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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Redistribution Committee has the task of producing a proposed set of boundaries of electoral divisions for the House of Representatives in Victoria.
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:
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).
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.
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.
The redistribution is expected to be completed by the end of November 2002.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Redistribution Committee for Victoria is appointed by the Electoral Commission.
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.
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.
Following the publication of the proposed redistribution, there is a period of 28 days within which objections to the proposed redistribution may be lodged.
There is a period of 14 days in which interested people and organisations may make comment on any objections.
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).
After it has considered all the objections lodged, the augmented Electoral Commission will make its own proposed redistribution.
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.
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.
|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
|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)
|Redistribution Committee for Victoria
Mr Andy Becker
|Ph. (02) 6271 4400|
|Australian Electoral Officer for Victoria
Mr Daryl Wight
|Ph. (03) 9285 7100|
Mr Terry Rushton
|Ph. (02) 6271 4468|
Mr John Pepper
|Ph. (03) 9285 7134|
Information and Research
Mr Brien Hallett
|Ph. (02) 6271 4477|
Ms Melanie James
|Ph. (02) 6271 4415|
Ms Bernadette O'Meara
|Ph. (02) 6271 4529|
|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|