NT redistribution commences


The AEC last week officially commenced a redistribution of the Northern Territory’s two federal electorates.

I’ll keep this blog post short and sweet. I won’t bother with a map, since there are only two seats, making the equation simple.

Antony Green’s blog post from early February included a useful chart which compared enrolment for the two divisions of Lingiari and Solomon since 2017.

The two electorates had roughly equal enrolment in mid-2019, but Lingiari has tended to have higher enrolment since then.

Lingiari has had three moments where it’s enrolment jumped further ahead of Solomon – the 2019 election, the 2022 election and 2023 Voice referendum. This is because Lingiari has a larger eligible voter population, but has tended to have lower rates of enrolment. As the AEC has been catching up with enrolment in remote communities, this has pushed Lingiari’s roll size ahead of Solomon.

Lingiari had almost 9,000 more electors on the roll as of December 2023. The gap between the two seats had continued to widen throughout 2023, so I suspect the gap would be even wider now. This means Lingiari had 5.8% more electors than the average enrolment.

Solomon will thus need to expand in territory. The most obvious place for this expansion is in the Palmerston area. This satellite city of Darwin is currently divided between Solomon and Lingiari, but had been completely contained in Solomon prior to the last redistribution (which was implemented not long after the 2016 election).

Antony has calculated that returning this area to Solomon, and thus unifying Palmerston in the urban electorate, would bring the two seats roughly in parity with each other. So I suspect that’s what they’ll do, and there won’t be much room for alternative proposals.

I’ve had some requests for a post on this topic, so here you have it.

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  1. thats what i was looking to do. orignally i would have c\moved cocos and christmas islands but the gap has widened since then

  2. The indicative timetable has been updated to say that the NT comments period will commence tomorrow, May 15th.

    The timetables for NSW/VIC/WA are still a bit vague, but my best guess is that the AEC will want to stagger everything week by week, so the schedule might be something like this:
    – WA: May 24th
    – VIC: May 31st
    – NSW: June 7th

  3. @John potentially but NSW has more seats than any other state or territory and it’s been nine years since the last federal redistribution in NSW. Victoria and WA both went through one last time which basically saw the opposite of what will happen now (Victoria gained a seat and WA lost one, now NSW and Victoria will both lose a seat each while WA will gain one).

    This will be a particularly interesting refs redistribution given that not only has NSW not undergone one for a while but the last redistributions have strongly favoured Labor and this time around they’ll favour the Coalition in NSW, which could quite possibly see Labor notionally lose its majority.

  4. It will also make some big calls as to what seats are targets in Sydney and the Lower Hunter. We seem to all agree that Paterson will become better for the Liberals and Hunter will become better for Labor, for example. Other closely-watched seats will include Bennelong, Chifley, Greenway, Hughes, Macquarie, Parramatta and Werriwa. We seem to all agree that Bradfield and North Sydney will be merged to create a new North Sydney (since North Sydney is a Federation seat, i.e it’s been used since the first federal election in 1901, it can’t be renamed, so Bradfield would lose its name in that scenario), which I think would make a notionally Liberal seat out of a merger of a Liberal seat (Bradfield) and a teal seat (North Sydney). Another seat might also be abolished to create a new seat in the Hawkesbury as I’ve proposed (if Macquarie loses the Hawkesbury it will be a safe Labor seat based on the Blue Mountains, which are very Labor-voting and had a strong Yes vote in the Voice referendum; and that new Hawkesbury seat would take in a few semi-rural Central Coast suburbs from Robertson to create a notionally safe Liberal seat).

  5. We also haven’t seen any seats renamed for a while (2019 was the last time when a few Melbourne seats were renamed, e.g Batman became Cooper and Melbourne Ports became Macnamara).

  6. @nether portal the redistribution should favour the libs in wa too although marginally because theyll get the new division and potentially make gains in cowan, pearce, curtin, swan and tangey although canning may become marginal as it will take in parts of the over quota brand, hasluck will probably strengthen for labor though. labor will lose its majority even without the redistribution. the redistribution in vic will probably be neutral as some seats will move towards labor others the liberals. and its been 7 years in nsw not 9.

  7. @nether portal really the only real reason to rename a seat is when it undergoes major boundary changes in my opinion or the name is no longer suitable due to namesake no longer being relevant

  8. The NT enrolment data has been released (alongside a new and improved design for the AEC website) and as expected, Palmerston will be able to be reunited in Solomon. By my calculations this would take Solomon from a projected enrolment deviation of -6.63% to a projected enrolment deviation of +2.31%.

  9. @John
    I was expecting NSW to be first also, but the timetable seems to suggest a slightly later period for the “Comments on Objections” phase (“Late June / early July 2024” for NSW instead of “Mid June / late June 2024” for VIC/WA).

    @Nether Portal
    I think you are correct in that it is a larger scale redistribution for NSW and might need more time than the others. I imagine that balancing the high rate of growth around the Camden area would take some time for the committee to deal with.

    Yes, looks like it was March 19th 2021 for both of those. Seems to indicate that this round is at least 1 month behind schedule in comparison.

  10. im not gonna bother with the nt redistribution seems like it is already clear cut on whats gonna happen and with 3 redistributions coming out il be focusing on my objections and counter proposals

  11. @angas id imagine they all may be relased at the same time. if you look at the timetable for determination wa is lsated first on 24th september nsw on 10th october and victoria last on 17th october

  12. suggestions close tonight 6pm. i for one didnt do this one as ive been too busy with the other 3 and i doubt there are many ways this cat can be skinned

  13. Agree John, I think this redistribution for NT will probably be a partial reversal of the previous one where outer Palmerston suburbs (Johnson, Farrer, Yarrawonga and potentially Zuccolli) are transferred from Lingiari into Solomon.

  14. @yoh tbh i dont thinkthe NT will be in effect come next election my predicition is Albo will go after the QLD election because at the rate the polls are going its only getting worse for him by may 2025 and the current trend is peter duttons friend

  15. @John @Yoh An
    Just had a quick read through the 6 submissions for Northern Territory. As predicted, the propsoal to unite all of Palmerston in Solomon was seems to be unanimous.

    One submission suggested that Cocos Islands/Christmas Island be transferred to Durack. That sounds reasonable, but would have to be done via legislation I believe.

    Hard to see the committee mucking this one up, so more time to focus on getting NSW/VIC/WA in order.

    Assuming that the NT boundaries don’t get finalised until March as planned, this could be an interesting micro-decision for Albanese in deciding when to call the election. Waiting until the transfer of Palmerston goes through will make Lingiari a little bit safer for Labor. I don’t if it’s possible to get the AEC to wrap up the process sooner, but they definitely don’t need 9 months to work through the relevant steps. So maybe the government can ask them to get it done by October like the others.


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