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. The Liberals submitted an unnecessarily ludicrous suggestion to abolish Maribyrnong, because even in the southeast where they fare better, a Labor seat is still the most logical choice to abolish.

    Hotham is a safe Labor seat on a double-digit margin, held by a high profile cabinet minister. They would have looked a lot more credible just proposing to abolish something like that, than going too far in trying to abolish a seat with very logical boundaries in the northwest as a transparent attempt to target Bill Shorten and/or disrupt the Labor heartland (although their proposal doesn’t even capitalise on that by creating a seat the Libs can win anyway!).

  2. Furthermore, Maribiyrnong is the most Liberal friendly of the NW Melbourne seats and they could have actually made it more Liberal friendly like putting Keilor into it so it defies long term strategy for me

  3. The problem for the Libs is all their Lib seats are fairly marginal and most are surrounded by ALP areas. So even doing something like abolishing Hotham causes Chisholm to move south but then you have to put parts of Chisholm into Deakin or Menzies. Pretty much the only way to preserve all their seats in Melbourne is too propose minimal changes.

  4. @ John, i honestly dont know how Labor can actually argue for the retention of Hotham other than saying it is represented by a Senior Labor Minister. I dont think any local council, business groups, residents could argue that is a good seat. Why would an upper middle class Jewish resident of Bentleigh East want to me in the same seat as Noble Park? Abolishing Hotham may actually flip Deakin/Menzies to notionally Labor and make La Trobe more competitive for Labor and will strengthen Hotham.

  5. @nimalan if that was the case they would have suggested it. the same reason they went against the grain in NSW and didnt mention abolishing North Sydney or an inner sydney seat. because it wont benefit them.

  6. In the comments for the NSW redistribution, no one mentioned my suggestion at all. 🙁 I guess suggestions that don’t cover the whole state just aren’t taken seriously?

  7. @ Nicholas, i planned to make a comment on suggestions for NSW but got swamped and missed the deadline. I would have reviewed yours if i did. I did not make a comments on suggestions for WA and my submission only covered electorate names and i was happy that Farmer was suggested. I may make an objection later with respect to the name of the WA seat.

  8. @nimalan so far the aec has screwed up my comments in some way
    NSW – claimed they didnt get my maps (BS)
    WA – the maps they initally received were blank (dont ask how) and they claim they didnt receive my proper maps until the day after even though i sent them before the deadline
    VIC – some maps (Mallee -> Wills) werent received til 4-5 hours after the deadline even though i sent them prior.
    im working on getting them to accept them given i submitted them on time

  9. i also realised some errors but i fixed these up in time. though one of the guys who commented picked up some other minor ones. hopefully that will help the AEC. i also realsied when looking at the suggestion that i didnt mention one division so i think i have the longest list of divisions mentioned with 38. fortunately the one i missed (Flinders) i didnt change probably why i missed it but i clarified this in my comments.

  10. one thing pointed out by Labor is that the AEC have never crossed the yarra at the lower end near melbourne CBD and always cross it at the higher end usually near jagajaga/menzies/mcewen

  11. John, the original Melbourne Ports covered Port Melbourne and Williamstown, and the seat of Yarra covered parts of Richmond and Hawthorn.

  12. And the later Melbourne Ports included southern Richmond, port Melbourne to St Kilda around the 1980’s

    If my memory is correct Caulfield was added to Melbourne Ports when Richmond was removed

  13. @pencil sorry that should of read they have never crossed the Yarra at the lower end since 1989. in the 5 redistributions since

  14. If Melbourne Ports covered Prahran and Richmond as recently as the 1980s, then that ads weight to shifting Prahran and South Yarra into McNamara.

  15. the other place that bothered me is corio/corangamite configuration of geelong. whilst i didnt do in my proposal due to corangamite being close to quota and couldnt justify it. Corio being named after the bay should cover the area from Port Phillip/Queenscliff and Corangamite should cover the excess in the north, the golden plains and any parts of the surf coast required to fill anything else needed to meet quota this would also bring it back closer to the lake it was named after. so this will be my aim next redistribution if the numbers can be justified. this time around i only really did a major remodel on macnamara for the above reasons others and myself have already stated and the fact the shape of the electorate is getting close to unreasonable.

  16. @ John, in relation to Corio/Corangamite, I dont believe the numbers in either 4 or 8 years time will justify what you are proposing, Lake Corangamite will be in Wannon unless a third seat is created around the Geelong region at some time eg when Parliament is increased

  17. @captain im not proposing the lake be in the division im simply stating corio is better suited to be the souther part of geelong stradling the bay near queenscliff and along the geelong LGA otherwise very shortly we will have s imilar situation where corio bay isnt in corio anymore as what happened with corangamite

  18. @captain i dont mean put the lake in corangamite i meant corio should start at queenscliff/portphillip and expand northwards and along the greater geelong lga. otherwise we will get a situation where corio bay is no longer in corio as well

  19. Thanks for the clarification, In essence Corangamite would be the surf coast swinging up to Lara / Little River and surrounding Geelong under this scenario

  20. The 1980 electoral roll (public on the Ancestry website) definitely shows Melbourne Ports to include the subdistricts of South Yarra, Richmond & Prahran at the time, and a quick examination of the addresses shows it definitely included all of South Yarra & Windsor and at least as far east as Williams Road in Prahran.

    Similarly, the St Kilda and St Kilda North subdistricts appear to stretch as far east as Hotham Street.

    So there is definitely a precedent for Williams Road / Hotham Street being the eastern boundary of the seat, and separating Balaclava, Ripponlea & the ‘Port Phillip’ part of St Kilda East from Caulfield and the ‘Glen Eira’ part of St Kilda East.

    And there actually would have been a much more significant Jewish presence west of Hotham St back then than there is today, post-gentrification and densification.

  21. As someone who lives around Corangamite/Corio the current border is pretty sensible. Corangamite being the growth suburbs + ocean towns and Corio being the central suburbs of Geelong + the working class north. Golden Plains should be mostly in Ballarat but the Bannockburn part can be Corio. Eventually this will happen.

    I do wonder what they’re going to have to start doing when Geelong + the Surf Coast start being more than 2 quotas worth of seats. Putting parts of Surf Coast into Wannon already isn’t ideal, and any further into it and you have to start putting Torquay into a rural district. I wouldn’t be surprised if at a future redistribution, Lara gets put into a Melbourne seat.

  22. @ Drake, If they increase the size of Parliament I think 3 seats in the greater Geelong area is a strong possibility. But I think otherwise the Greater Geelong area will be looking at 3 seats from around 8 to 10 years time.

    Lara, Geelong North, Central Geelong might be one seat, South Geelong and the surf Coast another and finally West Geelong and golden plains would be the basis of the third

  23. My Malcolm Mackerras 1980 election guide shows Melbourne Ports going into Richmond. Hard to tell if Swan Street or Bridge Road was the northern boundary.

    Semi Quote for 1977:
    5:1 to Labor in Port Melbourne, over 2:1 in Prahran, Richmond and South Mekbourne. Comfortable Liberal lead in Domain, marginal in Elwood and South Yarra and very marginally in St Kilda. Labor margin of 5.9%

  24. Yes pre 1989 it was but hasn’t crossed the lower reaches since. And I think Labor has a point to the people who have weighted the west to the lower end and the east to the higher end this would constitute malapportionment and the aec will most likely not adopt these suggestions

  25. Hard to imagine a time when St Kilda was even marginal let alone marginally Liberal…

    Especially back then when it was so much poorer and more bohemian/alternative (home of the punk scene in particular) than it is today.

    These days St Kilda, despite gentrifying so much, is by far the least Liberal out of all those suburbs, averaging around 14% at the last election with the Greens + Labor combining for 75-80%.

    As someone who wasn’t alive to understand the political dynamics back then, anyone know why a relatively downmarkey artsy/boho suburb full of rooming houses at the time might have leaned Liberal or even 50/50?

    Is it because maybe Labor was more exclusively blue collar oriented, and the Liberals held some appeal to back then that may have resonated with creative/progressive types in an area that was cheap but not necessarily “blue collar”?

    Or is it more just that “St Kilda” may have referred to a bigger area incorporating maybe Albert Park and Balaclava (which I assume was more conservative back then) too?

    The other question is, who did the Democrats typically direct preferences to back then? I notice they got almost 10% in 1977 and St Kilda is the type of area they would have done well and could possibly have done the best (~20% or so).

  26. Bridge Road was the northern boundary

    You can see detailed maps of all boundaries throughout a seats history here

    Seats that recently crossed the Yarra

    Menzies (now) – Warrandyte
    Menzies (2018-2021) – Eltham and Kangaroo Grounds
    Menzies (1989-1994) – Ivanhoe East/Eaglemont
    Menzies (1984-1988) – Eltham/Lower Plenty

    Diamond View (1977-1983) – Lower Plenty to Diamond Creek

    Melbourne Ports (1984-1988) – Richmond
    Melbourne Ports (1955-1967) – Williamstown

    Yarra (1937-1967) – Richmond/Hawthorn

    McEwen (1994-2010) – Upper Yarra

    There’s a point where it looks like Melbourne took a small bit of Southbank but I think this is just an issue with the maps.

  27. @Trent

    I get the sense that the Liberal Party was once more, well, liberal, and that it may have had appeal to that demographic.

  28. @Drake, that map resource is fantastic! Never knew that existed, thank you for sharing.

    So interestingly in the 1970s (until ’77) Melbourne Ports included Prahran & Windsor, but not South Yarra (except the Domain part west of Punt Rd).

    1977-83 is when Richmond south of Bridge Road and the remainder of South Yarra were added, but the part of Prahran east of Williams Road was removed.

    Interestingly, Balaclava was never in the seat during this period because the Hotham St boundary ended at Inkerman St, then cut west and ran down Chapel south of there. The 1984 redistribution added only a very small part of Balaclava between Chapel & the train line.

    So in that regard, there isn’t a whole lot of precedent for Balaclava being separated from Caulfield, however Balaclava has changed a LOT since then and now resembles suburbs Richmond and Windsor more than Caulfield.

    I didn’t realise Caulfield South was in the seat until 2010 too.

  29. I stand corrected with my comment about there being no precedent for Balaclava being separated from Caulfield!

    Even the actual seat named Balaclava (which became Goldstein in 1984) had Balaclava & St Kilda East but didn’t have most of Caulfield in it! Its eastern boundary was Kooyong Road, which runs right through the heart of the Jewish community.

    So Balaclava and most of East St Kilda were in the seat of Balaclava, while most of Caulfield and Caulfield North were in Higgins with Malvern & Armadale!

    So there is a lot of precedent for:

    – Caulfield united with Malvern & Armadale in Higgins

    – Balaclava & St Kilda East being in a different seat to Caulfield & Caulfield North, they have actually only been united in any seat since 1989

    – St Kilda being united with Prahran & Windsor in Ports/Macnamara

  30. @James I wonder if you could turn your github project into a bit of a business. I know Redistricter in the US has led to a full time job for the creator on 8 dollar a month subscriptions. Even if its on a way smaller level I reckon the program you’ve made is very good (once set-up which can be tricky). I know alot of people would be happy to pay a small price for it to do their redistribution suggestions + People who just want to use it for fun (like me)

  31. Just did some calculations based on Thursday’s ABS Population release.

    Victoria is currently sitting at 37.86 quotas, which is an increase of 0.16 of a quota since a year ago. If this trend holds it’ll be at least 4 years until Victoria earns its 39th seat back. If the next federal election isn’t held until May 2025, the next determination will be based on the population release 10 quarters from now. So unless Victoria’s growth accelerates or there is an expansion of parliament, the boundaries drawn at this redistribution will last for 2 elections.

    It looks like the next redistribution will be quite substantial, either due to the expansion of parliament, or due to poulation growth favouring Northern/Western Melbourne. Given the wonky projections for this redistribution, it’s quite possible that the next one will see another seat abolished in Southern/Eastern Melbourne and 2 created in Northern/Western Melbourne. Probably one between Sunshine and Truganina, and another around Whittlesea. I could also see Nicholls getting squeezed from the Murray River by Indi and Mallee and potentially abolished.

    That said, there’s potential for a lot of changes to happen to parliament, migration patterns, urban development, etc. over the next 5 years, so this is all just speculation. For now, we’ll have to see if the Redistribution Committee heeds the calls to have the enrolment projections revised, but I suspect that they won’t.

  32. @angas they are compelled to use the projections as of August by the law. They cannot just chop and change based on monthly projections after this date.

  33. @John
    I did some research into this, and I believe there’s no legislative requirement that the Committee must use any particular set of projections. It’s just a convention that the AEC sources projections from the ABS and treats them as a source of truth.

    By the legislation, the Committee simply has to “endeavour to ensure” that all divisions drawn will be within the 3.5% tolerance at the projection date. If it becomes likely that any of the divisions will be outside of this range (and given the obvious lack of due diligence shown with the current set), they may be compelled to review the projections and redraw some of the divisions.

    Lalor will be the seat to watch. On the current projections, it’s either going to be left unchanged, or make a small adjustment with Gellibrand. But if it’s growing at 7% per year, it might already be outside of the 3.5% range in April next year. It’s already at +0.49% deviation (for 38 divisions). Funnily, it is projected to be at +0.48% in April 2028. It’ll be far beyond that at this rate.

    In effect though, I think you’re right. I understand the Committee generally tries to do as little as possible to rock the boat and will wriggle out of this one by simply pointing to the ABS figures and saying “not our job”.

  34. @angas Lalor was one of the ones I’ve left unchanged. They will based it on the projections they had l. For allhey know next month people could up and leave it and then their constantly changing if its beyond deviation after redistribution so be it somewhere will inevitably will be. Look at MacArthur and werriwa I doubt their projections for that were accurate. It’s just best guess at the time. I reckon by 2028 there will be an expansion to the parliament anyway. As it would have been 40+ years by the time of next election since the last expansion. This will obviously depend on who wins govt in 2025.

  35. @Yoh An, interesting idea. I’m glad you like the software. I think I’ll keep it free, because I can’t find any other software designed for Australian redistributions (except EBMS which is effectively not available to the public). I think it’s more important that anyone can easily contribute to the redistribution process, rather than just political parties.

    I’d definitely like to make the setup easier, and add automatic exporting of maps. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get it to work for state/local redistributions as well.

  36. @james I did notice a few bugs. The deviation % was off. It basically told me when it was in reality at quota that it was under and so when it was close to 0% deviation it was in reality above the quota.

  37. Oops – I meant to say @Am Now.
    @John, thanks for letting me know. I had a similar error when building it, but I thought I had fixed it. I’ll see if I can reproduce your error.

  38. @james np I was builing my final division and noticed it showed 134k being at close to 0% deviation and then realised that was over the maximum 3.5% tolerance of 131k

  39. @James Even if outdated, using recent redistribution projections for the other states and territories would be very nice – I unfortunately havent been able to get anything working except WA, NSW, and VIC

  40. i just had a thought regarding hotham to strengthen the communities of interest if it should not be abolished it could swap its western parts that arent ceeded to other divisions to issacs and then take the parts of dandenong from issacs


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