Electoral Newsfile 92: 2000 Redistribution of Federal Electoral Boundaries Proposals for Northern Territory announced

Updated: 5 December 2007

On 23 December 1999, the Electoral Commission directed that a redistribution of electoral boundaries commence in the Northern Territory, as a result of changes in population. The redistribution process was outlined in Electoral Newsfile number 88.

The Redistribution Committee for the Northern Territory has announced its proposals for the names and boundaries of the redistributed federal Electoral Divisions in the Northern Territory. This followed a public consultation process, which resulted in the receipt of five suggestions and four comments on the suggestions.

The redistribution is required as a result of population changes. The Northern Territory will be entitled to two Members of the House of Representatives at the next general election.

In the formation of its proposals the Redistribution Committee was mindful of its obligations to address the criteria in Sections 66(3)(a) and (b) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. These require that each proposed Division is kept as close as practicable to projected average enrolment and that the Committee takes into account communities of interest, communication and transport links, natural features and current boundaries.

The proposed Divisions

The Northern Territory is experiencing moderate levels of growth. The Darwin CBD and adjoining suburbs, Palmerston and some rural areas close to Darwin have the highest growth rates. Most of the remainder of the Northern Territory is projected to have growth rates at or below the Territory average.

The Committee chose to achieve the redistribution of the Northern Territory from one to two Divisions by proposing to create an urban Division centred on Darwin and a second Division incorporating the remainder of the Northern Territory and the Territories of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island.

A map outlining the proposed Divisions, and a statistical summary for each Division.

Names of proposed Divisions

The Redistribution Committee received a broad range of suggested names for the proposed Divisions. The Committee considered the names submitted and proposed that the Divisions be named 'Solomon' and 'Lingiari'.

The proposed Division of Solomon is named after Vaiben Louis Solomon (1853–1908). Mr Solomon has been described as the Northern Territory's founding father of federation. Mr Solomon served as a member or Mayor of the Palmerston District Council for 17 years. In 1880 Mr Solomon was elected to the Territory seat in the South Australian House of Assembly. Mr Solomon was an active member of the 1887 and 1898 Constitutional Conventions that led to the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia. Between 1901 and 1903 Mr Solomon was elected as one of the first Members of the House of Representatives as the member for the South Australian seat that included the Northern Territory.

The proposed Division of Lingiari is named after Vincent Lingiari OAM (1908–1988). Mr Lingiari, a member of the Gurindji people from the Victoria River District, was a stockman and land rights leader who worked for many years to improve conditions for Aboriginal people working on cattle stations. In 1966 Mr Lingiari led a walk-off of about 200 Aboriginal stockmen and their families from the Wave Hill Station, which resulted in the establishment of an Aboriginal community at Wattie Creek. Mr Lingiari, as a representative of his people, sought a homeland for the Gurindji people. His efforts were rewarded in a land grant of 3 200 square kilometres, which included Wattie Creek, to the Gurindji people in 1975. Mr Lingiari was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to the Aboriginal people.

Further information

The proposed redistribution was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette, the Northern Territory News, the Tennant and District Times, and the Centralian Advocate on 28 April 2000 and the Katherine Times on 3 May 2000.

The Redistribution Committee's report, including a detailed map, was published on 28 April 2000. The report is available for inspection at the Northern Territory Divisional Office of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), the AEC's Head Office in each capital city and its Central Office in Canberra.

For the address of the nearest Australian Electoral Commission office, please ring 13 23 26 (cost of a local call).

The report and outline maps can also be viewed at the AEC's website, www.aec.gov.au.

Further public consultation

Interested people or organisations may lodge written objections against the proposed redistribution with the AEC. Objections must be received by 6pm, Friday 26 May 2000 at:

Street:
Australian Electoral Commission
9th Floor AANT Building, 79-81 Smith St Darwin, NT, 0800
PH: (08) 8982 8000
FAX: (03) 6234 4268

Postal:
Australian Electoral Commission
GPO Box 21, Darwin, NT, 0801

These objections will be available for public inspection at the office of the Australian Electoral Officer for the Northern Territory from 9am on Monday 29 May 2000. Any comments on the objections must be received at the office of the Australian Electoral Officer for the Northern Territory by 6pm on Monday 9 June 2000.

All objections and comments will be considered by the augmented Electoral Commission, which consists of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, The Hon Trevor Morling QC; the non-judicial Commissioner, Mr Bill McLennan AM, Australian Statistician; and the Redistribution Committee for the Northern Territory.

The augmented Electoral Commission may hold public hearings and, if necessary, will make a revised proposal. The augmented Electoral Commission will also consider any further objections lodged in response to a revised proposal, and will then make a final determination of Divisional boundaries and names. Details of the determination will be published and tabled in Federal Parliament. The final determination is not subject to appeal. The new boundaries will come into effect at the next general election.

What is a redistribution?

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

A quota is used to determine the number of Divisions to which each State and Territory is entitled. At the time of a redistribution, the number of people enrolled in each new electoral Division may not vary from the State or Territory average by more than 10%. The boundaries are drawn so that after 3.5 years (31 March 2004 for the Northern Territory), the number of people enrolled in each Division should not vary from the State or Territory average by more than 3.5%.

Map showing proposed electoral boundaries for the division of Solomon

Map showing proposed electoral boundaries for the division of Lingiari

What causes a redistribution?

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 defines three triggers that can cause a redistribution. A redistribution is held when:

  1. there is a change in the State or Territory's entitlement to Members of the House of Representatives; or
  2. the number of electors in more than one-third of the Divisions in a State or in one of the ACT Divisions deviates from the average Divisional enrolment by more than 10 percent in three consecutive months; or
  3. seven years has elapsed since the State or Territory was last redistributed.
STATISTICAL SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED DIVISIONS
Proposed Name of Division Number of electors at 23 December 1999 % above or below quota Projected enrolment at 31 March 2004 % above or below average enrolment at 31 March 2004 Area
(sq km)
Soloman 52455 -4.61 60369 -2.37 325.85
Lingiari 57522 4.61 63304 2.37 1347849.48
Average 54989 61836.5 674087.67
Totals 109977 123.673 1348175.33
DETERMINATION OF QUOTA AT 23 DECEMBER 1999
Number of Divisions into which the Northern Territory is to be redistributed 2
Number of electors enrolled in the Northern Territory 109 977
Quota for the Northern Territory 54 989
Maximum number of electors (+10%) in a Division 60 487
Minimum number of electors (-10%) in a Division 49 491

At the midpoint of the expected life of the redistribution, the number of people enrolled in each Division should be within plus or minus 3.5% of the projected average enrolment.

ENROLMENT PROJECTIONS FOR 31 MARCH 2004
Number of Divisions into which the Northern Territory is to be redistributed 2
Projected number of electors in the Northern Territory 123 673
Projected average enrolment 61 837
Projected average enrolment plus 3.5% 64 001
Projected average enrolment minus 3.5% 59 673

Australian Electoral Commission Contacts

Central Office

Electoral Commissioner (02) 6271 4400
Andy Becker

Deputy Electoral Commissioner (02) 6271 4410
Mark Cunliffe (acting)

Director, Information
Anthea Wilson (acting) (02) 6271 4415

Assistant Directors, Information
Bernadette O'Meara (02) 6271 4548
Silvana Puizina (02) 6271 4431

Editor, Newsfile
Margaret Meneghel (02) 6271 4505

Redistribution Secretariat Wayne Seymour (02) 6271 4688

State/Territory Offices

The administration of federal elections and referendums are under the control of the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for that State or Territory.

AEOs may be contacted on the following numbers.
New South Wales
Frances Howat
Ph. (02) 9375 6333
Fx. (02) 9281 9384
South Australia
Geoff Halsey
Ph. (08) 8237 6555
Fx. (08) 8231 2664
Victoria
David Muffet
Ph. (03) 9285 7171
Fx. (03) 9285 7178
Tasmania
Alex Stanelos
Ph. (03) 6235 0500
Fx. (03) 6234 4268
Queensland
Bob Longland
Ph. (07) 3834 3400
Fx. (07) 3831 7223
Northern Territory
Paul Anderson (acting)
Ph. (08) 8981 1477
Fx. (08) 8981 7964
Western Australia
Andrew Moyes
Ph. (08) 9470 7299
Fx. (08) 9472 3551

NATIONAL ENQUIRY SERVICE 13 23 26

Further Information

The AEC produces a range of information materials for political parties, journalists and other people interested in the electoral process.

These are available from all AEC offices and the AEC internet website.