Electoral Newsfile 106: 2002 Victorian Redistribution Process Commences

Updated: 23 March 2011

A redistribution of federal electoral boundaries commenced in Victoria in January 2002. This edition of Electoral Newsfile examines the redistribution process and explains the steps involved in drawing the new boundaries. Following amendments in 1998 to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, some aspects of the process have changed since the last redistribution of electoral boundaries in Victoria, which was conducted in 1994.

What is a redistribution?

A redistribution is the redrawing of electoral boundaries to ensure that there are, as near as possible, the same number of electors in each electoral division.

Why is a redistribution occurring in Victoria?

A redistribution of Federal election boundaries in Victoria is now due as seven years have elapsed since the last redistribution. In accordance with section 59 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Electoral Commission has directed that a redistribution commence.

When did the redistribution commence?

The Commonwealth Electoral Act requires a redistribution to commence within 30 days after the expiration of the seven year period. As Victoria was last redistributed on 20 December 1994, this redistribution commenced on 18 January 2002.

What is the enrolment quota?

The enrolment quota is the average number of electors in each Division. This figure is calculated by dividing the total number of electors enrolled in Victoria by the number of divisions into which Victoria is to be divided.

The enrolment quota for the 2002 Victorian redistribution process is 88 093 electors, calculated on 18 January 2002.

Who redistributes the electoral boundaries?

The Commonwealth Electoral Act requires that a Redistribution Committee be appointed for each State or Territory to be redistributed.

The Electoral Commission will appoint a Redistribution Committee for Victoria. In accordance with the Act the Committee will consist of:

  • The Electoral Commissioner (Mr Andy Becker)
  • The Australian Electoral Officer for Victoria (Mr Daryl Wight)
  • The Surveyor General for Victoria (Mr Keith C Bell RFD)
  • The Auditor General of Victoria (Mr Wayne Cameron)

The Redistribution Committee has the task of producing a proposed set of boundaries of electoral divisions for the House of Representatives in Victoria.

What criteria are used to draw boundaries?

The Redistribution Committee must develop a set of proposals for dividing Victoria into a number of divisions equal to Victoria's entitlement to Members of the House of Representatives. Currently Victoria has an entitlement to 37 Members.

In developing its proposals, the Committee must:

  • consider public suggestions and comments;
  • as far as possible, ensure that three years and six months after the redistribution, no division will deviate by over 3.5 percent from the average divisional enrolment at that time; and
  • take into consideration for each proposed division:
    1. community of interests within the division, including economic, social and regional interests;
    2. means of communication and travel within a division;
    3. the physical features and area; and
    4. the boundaries of existing divisions in the State.

Consideration of existing boundaries is subordinate to the other considerations outlined above.

The Committee may allow for an initial maximum margin of ten percent above or below the average divisional enrolment (but still aim for no more than 3.5 percent deviation in three and a half years time).

What is the three and a half year rule?

Boundaries are drawn so that, as far as possible, three and a half years after the redistribution, the enrolment in each electoral division should not vary from the State average by more than 3.5 percent.

Who makes the final decision?

An augmented Electoral Commission (see below) for Victoria is convened to consider any objections and to make the final determination of boundaries and names.

This decision is not subject to appeal or amendment. Parliament has no power to reject or amend the final determination of an augmented Electoral Commission. However the final report of the augmented Electoral Commission is tabled in the Parliament for the information of Members and Senators.

When is the redistribution due to be completed?

The redistribution is expected to be completed by the end of November 2002.

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 Victoria's existing boundaries.

The redistribution process

A redistribution is carried out in accordance with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. There are a number of steps, including opportunities for public participation, as detailed below.

Quota of electors is struck

After the formal commencement of the redistribution, the enrolment quota is struck. The quota is determined by the Electoral Commissioner by dividing the number of electors enrolled in the State, by the number of Members of the House of Representatives to be elected in the State at a general election.

Public suggestions invited

Before the Redistribution Committee makes its proposal, any interested people or organisations who wish to make suggestions regarding the redistribution have 30 days to forward them in writing to the Redistribution Committee.

Appointment of Redistribution Committee

The Redistribution Committee for Victoria is appointed by the Electoral Commission.

Comments on the public suggestions

The suggestions are made available for public inspection by the Australian Electoral Officer for Victoria. Interested people or organisations may make comments on these suggestions. Any comments must be lodged in writing within 14 days.

The initial redistribution proposal

After considering the written suggestions and comments, the Redistribution Committee makes a proposed redistribution of Federal electoral boundaries for Victoria.

Maps showing the proposed boundaries and names of divisions are published and exhibited at all AEC divisional offices in Victoria, the AEC Head Office in Melbourne, and in the Central Office in Canberra.

Objections to the proposed redistribution

Following the publication of the proposed redistribution, there is a period of 28 days within which objections to the proposed redistribution may be lodged.

Comments on objections

There is a period of 14 days in which interested people and organisations may make comment on any objections.

Objections considered by the augmented Electoral Commission

Objections to the proposed redistribution are considered by the augmented Electoral Commission for Victoria. The augmented Electoral Commission consists of the members of the Redistribution Committee plus the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mr Trevor Morling QC and the non-judicial Commissioner, Mr Dennis Trewin (the Australian Statistician).

The second redistribution proposal

After it has considered all the objections lodged, the augmented Electoral Commission will make its own proposed redistribution.

Further objections

If the augmented Electoral Commission's proposed redistribution is significantly different from the proposal made by the Redistribution Committee, the augmented Electoral Commission may invite further objections.

The augmented Electoral Commission has 60 days after the closing date for receipt of initial objections to consider those objections, make its own redistribution proposals and consider any further objections.

Final determination

After considering all submissions the augmented Electoral Commission will make a final determination of boundaries and names of the electoral divisions for Victoria.

Please note that the exact dates on the timetable on page 4 are subject to confirmation and may differ slightly within the constraints of the legislative requirements.

The redistribution timetable
Australian Electoral Commission directs redistribution to commence Electoral Commissioner invites written suggestions from public Appointment of Redistribution Committee 18 January 2002
20 March 2002
To be advised
Public suggestions
Closing date for suggestions 30 days
19 April 2002
Suggestions available for public comments
Closing date for written comments 14 days
3 May 2002
Redistribution Committee considers suggestions and comments and develops a set of boundary proposals No time specified
Redistribution Committee publishes and exhibits maps showing proposed boundaries and names No time specified
Public objections to proposals
Closing date for written objections 28 days
Objections available for public comments
Closing date for written comments 14 days
Augmented Electoral Commission considers objections and makes final proposal (open hearings) 60 days
Final determination As soon as practicable
(Expected end of November 2002)
AEC contacts
Redistribution Committee for Victoria
Electoral Commissioner
Mr Andy Becker
Ph. (02) 6271 4400
Australian Electoral Officer for Victoria
Mr Daryl Wight
Ph. (03) 9285 7100
Redistribution Secretariat
Canberra
Mr Terry Rushton
Ph. (02) 6271 4468
Melbourne
Mr John Pepper
Ph. (03) 9285 7134
Central Office
Assistant Commissoner,
Information and Research
Mr Brien Hallett
Ph. (02) 6271 4477
Director Information
Ms Melanie James
Ph. (02) 6271 4415
Editor, Newsfile
Ms Bernadette O'Meara
Ph. (02) 6271 4529
Head Offices
New South Wales Ph. (02) 9375 6333
Victoria Ph. (03) 9285 7171
Queensland Ph. (07) 3834 3400
Western Australia Ph. (08) 9470 7299
South Australia Ph. (08) 8237 6555
Tasmania Ph. (03) 6235 0500
Northern Territory Ph. (08) 8981 1477