Electoral Newsfile 69: 1997 Redistribution of Federal Electoral Boundaries - Final Boundaries for the Australian Capital Territory

Updated: 7 December 2007

On 28 Febuary 1997, the Electoral Commissioner, Mr Bill Gray, determined that as a result of population changes between the States and Territories, the representative entitlement of the Australian Capital Territory in the House of Representatives would change. As a result of this determination, the Australian Capital Territory will lose a seat at the next general election. Further details of the 1997 redistribution process of the ACT are in Electoral Newsfile numbers 62 and 63.

The augmented Electoral Commission for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has finalised the new federal electoral boundaries for the territory.

The Commission has substantially adopted the boundaries and names of the two electoral divisions as proposed by the Redistribution Committee for the ACT, apart from one minor change.

Electoral Newsfile number 63 (July 1997) outlined the proposals of the Redistribution Committee for the ACT. The augmented Commission reviewed the Redistribution Committee's proposals and considered the three public objections which were lodged against the proposal.

Objections process

Of the three objections lodged against the redistribution proposal, two argued that the name of Namadgi be retained in preference to Canberra. The third objection argued for the areas of Jerrabomberra, Oaks Estate and Harman to be included in the Division of Fraser and that all of Red Hill be located in the Division of Canberra.

The augmented Commission formed the opinion that the matters raised in the objections were the same or substantially the same as matters that were raised in the suggestions and comments lodged with the Redistribution Committee and did not warrant the holding of an inquiry into these objections.

In reviewing the objections against the retention of the name of Canberra, the Commission decided on balance to retain the name as it had been identified with one of the electorates in the ACT for the past 23 years.

In considering the objection lodged against the proposed boundaries, the Committee adopted the proposal to locate the suburb of Red Hill in the Division of Canberra. It was concluded that this achieved the objective of retaining whole suburbs within the one division if at all possible and recognised the community of interest argument.

Conclusions of the augmented Commission

As a result of the objections process, the augmented Electoral Commission made one minor change to the Committee's original proposal. The final boundaries will differ from the proposal in that the suburb of Red Hill will be located in its entirety in the Division of Canberra

The augmented Commission concluded that its final proposal was not significantly different from the Redistribution Committee proposal and, therefore, the 1997 ACT redistribution process was concluded without the need for further objections or hearings.

Summary of movement of electors between divisions

Number of electors remaining in their previous Division: 103 775 (50.7%)

Number of electors transferred to another Division: 100 826 (49.3%)

Final determination of ACT divisions

The final boundaries and names of the two ACT divisions are as follows:

Division of Canberra

The new Division of Canberra contains the whole of Weston Creek, Woden Valley, Stromlo, Tuggeranong, Oaks Estate, the south Canberra suburbs of Yarralumla, Parkes, Forrest, Deakin, Red Hill and the remainder of the ACT to the south and west of the Murrumbidgee River. It also includes those Norfolk Island residents entitled to enrol in the ACT.

Division of Fraser

The new Division of Fraser contains the whole of Belconnen, Gungahlin, Hall, North Canberra, Majura, Kowen, the south Canberra suburbs of Barton, Kingston, Griffith, Narrabundah, Fyshwick, and the Jervis Bay Territory.

Maps outlining the boundaries of the two ACT divisions are available in this Newsfile edition.

A final report on the 1997 ACT redistribution process will be available after it has been tabled in the 1998 Autumn sitting of Parliament. The names of the two divisions and the new boundaries are not subject to appeal or review by Parliament.

When do the new boundaries come into effect?

The new boundaries come into effect at the next general election for Federal Parliament. Any by-elections held prior to the next general election will be conducted on existing boundaries.

What is a redistribution?

A redistribution is a redrawing of electoral boundaries to ensure that, as nearly as practicable, there are the same number of electors in each Division for a given State or Territory.

A quota is used to determine the number of Divisions each State and Territory is entitled to.

At the time of the redistribution, the number of people enrolled in each electoral Division may not vary from the quota by more or less than 10 percent. The boundaries are also drawn with the aim that three and a half years after the redistribution, the number of people enrolled in each Division should be within plus or minus two percent of the average.

What causes a redistribution?

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 defines three triggers that can cause a redistribution:

  1. when the number of parliamentary representatives to which a State or Territory is entitled has changed; or
  2. when the number of electors in more than one-third of the Divisions in a State or in one of the Divisions in the ACT deviates from the average Divisional enrolment by more or less than 10 per cent in three consecutive months; or
  3. when seven years have elapsed since the last redistribution.

Previous redistributions in the ACT

In 1991, a redistribution was triggered in the ACT as seven years had elapsed since the last redistribution. This resulted in a redrawing of the boundaries of the two existing Divisions.

In the 1994 redistribution of federal electoral boundaries, the ACT gained a third seat in the House of Representatives (the Division of Namadgi) as a result of population changes.

The 1997 redistribution of the ACT was also triggered by population changes, and resulted in the territory's entitlement in the House of Representatives being reduced to two seats.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY STATISTICAL SUMMARY

Determination of Quota at 30 May 1997
Number of Divisions into which the Australian Capital Territory is to be distributed 2
Number of electors enrolled in the Australian Capital Territory 204 601
Quota for the Australian Capital Territory 102 301
Permissible maximum number of electors in a Division 112 531
Permissible minimum number of electors in a Division 92 071
Enrolment Projections as at March 2001
Projected enrolment in the Australian Capital Territory 216 017
Average divisional enrolment for the Australian Capital Territory 108 009
Number of electors 2% above average projected enrolment 110 169
Number of electors 2% below average projected enrolment 105 848
Statistical summary of the divisions
Name of division Number of electors at 30 May 1997 % Above or below quota Projected enrolment at 31 March 2001 % Above or below average enrolment at 31 March 2001
Canberra 104 282 1.94 108 213 0.19
Fraser 100 319 -1.94 107 804 -0.19

STEPS IN THE 1997 ACT REDISTRIBUTION PROCESS

28 February 1997 – Redistribution triggered

The Electoral Commissioner, Mr Bill Gray, determined that as a result of population changes between the States and Territories, the representative entitlement of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in the House of Representatives would change. As a result of this determination, the ACT will lose a seat at the next general election.

9 April – Redistribution Committee appointed

The Redistribution Committee was appointed for the ACT redistribution.

16 April – Public suggestions and comments invited

The Redistribution Committee invited public suggestions regarding the redistribution.

16 May – Suggestions closed

The Redistribution Committee received nine suggestions from the public on the drawing of the boundaries.

30 May – Comments on suggestions closed and Quota struck

Following the suggestions period, comments on the suggestions were accepted for a 14–day period, ending on 30 May. Four comments on the suggestions were received.

The Electoral Commissioner determined the Quota of electors in the ACT to be 102 301.

28 July – Proposal of Redistribution Committee and objections invited

Detailed maps showing the proposed boundaries and names of Divisions, statistical tables and the Committee's reasons were published. The Committee proposed that the existing divisional names of Canberra and Fraser be retained over Namadgi.

The official Gazette notice inviting objections against the proposal was also published, with a closing date of 25 August.

25 August – Objections closed

The Redistribution Committee received three objections against its proposal. The augmented Commission formed the opinion that the matters raised in the objections were the same or substantially the same as matters that were raised in the suggestions and comments lodged with the Redistribution Committee and did not warrant the holding of an inquiry into these objections.

10 December – Redistribution determined

Having considered the proposed redistribution and the objections, the augmented Electoral Commission for the ACT decided that, except for one minor change arising from the objections process, the Committee's proposals were warranted and announced its decision to that effect.

The augmented Electoral Commission's determination was published in the Gazette on 10 December and a final report has been tabled in Parliament.

Augumented Electoral Commission for the Australian Capital Territory

Chairperson Hon Trevor Morling QC

Electoral Commissioner Mr Bill Gray AM

Non-Judicial member Mr Bill McLennan AM

Senior Divisional Returning Officer for the ACT Mr Stephen McDonald

Commonwealth Surveyor General Mr Peter Holland

Governor General's Nominee Mr Bill Nelson

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