Victorian federal redistribution – official numbers published


The Australian Electoral Commission has now officially published the population projections to be used when redrawing Victoria’s federal electoral map prior to the next federal election. This follows on similar moments in the NSW and Western Australia federal redistributions in recent weeks.

Electorates must be drawn within 10% of the average enrolment as of the start of the process (August 2023, in this case) and within 3.5% of the average projected enrolment as of April 2028.

The second set of numbers is the more crucial restriction on mapmakers, so that will be my focus today.

Victoria is losing its 39th seat, so understandably most seats are now under the average quota. Just six seats are projected to be above the quota as of April 2028. Mallee is by far and away the largest, projected to be 3.2% above average as of 2028. The other 33 seats are all under the average, with Hawke and Higgins standing out, falling about 6% short of the average.

I’ve divided the state up in a few ways. I’ve split it between Melbourne and regional Victoria, and in Melbourne I’ve split seats between those north and south of the Yarra. I’ve also divided seats into six sub-regions.

While Melbourne is growing faster than regional Victoria, more than three quarters of the population deficit is in Melbourne, so it seems pretty certain that a Melbourne seat, will need to be abolished.

About half of the deficit is south of the Yarra, with just one quarter north of the Yarra.

There are deficits in all of the southside sub-regions – east, south-east and south-central.

Up next, this map shows the relative quota position of each seat. It looks like the deficit is biggest in a strip of seats stretching from Goldstein to Aston, via Higgins and Chisholm. These four seats between them make up about a quarter of the statewide deficit.

Overall I expect the map will need to be significantly redrawn statewide. The northern and western suburbs also feature quite a few seats significantly under quota. Ultimately a seat somewhere in the south-east of Melbourne will be abolished, but the knock-on effects will spread throughout the state.

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  1. I suppose another option is to put Fairfield and Alphington into Jagajaga using their connection along Heidelberg Rd and the Hurstbridge line. Or an east-west orientation combining Brunswick and Northcote. Don’t know how i feel about that – although i did suggest that back in 2018.

  2. Don’t see what Northcote and Brunswick have in common other than a high Greens vote. No shared train line, tram route, LGA – there’s not even a major east-west main road that runs between them.

  3. Agree Adam – I think it’s more a case of “convergent evolution”. There’s a lot of social mixing between the two but you could say the same for St Kilda/Windsor.

  4. @Darren McSweeney I think your proposal is very good. Particularly in the east. I think Aston extending in the Dandenongs is good, people in the Dandenongs look to Knox for most of the services they can’t get locally, and people in Knox are literally in the shadows of Mt Dandenong in a way that people in the south east aren’t (remember when La Trobe combined Berwick and the Dandenongs – terrible). I also like the Deakin and Chisholm and Menzies boundaries. Deakin would become safe Liberal and Aston safeish Labor on these boundaries I suspect.

  5. I’ve created a tool to help with drawing the boundaries, which can be found here:

    It’s set up for the Victorian boundaries, so it should be possible to download it and open the .html file straight away. It has instructions for loading NSW and WA as well.
    Please let me know if there are any issues in getting it to work, or if there are features you’d like me to add.

  6. @ Darren
    I actually think Fairfield/Alphington in Jagajaga, maybe a good idea if it prevents Reservoir going into leafy Jagajaga. As you said Fairfield, Alphington have a connection via the Hurstbridge line, Heidelburg Road. I would also add they are Riverside suburbs like Ivanhoe, Eaglemont etc. They are also quieter suburbs compared to the more lively Northcote. Furthermore if MM2 is built then the NE suburbs will be further seperated from the Northern Suburbs like what will happen with the Bayside & SE Manufacturing built once metro tunnel opens. I also agree that parts of Reservoir can go into Scullin worst case.

  7. @james it won’t let me run when changing states, just opens and immediately closes with nothing created, I have all the files needed in the directory

  8. @James follow up, when it tries to trace back the enrolment file, it tries to “import numpy as np” and it comes up with “ModuleNotFoundErroe: No module named ‘numpy’

  9. @Lachlan, sorry – I forgot numpy isn’t installed by default. If you go to the command prompt and run ‘pip install numpy’, then try again, it should work. I’ve updated the readme and the code, it now should not give any warnings either.

  10. @Lachlan, if you were trying to load WA, you’ll also need to download the enrolment.csv again; I have just edited it.

  11. Updated:

    Changes from the previous version:
    Maribyrnong re-gains some of Ascot Vale and Flemington Racecourse from Melbourne.
    Melbourne using Nicholson St and Johnston St instead of of going along Alexandra Pde, Smith St and Victoria St.
    Cooper gains from Jagajaga Reservior, the industrial part of Thomastown and part of Bundoora, losing Alphington Fairfield and a small part of east of Nortcote.
    Boundary between Cooper and Jagajaga now is Merri Creek, Heidelberg Rd, Jeffrey St, Westgarth St, Victoria Rd, Darebin Rd, and then Darebin Creek up to the Ring Road.

    I think I’m a lot happier with that.

  12. Another map:

    I’ve opted for a more minimalist redrawing, especially North of the Yarra. But I’ve used the full range of tolerance for most divisions, so that my Northern/Western Melbourne divisions are at an average deviation of -2.49% and my Southern/Eastern Melbourne divisions are at an average deviation of +2.16%. As discussed previously, these projections almost certainly underestimate the rate of growth North of the Yarra, so this helps to balance that and avoid having to draw a division that straddles the river.

    Hotham has been abolished and split between its neighbouring divisions.

    McEwen shrinks slightly and stretches from Romsey to Kinglake.

    Things I’d like to improve:
    – Melbourne crossing the Yarra to take in some but not all of Southbank
    – The split of the Belgrave/Selby area between Aston and Casey
    – Isaacs having to take in Clayton
    – Casey having to take in Neerim
    – The split of the Bundoora area between Cooper and Scullin

  13. @Darren

    Great proposal. Very different to what I’ve settled on but it has some creative solutions to things I wasn’t able to solve. You’ve done well at consolidating those urban fringe areas into more cohesive divisions. Does this mean that you’ve abolished Calwell, McEwen, or Casey?

  14. @Angas, McEwen is the division that’s gone, but I’ve renamed Casey to McEwen.
    Only about 28,000 projected electors go from McEwen to Casey, but I think it’s the closest to the “spirit” of McEwen so I chose to rename that one.
    About 55,000 projected electors go from McEwen to Calwell, so I could have renamed that, and given that Calwell was “just” an opposition leader, it’s possibly a name that doesn’t need to stay. But because its far more urban I think McEwen doesn’t suit as much.

  15. Angas I really like your boundaries. They’re actually very similar to mine – minimal change in the north/west and the biggest changes in the southeast with Hotham abolished. What you’ve wound up with around Macnamara, Higgins, Goldstein, Isaacs and Bruce in particular is very similar to me. What I like is how you’ve handled McEwan and Casey which looks a lot better than I’ve been able to get it so far.

    @Nimalan: Thanks! When I submit I will definitely be just settling on one name for what I referred to previously as the Hotham/Bruce and Bruce/La Trobe divisions, and like you suggest, it’ll almost certainly be Bruce (Greater Dandenong) and La Trobe (Narre to Pakenham).

    What I was going for with Bruce, La Trobe and Holt is exactly the way you describe it: Bruce being based on Greater Dandenong and the more established outer suburbs (Hallam, Endeavour Hills); La Trobe being based on the Pakenham Line growth corridor; and Holt being based on the Cranbourne Line growth corridor.

    I think they come together pretty well and are an improvement on the current boundaries.

    If I can get away with only adding Narre Warren North (pretty small population) and Emerald-Cockatoo to Casey out of the former La Trobe, then it means I don’t need to change the McEwan / Casey boundary as radically as I have in my other scenarios. I’ll work on that tomorrow, I hope to have a finalised map tomorrow and write up my submission on Wednesday/Thursday.

    As I’ve said, I’ll be dedicating a whole part of it to the case for the Macnamara/Higgins change and how it should occur regardless of the rest of the proposal, debunking some previous arguments before they are even made in the suggestions/objections phases, even including some heat maps I found of Melbourne’s Jewish population which indicate how my proposal unites *more* of the Jewish community into a single seat, and of course a discussion about the stronger transport links in the proposal.

    I will then present my complete proposal, with Hotham abolished, as an example of how it can work and improve the communities of interest throughout the remainder of the southeast significantly, while requiring minimal change north of the river.

  16. Playing around with James’ redis-maker, I might just do Melbourne as the only Yarra crossing.

    Melbourne: All of Macnamara up to and including Albert Park into Melbourne + Melbourne suburbs + Richmond and Kensington
    Wills: All of Melbourne Nth of Victoria street (except Nth Melbourne) + all of Wills south of Bell Street
    Cooper: Heidelberg West and Heights added
    Jagajaga: Diamond Creek, Plenty + Nth Warrandyte
    Scullin: the rest of Mernda Sth
    Calwell: north of Bell Street and loses all of Craigieburn
    McEwen: gains Craigieburn and loses all of Macedon shire

    Macnamara than gains Stonnington West (sorting the Caulfield/Sth Yarra issue by both being in the same seat) and Higgins and Hotham essentially merge together. Casey can essentially stay relatively the same.

  17. @ Drake. I tried almost exactly what you did with Melbourne and Mcnamara, effectively merging them. I then moved Goldstein north. I was unhappy with Isaacs and could not get the numbers to work. I have since had to go interstate and suspect I will not get back on time. .Anything that can be done to fix Mcnamara, Higgins and Isaacs I am for.

  18. @Mike The proposed Wills that includes all of Melbourne north of Victoria St, and south of Bell St.

    And any suggestion hat adds South Yarra/Prahran to McNamara.

    Also seen a proposal here that adds Collingwood and part of Fitzroy to Cooper while taking out a chunk of Reservoir.

  19. I assume Adam is suggesting that either Cooper will be pulled further into Yarra LGA, or Macnamara will consolidate west and lose its eastern panhandle. Or both. Both would likely secure a second (Victorian) seat for the Greens.

  20. I think the Macnamara/Higgins proposal would still make Macnamara a question mark for the Greens.

    There’s no doubt that the change would result in the Greens coming first in both the primary & 3CP vote, which obviously increases their chances just by making the 2CP for the first time.

    But, such a redistribution would reduce both the ALP & LIB votes and it’s hard to tell who would be hit more. Considering there was only 0.19% between them in the 2022 3CP count, there’d still be just as much chance of a GRN v ALP 2CP (which ALP would win) as there would a GRN v LIB 2CP which is really the outcome the Greens need to win.

    Any changes that pull either Wills or Cooper down into Melbourne and lose territory north of Bell Street would favour a Greens gain in either or both of those seats though. And especially in an election where the ALP is in government, and there’s no motivation to boot out a Liberal government, that’s usually when the Greens do better.

  21. My proposal would probably make 3 greens seats (by turning winnable green seats from 5->4) but it’d turn Melbourne extremely marginal ALP vs GRN. Something like 51% Green. Melbourne would actually have a decent chance of Libs finishing 2nd because it includes all of the best Liberal areas of Melbourne + Macnamara part. It’s definitely winnable for Labor without Adam Bandt running. Wills would likely end up the most left wing seat in the country (probably >80% yes on voice). And my Macnamara would be similar to the current one where it’d be a battle between the Greens and Labor to see who can finish 2nd, there’d be no risk of Libs ever finishing 3rd. It’d start off as a green seat but be winnable for Labor with Josh Burn’s personal vote. Libs probably would have won it in 2016 though.

    Labor can take comfort my Menzies would surely be a Labor seat, gains all of Box Hill and loses its eastern part. Upwey/Tecoma added to Aston would bump up the Labor vote there and McEwen would be unloseable with Craigieburn.

    Libs would like my Chisholm (eastern parts of Monash council) + Deakin (Maroondah council, Manningham east and a small bit of Yarra Ranges).

    @Mike: I left Isaacs the exact same. I wanted to change it but it messed with other borders every time I did. I got all of Dandenong council out of Hotham and the council realistically has to be split between two seats.

  22. @Trent I agree with you..
    If Melbourne did cross the Yarra it would probably stop around Fitzroy Street making it in my thinking a marginal ALP versus green seat. Wills and Cooper would be very competitive for the Greens I agree. If this did happen it would be interesting to see which seat Adam Bandt contested. Another thought unrelated. The last few redistributions have not been helpful to the Coalition in NDW and especially Vic. It may be the case that the law of averages helps them this time.

  23. @ Trent..”But, such a redistribution would reduce both the ALP & LIB votes and it’s hard to tell who would be hit more. Considering there was only 0.19% between them in the 2022 3CP count, there’d still be just as much chance of a GRN v ALP 2CP (which ALP would win).” I am not sure about this, the Libs have on occasion preferenced The Greens over the ALP in seats that matter eg Federal Melbourne for Bandt’s initial win. If the circumstance is right they will do it again.


    Maps of what I’m probably going to submit.

    Things I’m not happy about
    – Not all of Caulfield being able to fit into Macnamara. But it kind of isn’t possible to put St Kilda + all of Caulfield into the same seat without weird boundaries elsewhere. Caulfield South has been part of Goldstein for ages so it can stay there. Putting all of Caulfield into Goldstein then splits it with St Kilda, which seemed to be the big issue last time. I’d rather most of Caulfield be with St Kilda than Brighton.
    – Craigieburn and Roxburgh Park don’t really have a proper border, so I had to quickly come up with a decent border last minute. Worked out pretty well but did force me to put Kilmore into Nicholls, which may even be a good thing.
    – Don’t love my Higgins/Hotham seat but I’ll take it. If you use Melbourne/Macnamara as the Yarra crossing than their really is no good way to deal with Malvern.

  25. I totally agree the Greens would win Macnamara if the Libs preferenced them but my assessment was more predicated on the Libs preferencing Labor, as they have in Wills & Cooper.

  26. @Camptain Moonlight,

    If what a lot of people here are saying, that the Libs are looking to appeal to suburban, exurban and regional working class voters (which I think is true), then there is zero chance of the Libs preferencing the Greens above Labor. That would give the wrong signals to those they are trying to attract.

  27. Whether the Libs preference the greens or not has zero to do with ideology or faction and everything to do with tactics. They did it in QLD because they wanted Jackie Trad to lose her seat, in VIC because they wanted Labor to spend time defending their seats instead of going after Liberal seats and WA because they wanted to make a few marginal green vs ALP seats. I mean Malcolm Turnbull didn’t preference the greens but Matt Guy and Deb Frecklington did so it’s not all just about ideology.

    All 3 times lately the Libs have preferenced Greens over Labor lately has been where the Libs are in opposition. When they can’t see themselves winning but there is a chance of putting Labor in minority gif they will sometimes do it. Considering Libs have talked about their strategy of winning back teal seats is by forcing them to support a Labor minority government, the temptation to preference the Greens may be high. They can always just do it under the simple banner of “put Labor last”.

  28. they only have to preference Green in a seat that matters and labor in the rest. during a general election that will be missed in the general commentary. See how Bandt won his seat.

    Having greens in parliament helps the Libs run the usual lines that a red green alliance will be a disaster so better vote LNP for stability.

    this works in the majority of elections

  29. If we’re talking a hypothetical situation here where Macnamara has Chapel St and Higgins has the Caulfield area, and as a result the Greens are in the Macnamara 2CP, then what complicates the Liberals preferencing the Greens here would be Macnamara’s proximity (and historical ties) to the Jewish community now in Higgins.

    In that scenario, the Liberals would absolutely be targeting Higgins as a priority to win back, especially since it would probably notionally be around 50/50, with a more socially conservative (Orthodox Jewish) population transferring into the seat.

    Considering Higgins, after such a redistribution, would have a significantly larger Jewish population than even Macnamara currently does, would it be a good look for them to preference the Greens over a Jewish Labor MP (Josh Burns) in a neighbouring seat that most of Higgins’ Jewish population used to be in?

    It would certainly be a tactical risk.

  30. That’s an interesting proposal Drake, there are a few things in there that I did too. Your Hawke looks very similar to mine and I also transferred Pearcedale-Tooradin to Flinders, for example.

    So far with my final proposal, which is almost ready to submit, I’m pretty happy with almost all of the boundaries and have managed (so far) to avoid a Yarra crossing within metro Melbourne. All are within range of quota for the 2028 projections except for just 2 seats slightly short:
    – McEwan is short by about 800 voters (McEwan/Casey is the only part I’m not happy with still)
    – Melbourne is short by 311 voters (due to sending Brunswick East to Wills, and not gaining anything)

    I looked at giving Kensington to Melbourne which would fit nicely, but would then require a whole lot of other changes to get Maribyrnong back within range which I don’t really want to do because I’m otherwise happy with the boundaries in the other surrounding seats.

    That leaves me with 2 options:

    1. I could leave just the tiny strip of Brunswick East between Park St & Brunswick Rd in Melbourne, that’s around 450 so keeps both seats within quota, but seems a bit messy compared to just transferring the lot and using the linear (ex-Inner Circle Line) park as the boundary.

    2. I could transfer just the Docklands from Macnamara to Melbourne. It’s only around 1900 voters so the numbers work perfectly.

    I didn’t want to cross the Yarra, but it actually seems like a good option, even without any other parts of Southbank or Fisherman’s Bend joining it.

    Not only is it part of the only SA2 that crosses the Yarra, so it would unite that SA2 in one seat as well as obviously uniting the whole suburb & postcode as well, but when you look at a map, that little pocket is actually really isolated from its surrounding areas south of the river.

    It’s pretty much cut off from Southbank & Port Melbourne by freeways or Wurundjeri Way on all 3 sides (west, south & east), so the footbridge over the Yarra actually makes it more accessible and connected to the rest of the Docklands north of the river than it is to the rest of Macnamara.

    So I’m thinking I will propose to send only the tiny Docklands pocket of Macnamara north to Melbourne, but make clear that my Higgins/Macnamara and general southeastern suburbs proposal works with or without the Docklands move.

  31. @James I have run into a bit of trouble in regards to running the processing file (I am attempting to access WA). Attempting to run it gives me NameError: name ‘__file__’ is not defined. I am also not sure where to enter the number of divisions. Thank you for putting this all together, much appreciated.

  32. @Trent: I’d just leave Brunswick area in Melbourne. The AEC love it when you say to keep things the same.

    Switched last minute to abolishing Macnamara instead of Higgins/Hotham. I get the argument for having St Kilda and Caulfield in the same seat but I don’t like what I than have to do with Malvern + splitting up Caulfield. My Higgins/Hotham seat felt kind of a mess. Now I have:

    – Gains St Kilda and Elwood from abolished Macnamara
    – Loses Murrumbeena and Carnegie to Hotham
    – Loses Boroondara council to Kooyong

    – Gains all of Caulfield from abolished Macnamara
    – Loses Bentleigh/Ormond south of North Rd to Hotham

    – Gains all of Bentleigh/Ormond south of North Rd from Goldstein
    – Gains Murrumbeena and Carnegie from Higgins
    – Gains from Chisholm up to Waverley Rd + Notting Hill
    – Loses all of Dandenong council to Bruce
    – Loses Mulgrave to Chisholm

    I think this works way better anyway. Higgins becomes focused on Stonnington + the St Kilda/Elwood area (essentially the state seats of Prahran and Malvern together). Hotham becomes focused mainly on middle class areas and all of Caulfield can be united in the same seat. I feel like the Jewish community would rather not be in a seat the Greens are likely to win which is what my old Macnamara probably would be most of the time. Putting Caulfield in Goldstein is basically the only way you can make a large Jewish seat in Melbourne the greens have no chance of winning.

    I feel like Labor wouldn’t like my solution, they don’t really benefit from it but I think Greens, Libs and the Jewish community would like it. The Jewish community gets added to a marginal seat that even without a Teal would be winnable for either party, and a seat the greens have no chance of winning. For the Libs, Goldstein would become very winnable and I’d say the Libs would have won Macnamara and maybe even Hotham on 2016 election figures. The Greens also get their best parts of Macnamara and Higgins into a single seat (and one with zero risk of Libs falling to 3rd) and the Yarra being crossed would help them in one of Wills and Cooper.

  33. @Mostly, I was having a similar problem when I was setting it up. I think the issue comes from running python in an interactive shell as opposed to running it from the command prompt; only the latter can use __file__. I’ve added a batch file that should be used instead of the .py file. It installs numpy (if missing) and then run the python file.

    The number of divisions question probably didn’t appear because of the error. It should now come up in the command prompt when you run the batch file.

    I’m glad people are finding it useful – it seemed very strange to me that an official tool didn’t exist.

  34. I have just finalised and uploaded my proposal on the AEC website.

    I break it into 3 sections:
    1. Very detailed argument for the Macnamara/Higgins boundaries that will be hard to object to
    2. Realignment of the southeastern suburbs with Hotham abolished
    3. In less detail, maps & overviews of a statewide proposal

    Regarding most of the statewide proposal, I know I don’t have a lot of the local knowledge that others might but I think what I have proposed for the southeast should work with a lot of other combinations elsewhere, and I really hope it gets considered.

    I would love to see Macnamara as basically a Port Phillip + Chapel Street Precinct seat; and Higgins as a Glen Eira (minus Bentleigh) + Rest of Stonnington seat.

  35. This afternoon has been a mad rush to get my submission all organised. A few small mistakes here and there, but I’m reasonably happy with it.

    @Trent Thank you for the earlier feedback on my boundaries. Sounds like our submissions will be largely in agreement, which is an encouraging sign.

    I had the same challenge with trying to find those extra electors for Melbourne and giving the rest of Merri-bek to Wills. In the end I settled on that small transfer of Docklands.

    @Darren I agree with your naming logic. Casey is a good name to get rid of.

    @Drake Nice boundaries. Outside of the seats affected by your movement of Melbourne across the Yarra, seems like we’ve landed on similar changes across the state.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s submissions on Monday. I’m interested to see if there will be much discussion around the quality of the projections, or if people will generally just go along with the numbers provided.

  36. @Angas, I also ended up with the exact same situation for Melbourne, just 311 electors short after sending Brunswick East to Wills.

    I offered 2 solutions:

    1. Leave just the strip between the Inner Circle Park and Brunswick Road in Melbourne which keeps Melbourne within quota, but I did say that ends up messy and fails to unite Brunswick East in Wills; or

    2. Transfer just the 1,846 Docklands electors in Macnamara to Melbourne, which is what I ended up advocating for more, as that pocket of Docklands is so cut off from Southbank and Port Melbourne by freeways, but easily accessible to the rest of Docklands (in Melbourne) by the footbridge over the Yarra. It’s really quite separate from everything else south of the Yarra.

    So it’s actually perfect to transfer without having to send anything else with it.

  37. Tried creating a map of all the Melbourne seats like everyone else

    My Macnamara/Higgins seats and Goldstein have a weird shape but I think they make sense with the communities within them. And it’s not as though Higgins and Macnamara don’t already have weird looking borders.

  38. Apparently the Liberals have proposed to abolish Maribyrnong, move Macnamara into the Melbourne CBD/ Docklands and rename it Melbourne and create a new seat based on the city of Yarra plus Kensinhgton/North Melbourne etc and call it Peacock.

  39. Interesting to see what others have suggested but I hope the Commission takes a brave step and fix some of this ridiculous electorates, ie Maribyrnong. How can you have parts of Melbourne City LGA and the Airport in the same electorate?

  40. Patreon
    I am not sure if you are from Melbourne. You will note that several electorates north of the Yarra – Maribyrnong, Wills, Cooper – and Jagajaga to a lesser extent – all run north south. They are driven by the geography – they sit between rivers and creeks – and both local government areas and transport routes follow the same pattern. It is actually not that easy to move east west in northern Melbourne but very easy to move North South. I have no issue with the current Maribyrnong as the suburbs have a strong community of interest – much better than the previous boundaries when Maribyrnong joined Essendon and Footscray.

  41. Redistributed, I agree. I toyed with the idea of maybe abolishing Wills and making Cooper run east-west, but the north-south just works. Those rivers & creeks are strong boundaries, each seat has a train line runng through the heart of it, plus tram lines too. There are very few east-west segments of tram line in the north. Not to mention the alignment with LGAs as you say. So I ditched that idea pretty quick.

  42. Agree Trent and Redistributed, I think Melbourne is like Sydney having a large number of waterways (creeks and rivers) that force electorates to be drawn in a more ‘elongated’ manner to reflect on these natural geographic features. The smaller state capitals (Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide) have a more uniform geography with most minor waterways (creeks) being less significant and not seen as major barriers.

  43. I’m not from Melbourne, so please excuse my ignorance. Thank you for the explanation Redistributed, Trent and Yoh An.

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