federal redistribution – official numbers published


Federal redistributions have recently commenced in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

The AEC yesterday published the enrolment data to be used to draw New South Wales federal electorates.

There are two sets of data – enrolment data as of August 2023, and projected enrolments as of April 2028. This data has been published at the level of SA1, but for this post I’m just looking at it at the electorate and regional level.

Electorates must be drawn within 10% of the average as of August 2023, but just 3.5% of the average as of April 2028. That latter number is thus more important, and there are some notable differences.

I’ve previously written about possible enrolment trends twice, but that was only based on current enrolments.

This next table groups electorates into nine regions, and shows how much each region falls short or exceeds the quota. So if a region currently has six electorates, but is projected to only have 5.2251 quotas, that is written as -77.49.

When you compare the two sets of numbers, you see that the projections are expected to increase Sydney’s population relative to regional NSW by about half a seat between now and early 2028.

That growth is entirely within the north-west and south-west of Sydney. Those areas collectively have about the right number of voters at the moment for their eleven seats (impressive considering NSW is losing one seat), but by April 2028 are projected to have 80% of an extra seat’s population.

The north coast and the Hunter regions are just slightly over quota. When you look at the map, most of that surplus is in Paterson, which is 11.7% over quota.

Western NSW is quite a long way under quota, but about a third of that can be sorted by taking in some extra voters from the Hunter.

In Sydney, there is a very stark difference between the east and west. The six electorates in northern Sydney, stretching as far west as Bennelong and Berowra, fall 78% of a seat short of a quota. I can’t see how they avoid abolishing one seat in this area.

In central and southern Sydney, these ten seats are also almost 80% of a seat short of a quota, so again I suspect a seat could be abolished in that area. The seat of Wentworth is more than 20% under quota, but it won’t be abolished because it fits neatly into its corner. It’s more likely a seat like Blaxland would be abolished, as the deficits of all the seat further east accumulate.

But NSW only needs to lose one seat! So this frees up one seat to be created somewhere else, and the obvious choice would be straddling the north-west and south-west. Just two seats in the south-west (Macarthur and Werriwa) are projected to have more than 2.5 seats worth of enrolment by April 2028.

There’s also about a half quota of surplus enrolment projected to join Lindsay, Greenway, Chifley and Mitchell between them. Plus if the northern suburbs lose one seat, they’ll have about 1/5th of surplus voters to be added to Mitchell or Parramatta.

Antony Green pointed out on my podcast, and again in his excellent blog post from yesterday, that it’s likely that this will force the commissioners to draw a seat crossing Windsor Road, which currently separates Mitchell from Greenway, and is usually a strong electoral boundary.

Once they have sorted out all the internal changes within Sydney, losing one electorate, Sydney will collectively have about one quarter of a seat of surplus population. Meanwhile there will be about a quarter of a seat’s deficit in western NSW electorates.

The easiest way to resolve this imbalance is through the seat of Hume, which has a bizarre set of boundaries which include Goulburn and the Wollondilly and Camden areas, but skip over much of the Southern Highlands in between. Shifting Hume further into Sydney would resolve that imbalance.

That’s it for now. If you want to see the quotas for each seat, check out the map below. Antony’s blog post also has some nice maps with the same data.

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  1. Interested to find out what happens to Macquarie and how winnable it would be for Labor, in particular if it sheds Richmond/Windsor and ends up taking all the Blue Mountains and Lithgow and Bathurst like in the Liberal proposal. Labor’s been going backwards in Lithgow and Bathurst for a years but improving in the Katoomba area, and overall I’m curious if the Lithgow/Bathurst area is still salvageable for Labor if they run a solid marginal seat campaign there.

  2. @Votante,
    the comments on suggestions phase is intended to be an opportunity for everyone to look at what others have suggested and then reply to those comments.

    But in reality, nothing stops you from just putting forward new suggestions. If you wanted to frame it as “these suggestions are not great, for instance I would do this….” then you’re effectively making a separate suggestion framed as a comment on the others.

    They’ll still accept it and consider it. I’ve seen comments that state they intended to lodge a suggestion but didn’t so they just provide their entire suggestion as a comment.

  3. @darren agreed I didn’t get time to finish my maps so I’m just gonna submit them as comments on my suhhestion

  4. @Greens Political Party Supporter

    It’d be interesting. I’d be very curious to know what the notional margins are. I think it’s plausible for Templeman to win the Hawkesbury seat. She’s proven herself to be a formidable MP.

    Labor won Macquarie in 2007 when it was a Blue Mountains—Lithgow—Bathurst seat. But that was a high tide election for Labor, and it seems Labor support in the Central West has dissipated over the years.

    An independent could have a chance in such a Macquarie. If these boundaries eventuate, and Gee plays his cards right, he could be that independent. A high enough primary vote plus Labor preferences (of which there will be plenty in the Blue Mountains) would do it.

  5. Agree Nicholas, Templeman actually won a majority of the 2PP in some of the larger Hawkesbury Valley booths (places like Windsor and Richmond) at the 2022 election, which she failed to achieve previously. This suggests she has a personal vote and can expand Labor’s support beyond the traditional Blue Mountains area.

  6. Pretty puerile analysis by SMH today.


    There is basically no difference between the Liberal, Labor or Steggall submissions regarding Warringah – they all add most or all of North Sydney LGA to the current Warringah. The Liberals just say they want to use North Sydney as the name and their submission headlines that they propose to abolish Warringah (just to annoy Zali one suspects) but the detail says they are merging North Sydney and Warringah but retaining the North Sydney name. But its more a takeover of North Sydney than a merger.

    The only aspect in which the proposals differ is that Zali wants minimal extension into North Sydney (proposes 2 options) because she doesn’t want to give up territory to Mackellar, but she’s going to have to, even under a minimalist change scenario (i.e. Zali’s proposal is not fully serious as it is not practical for the AEC to adopt).

    Under none of these scenarios would Tink run in the same seat as Steggall (Teal on Teal as the SMH suggests), or even need to. If she were to recontest, she’d either push Nicolette Boele out of the way in a new, southern Bradfield, or take her chances in a 3 ways contest in a more eastern Bennelong, which looks a lot like the new North Sydney of the ALP submission.

  7. Having said all that, there is potential for a Teal on Teal battle under the quite elegant solution proposed by David Lumsden (Suggestion 43) – I think I saw another one similar. It pushes Bradfield into Mackellar and meets Sophie Scamps request to retain Mackellar as a northern beaches only seat – and gives her much more of it. This leaves a new Warringah/North Sydney (either name works equally as well) as very much a 50/50 merger.

    Interestingly either scenario will be in the rare situation of a very marginal seat on 2PP (both seats are currently <1.5% to the Liberals) but held by a IND. Even more odd would be that the new seat is Labor on 2PP after the next election, held by and IND, but everyone in the media thinks its a safe Liberal seat. Go figure…….

  8. On whether Templeman would be endangered if the Hawkesbury was swapped for the Central West – she won in 2016/19 despite losing the Hawkesbury by 65/35 style margins. And Labor used to be very strong in the Central West – if it went to a seat Labor could actually win I think they could absolutely do a lot better in Bathurst and Lithgow than they’ve done recently. While her margin might be down notionally, I think her position would be safer long-term.

    Maybe I’m being too optimistic though.

  9. I’m surprised Dai Le didn’t put a submission in like the other independents did. Unlike the teal electorates, Fowler is bounded by the harbour or ocean so it could be redistributed in any direction. The Liberals, Nationals and Labor propose boundaries running through Cabramatta and Canley Vale and possibly seperating them from much of her home turf of Fairfield LGA. From memory, her strongest support bases are in the east (Chipping Norton) and west of Cabramatta.

    @Darren, thanks. I will give the AEC my two cents worth.

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