Proposed redistribution of the Australian Capital Territory into electoral divisions

Updated: 11 September 2015

Chapter 2 - Proposed redistribution and reasons for proposal

This chapter outlines the Redistribution Committee's proposed redistribution and the reasons for this proposal. Also included is the Redistribution Committee's approach to formulating the proposed boundaries and the names of electoral divisions.

Redistribution Committee's proposed redistribution

  1. There are two components to the Redistribution Committee's proposed redistribution:
    • where to draw the boundary between the two proposed electoral divisions, and
    • the names of the two proposed electoral divisions.
  2. The Redistribution Committee notes, as demonstrated in Figure E, that the current electoral divisions do not satisfy the projected enrolment criterion and therefore must change. To meet this criterion, the Redistribution Committee proposes transferring the following areas from the Division of Fraser to the Division of Canberra:
    • Acton
    • Black Mountain Nature Reserve
    • Campbell
    • City
    • Reid
    • Russell
    • parts of Barton, Braddon, Parkes, Pialligo, Turner, the District of Molonglo Valley and the
      District of Majura.
  3. Figure F shows that, on the proposed boundaries, the number of electors enrolled in both proposed electoral divisions meet the requirement to be not less than 90 per cent or more than 110 per cent of the current enrolment quota. Figure G shows that, on the proposed boundaries, the number of electors projected to be enrolled in both proposed electoral divisions meet the requirement to be not less than 96.5 per cent or more than 103.5 per cent of the projected enrolment quota at the projection time of Sunday 28 July 2019.
Figure F: Proposed Divisions of Canberra and Fenner – enrolment as at Monday 1 December 2014, current enrolment quota and permissible range of electors
Proposed Divisions of Canberra and Fenner – enrolment as at Monday 1 December 2014, current enrolment quota and permissible range of electors

Source: Available from www.aec.gov.au/act-redistribution

Figure G: Proposed Divisions of Canberra and Fenner – projected enrolment as at Sunday 28 July 2019, projected enrolment quota and permissible range of electors
Proposed Divisions of Canberra and Fenner – projected enrolment as at Sunday 28 July 2019, projected enrolment quota and permissible range of electors

Source: Available from www.aec.gov.au/act-redistribution

  1. The external boundary of the two proposed electoral divisions, the Australian Capital Territory/New South Wales border, is retained. Figures H and I show the difference between the proposed and current boundaries for the two electoral divisions.
  2. The Redistribution Committee considers that these movements will result in electoral divisions which:
    • can accommodate ongoing growth in the north of the Australian Capital Territory, while allowing for future growth in the south,
    • maintains the existing community of interest between Braddon and the City, and
    • uses strong boundaries of major roads where possible.
  3. This proposal is also consistent with parts of the five suggestions and one comment on suggestions which proposed changes to the electoral divisions and boundaries. While each of these proposed including City in the Division of Canberra,12 there was variation as to whether all or part of those suburbs immediately surrounding City should be included in the Division of Canberra or the Division of Fraser. The Committee notes that four suggestions proposed incorporating all or part of the suburbs or districts of Acton, Braddon, Campbell, Molonglo Valley, Reid and Turner into the Division of Canberra.
Figure H: Comparison of current and proposed electoral division boundaries
Comparison of current and proposed electoral division boundaries

Note: – proposed boundary between the proposed Divisions of Canberra and Fenner
– current boundary between the current Divisions of Canberra and Fraser
This map shows selected locations, suburbs and districts of the Australian Capital Territory.

  1. The proposed boundary is the same as the current boundary from the point at which the Murrumbidgee River intersects the western territory/state border, continuing along the river as it turns into the Molonglo River up until the point it meets the north-western border of the District of Molonglo Valley. From this junction, the proposed boundary differs from the current boundary.
  2. The proposed boundary follows the north-western border of the District of Molonglo Valley to William Hovell Drive, where it continues east along this road to the intersection of William Hovell Drive and Caswell Drive. From this intersection, the proposed boundary encompasses Black Mountain Reserve by continuing north along Caswell Drive to the intersection of Belconnen Way, at which point the proposed boundary heads in an east/south-easterly direction along Belconnen Way and Barry Drive to the point at which Barry Drive intersects Frith Road. The proposed boundary proceeds east along Frith Road to the intersection with Dryandra Street. The proposed boundary proceeds in a south-easterly direction along Dryandra Street to the intersection of David Street, where it proceeds along David Street until it meets Sullivan's Creek. The proposed boundary then follows Sullivans Creek in a south-easterly direction to the northern boundary of Haig Park.
  3. The proposed boundary continues along the northern side of Haig Park along Greenway Street
    and Henty Street to Limestone Avenue. From this junction, the boundary proceeds in a south-easterly direction along Limestone Avenue to the border of the suburb of Campbell.
    The proposed boundary proceeds in a north-eastern and then south-eastern direction along the borders of the suburb of Campbell to the point at which it intersects with Fairbairn Avenue. From this point, the proposed boundary follows Fairbairn Avenue to the point at which it intersects with Pialligo Avenue. The proposed boundary follows Pialligo Avenue in an east/south-easterly direction until the intersection with Yass Road. It then follows Yass Road in a south-easterly direction until it meets the territory/state border.
  4. The Redistribution Committee decided to retain the current name of the Division of Canberra and proposes the Division of Fraser should be renamed 'Fenner', in recognition of Professor Frank Fenner. This proposal is consistent with those suggestions received which advocated changing the name of the Division of Fraser, although it should be noted that the name adopted is not one which was contained in the suggestions or comments on suggestions which were made.13
Figure I: Proposed Divisions of Canberra and Fenner
Proposed Divisions of Canberra and Fenner

Note: – proposed boundary between the proposed Divisions of Canberra and Fenner
– current boundary between the current Divisions of Canberra and Fraser
Shading indicates the proposed Division of Fenner
The Jervis Bay Territory, which is included in current Division of Fraser and in the proposed Division of Fenner, is located
on the south coast of New South Wales.
This map shows the districts of the Australian Capital Territory.

Redistribution Committee's approach to formulating proposed electoral boundaries

  1. The Redistribution Committee's strategy for formulating the proposed electoral boundaries was based on, and conforms to, the requirements of the Electoral Act.
  2. The Redistribution Committee acknowledged the importance of the principle of relative equality of the number of electors in electoral divisions and the flexibility provided by the numerical tolerances contained in the Electoral Act. The Redistribution Committee considered that, where necessary, the use of these tolerances allowed it to construct electoral divisions which addressed all other criteria.
  3. Within the limits imposed by the numerical criteria and the other considerations, the Redistribution Committee acknowledged that it is also highly desirable that electoral boundaries be readily recognisable. Locality boundaries, main roads, waterways and other linear features able to be used as boundaries, guided the Redistribution Committee, where appropriate.
  4. In formulating the redistribution proposal, the Redistribution Committee noted that, in order to meet the requirements of the Electoral Act, it was required to move electors from the current Division of Fraser to the current Division of Canberra. Table F outlines the extent of elector movements resulting from the proposed boundaries.
Table F: Summary of movement of electors between proposed electoral divisions
  Number Percentage
Electors remaining in their existing electoral division 259 398 96.21
Electors transferred to another electoral division 10 226 3.79
Total 269 624 100.00
  1. In making this proposal, the Redistribution Committee also notes that sub-section 66(4) of the Electoral Act requires the whole of the Jervis Bay Territory be included in one proposed electoral division of the Australian Capital Territory. The Redistribution Committee decided to retain the Jervis Bay Territory in the proposed Division of Fenner (the current Division of Fraser).

Redistribution Committee's approach to naming electoral divisions

  1. The naming of federal electoral divisions has been the subject of a number of recommendations from parliamentary committees. The 'Guidelines for naming federal electoral divisions' (the guidelines) were developed by the AEC from recommendations made by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in 1995 in its Report on the Effectiveness and Appropriateness of the Redistribution Provisions of Parts III and IV of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. The guidelines were offered to interested persons when this redistribution was advertised, and are publicly available on the AEC website (see Appendix G).

Renaming of electoral divisions

  1. With the exception of one suggestion, each of the suggestions and comments on suggestions received by the Redistribution Committee advocated:
    • changing the name of the current Division of Canberra,14
    • changing the name of the current Division of Fraser, and/or
    • co-naming the Division of Fraser.15
  2. The decision to alter the name of an electoral division is not one which is taken lightly, with the guidelines noting that the names of electoral divisions should not be changed or transferred to new areas without very strong reasons. The Redistribution Committee notes that 'Canberra' and 'Fraser' have been used as the names of electoral divisions in the Australian Capital Territory since the establishment of the two electoral divisions in 1974.
  3. Table G displays the two alternative names proposed in suggestions and comments on suggestions for the current Division of Canberra and the five alternative names proposed for the current Division of Fraser. While noting the contribution to Australian society of those individuals submitted for its consideration and the general relevance of all names submitted, the Redistribution Committee considered it was first required to determine whether the name of each current electoral division should be changed or retained.
Table G: Proposed new names for the Division of Canberra and Division of Fraser
Current name of electoral division Proposed new name

Canberra

Namadgi – is an established name in the south of Canberra from the former Division of Namadgi (1994–1997)

Whitlam – in honour of the late Prime Minister, the Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC (1916–2014) and his father Harry Frederick Whitlam (1884–1961)

Fraser

Burley Griffin – in honour of Walter Burley Griffin (1876–1937) and Marion Mahony Griffin (1871–1961), the distinguished architects and designers of the city plan of Canberra

Molonglo – the river that forms much of the boundary between the existing Divisions of Canberra and Fraser

Ngunnawal – after the local indigenous inhabitants of the Canberra area

Canberra – A locality name derived from an Aboriginal word which is held to mean 'meeting place'

Overall – in honour of the late Sir John Wallace Overall (1913–2001)

  1. With respect to the current Division of Canberra, the Redistribution Committee considered the guidelines and observed:
    • the current electoral division is not named after a deceased Australian who has rendered outstanding service to their country but is named after a locality,
    • 'Canberra' is not the name of an original federation electoral division, and
    • 'Canberra' is not itself an Aboriginal word, but is derived from an Aboriginal word which is held to mean 'meeting place'.16
  2. Consideration was then given by the Redistribution Committee as to whether there were very strong reasons to change the name of the Division of Canberra. The Redistribution Committee was divided on this question, with two members considering there were strong reasons to change the name and two members considering there were not. The question was resolved after the presiding member, being one who considered there were not strong reasons to change, made a casting vote.17 This decision, which resulted in the Division of Canberra retaining its current name, was respected by all members of the Redistribution Committee as being due process.
  3. While this is the case, the name proposed for the Division of Canberra by those who considered there were very strong reasons to change was ‘Churcher’ to recognise the significant contribution made by Betty Churcher AO to the arts, particularly in the field of arts administration and education, and to the community through her service as Director of the National Gallery of Australia. During her seven year tenure as the National Gallery's first female Director, Ms Churcher presided over 12 international exhibitions. Ms Churcher was an administrator, painter, teacher of art and art history, author and television presenter who in 2003 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
  4. With respect to the current Division of Fraser, the Redistribution Committee was unanimous in deciding:
    • the Division of Fraser should not be co-named in honour of both the former member for the Australian Capital Territory, James Fraser, and the former Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. John Malcolm Fraser AC CH, and
    • the Division of Fraser should be renamed.
  5. In deciding to rename the Division of Fraser, the Redistribution Committee was mindful of the suggestions and comments on suggestions which proposed altering the name of the Division of Fraser to enable the name 'Fraser' to be used as the name of a Victorian federal electoral division in honour of the former Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. John Malcolm Fraser AC CH, in the future. The Redistribution Committee notes that such an approach would be consistent with the guideline that consideration should be given to naming electoral divisions after former Prime Ministers. By making this change, the Redistribution Committee has made this option available to future Redistribution Committees.
  6. The Redistribution Committee would like to recognise and acknowledge the significant contribution made by the former member for the Australian Capital Territory, James Fraser, to the community, including as:
    • member of the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council (1949–51),
    • the Member for the Australian Capital Territory in the House of Representatives (1951–70), and
    • Vice-Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Australian Capital Territory
      (1957–70).
  7. In addition to the five names in Table G, the Redistribution Committee considered using the name of one of the individuals identified in Appendix H as the new name for the current Division of Fraser. The Redistribution Committee unanimously proposes renaming the Division of Fraser to 'Fenner' in honour and recognition of the contribution of the distinguished scientist Professor Frank Fenner AC, CMG, MBE, FAA, FRS, FRACP, FRCP. Professor Fenner was a renowned virologist whose major achievements, the eradication of smallpox, control of Australia's rabbit plague through the use of the myxoma virus and his work on malaria in Papua New Guinea, have helped reduce human suffering.
  8. The Redistribution Committee also considers that 'Fenner' is an appropriate name for a division located in the Australian Capital Territory, given Professor Fenner's long association with the Australian National University. In 1949 he was appointed Foundation Professor of Microbiology at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, becoming Director of the school in 1967, and was the foundation Director of the Centre for Resources and Environmental Studies in 1973.
  9. Professor Fenner received many prestigious awards during his lifetime acknowledging his contributions to science, including:
    • Copley Medal of the Royal Society (1995)
    • Japan Prize (1988)
    • Albert Einstein World Award for Science (2000)
    • Centenary Medal (2001)
    • Clunies Ross Lifetime Contribution National Science and Technology Award (2002)
    • Prime Minister's Prize for Science (2002).

Proposed redistribution of the Australian Capital Territory – by electoral division

  1. The Redistribution Committee has examined each proposed electoral division, giving due consideration to the requirements of the Electoral Act. For each of the proposed electoral divisions in the Australian Capital Territory, Table H presents:
    • initial enrolment based on enrolment figures as at Monday 1 December 2014,
    • percentage variation from the current enrolment quota,
    • projected enrolment as at Sunday 28 July 2019,
    • percentage variation from the projected enrolment quota, and
    • the approximate area of each proposed electoral division.
Table H: Summary of proposed electoral divisions
Proposed electoral division Enrolment as at Monday 1 December 2014 Percentage variation from the current enrolment quota Projected enrolment as at Sunday 28 July 2019 Percentage variation from the projected enrolment quota Approximate area (sq. kms)
Canberra 138 233 2.54 146 643 1.52 1 967.24
Fenner 131 391 -2.54 142 251 -1.52 458.50
Total 269 624   288 894   2 425.74
  1. Statistical summaries of the proposed electoral divisions are provided in Appendix J.

Proposed Division of Canberra

  1. Projected enrolment in the existing Division of Canberra is 135 838. The Division of Canberra must gain at least 3 553 electors, or up to 13 665, to fall within the acceptable numerical tolerances.
  2. The Redistribution Committee proposes the current boundary of the electoral division be adjusted such that electors resident in the area immediately adjacent to the northern side of Lake Burley Griffin and the inner north are no longer included in the proposed Division of Fenner but are instead included in the proposed Division of Canberra, as shown in Figures H and I.
  3. This results in a projected enrolment for the proposed division of 146 643 or a variation from the projected enrolment quota of plus 1.52 per cent.

Proposed Division of Fenner

  1. Projected enrolment in the existing Division of Fraser is 153 056. A net reduction of at least 3 553 electors, or up to 13 665, is required for this division to fall within the acceptable numerical tolerances.
  2. The Redistribution Committee proposes altering the current boundary of the electoral division such that electors resident in the area immediately adjacent to the northern side of Lake Burley Griffin and the inner north are no longer included in the proposed Division of Fenner but are instead included in the proposed Division of Canberra.
  3. This results in a projected enrolment for the proposed division of 142 251 or a variation from the projected enrolment quota of minus 1.52 per cent.

  1. The five suggestions which proposed boundary changes are: S1 – Martin Gordon; S4 – Jeff Waddell; S5 – Warrick Gzric; S6 – Mark Mulcair; S7 – Darren McSweeney (see Appendix C). Proposed boundary changes are also found in CS1 – Mark Mulcair (see Appendix D).
  2. Changing the name of the Division of Fraser was advocated in: S2 – Michael Hedger; S4 – Jeff Waddell; S5 – Warrick Gzric;
    S6 – Mark Mulcair; S7 – Darren McSweeney; CS1 – Mark Mulcair (see Appendix C and Appendix D).
  3. S3 – David Ray (see Appendix C)
  4. S6 – Mark Mulcair, S8 – David Wedgwood and CS2 – David Wedgwood (see Appendix C and Appendix D)
  5. The National Capital Authority factsheet The Early History of the ACT (available at: www.nationalcapital.gov.au), notes:
    The local Aboriginal people were referred to by early white writers as the 'Kamberra', 'Kghambury', 'Nganbra' and 'Gnabra', all of which share some resemblance to 'Canberra' – the name of the capital announced at the Foundation Stone Ceremony by Lady Denman on 12 March 1913. There is little doubt that 'Canberra' is an anglicised version of the Aboriginal words, which is said to mean 'meeting place'.
  6. Sub-section 62(7) of the Electoral Act provides that the member presiding at a meeting of a Redistribution Committee has a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of votes, also has a casting vote.