Australian Electoral Commission

Guidelines for naming divisions

Updated: 20 July 2011

Naming of federal divisions has been the subject of a number of recommendations from Parliamentary Committees, including the 1995 Inquiry of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. From these recommendations, a set of guidelines or conventions has been developed and these are referred to by Redistribution Committees and augmented Electoral Commissions.

The guidelines are used in situations where divisions are to be created or where divisions are to be abolished during a redistribution process and are offered to interested persons in the advertising of redistributions.

It should be noted that neither Redistribution Committees nor augmented Electoral Commissions are in any way bound by the guidelines, which are reproduced below:

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