Australian Electoral Commission

Guidelines for naming federal electoral divisions

Updated: 17 February 2015

Determining the names of federal electoral divisions is part of the process of conducting a federal redistribution within a state or territory.

The criteria used by redistribution committees to propose the names of electoral divisions, and used by augmented electoral commissions to determine the names of electoral divisions, have previously been the subject of recommendations from the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. From these recommendations, a set of guidelines were developed as a point of reference only.

It should be noted that redistribution committees and augmented electoral commissions are in no way bound by the guidelines.

Naming after persons

In the main, divisions should be named after deceased Australians who have rendered outstanding service to their country.

When new divisions are created the names of former Prime Ministers should be considered.

Federation Divisional names

Every effort should be made to retain the names of original federation divisions.

Geographical names

Locality or place names should generally be avoided, but in certain areas the use of geographical features may be appropriate (e.g. Perth).

Aboriginal names

Aboriginal names should be used where appropriate and as far as possible existing Aboriginal divisional names should be retained.

Other criteria

  • The names of Commonwealth Divisions should not duplicate existing State Districts.
  • Qualifying names may be used where appropriate (e.g. Melbourne Ports, Port Adelaide).
  • Names of divisions should not be changed or transferred to new areas without very strong reasons.
  • When two or more divisions are partially combined, as far as possible the name of the new division should be that of the old division which had the greatest number of electors within the new boundaries. However, where the socio-demographic nature of the division in question has changed significantly, this should override the numerical formula.

Further information