The redistribution of federal electoral boundaries in Victoria commenced on 1 February 2010. Victoria is entitled to 37 members in the House of Representatives.
The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) provides that the Electoral Commission shall commence a redistribution of a State if a period of seven years has elapsed since the State was last distributed into Electoral Divisions (paragraph 59(2)). That paragraph of the Electoral Act also provides that the redistribution must be commenced within 30 days after the expiration of that seven year period. The last redistribution of Victoria was determined on 29 January 2003. Therefore the redistribution of Victoria must be commenced during a period starting 29 January 2010.
Subsection 59(4) of the Electoral Act provides that if the period of seven years after the day on which the last determination was made (29 January 2003) expires within one year before the expiry of the House of Representatives by effluxion of time, the redistribution is deferred. As the current House of Representatives is due to expire by effluxion of time on 11 February 2011, the time periods specified in paragraph 59(2)(c) and subsection 59(4) of the Electoral Act do not overlap and subsection 59(4) would not apply in this case.
A direction to commence a redistribution cannot be made within one year before the expiry of a House of Representatives (subsection 59(3) of the Electoral Act). As a result, the Electoral Commission must commence the redistribution in Victoria between 29 January 2010 and 10 February 2010.
The enrolment of new electors and changes to existing enrolments are implemented immediately following the redistribution determination of new boundaries. However, for the purpose of electing members of Parliament, the new boundaries do not come into effect until the next federal election.
If a by-election is held prior to the next federal election, the by-election will be conducted on existing boundaries not the redistributed boundaries.
If the writs for a federal election are issued before the completion of the Victorian redistribution, the election will be contested on the current boundaries. The redistribution process would continue irrespective of the election.
Further information about redistributions can be viewed at the redistribution FAQ.