A redistribution is a redrawing of electoral boundaries.
A redistribution seeks to ensure that, as nearly as practicable, there are an equal number of electors in each electoral division for a given state or territory. Electoral boundaries are redrawn (or redistributed) with the aim that in three years and six months after the completion of the redistribution the number of electors in each division in a State or Territory will vary by no more than 3.5% from the average divisional enrolment for that State or Territory.
A redistribution is required when:
Twelve months after the first meeting of the newly elected House of Representatives, the Electoral Commissioner ascertains the population of the Commonwealth (excluding the territories) using the latest official statistics published by the Australian Statistician. The Commissioner then makes a determination of the number of parliamentary representatives to which each state is entitled. A similar exercise is used to calculate the entitlements of the territories.
The last entitlement determination was made on 29 September 2011. A total of 150 seats will be contested at the next federal election for the House of Representatives in accordance with the following table.
|New South Wales||48 seats|
|Western Australia||15 seats|
|South Australia||11 seats|
|Australian Capital Territory||2 seats|
|Northern Territory||2 seats|
The determination is published within 13 months after the first sitting of the next House of Representatives.
A separate Redistribution Committee is established for each State or Territory in which a redistribution has commenced. The Commonwealth Electoral Act requires that each Redistribution Committee must consist of the following people:
Each Committee has the task of producing a proposed set of boundaries and names for electoral divisions for the House of Representatives in that particular State or Territory.
After the formal commencement of the redistribution, the Electoral Commissioner determines the enrolment quota for the state or territory being redistributed. The quota is calculated by dividing the number of electors enrolled in the state or territory by the number of members of the House of Representatives to be elected at a general election.
The Redistribution Committee for the state or territory is appointed by the Electoral Commission.
The Electoral Commissioner invites interested persons or organisations to lodge suggestions with the Redistribution Committee within 30 days.
The suggestions are then made available for public inspection. Interested persons or organisations may lodge written comments on the suggestions within a further 14 days.
The Redistribution Committee then considers the written suggestions and comments and develops a set of proposed boundaries. The Redistribution Committee is required to ensure that the enrolment in each proposed division does not deviate from the enrolment quota by more or less than 10%.
The Committee's proposal must also ensure that at the projection date (usually 3 years and six months after the redistribution is completed), the enrolment of each division does not deviate from the projected enrolment quota by more or less than 3.5%.
The Proposed Redistribution Report is published and maps showing the suggested boundaries and names are publicly exhibited.
The public has 28 days to lodge written objections to the proposals. This is followed by a period of 14 days during which interested persons and organisations may lodge written comments on the objections.
An augmented Electoral Commission is established to consider objections to the Proposed Redistribution and to make a final determination of the names and boundaries of the Electoral Divisions for the state or territory. The augmented Electoral Commission consists of members of the Redistribution Committee plus the Chairperson of the Australian Electoral Commission and the non-judicial Commissioner (currently the Australian Statistician). The augmented Electoral Commission has 60 days to consider objections (including initial and any further objections). After considering any objections, the augmented Electoral Commission will make its own proposed redistribution of the state or territory.
If the augmented Electoral Commission's proposed redistribution is significantly different from that proposed by the Redistribution Committee, it will invite interested persons and organisations to lodge further objections.
Following consideration of all objections the augmented Electoral Commission will make a final determination of the names and boundaries of the electoral divisions in the state or territory. The decision of the augmented Electoral Commission is final although it can be challenged in the courts if there is an error of law.
A Redistribution Committee must develop a set of proposals for dividing each state or territory into a number of divisions equal to its entitlement in the House of Representatives. In developing its proposals, the Committee must remain within the numerical quotas for current and projected enrolment. The Committee also shall give due consideration to:
Boundaries are drawn so that, as far as practicable, three and a half years after the redistribution has been completed, the enrolment in each electoral division should not vary from the State average by more than 3.5%. Note that the Electoral Act provides separate provisions for the projection time if another redistribution is expected sooner than seven years.
The augmented Electoral Commission for the state or territory considers any objections and makes the final determination. The final report of the augmented Electoral Commission is tabled in the parliament.
Maps of current electoral boundaries are available from the AEC's State Offices located in each state and territory capital city, Divisional Offices in each electorate and the National Office. Maps can also be viewed and printed from this website.
Electors affected by changes to divisional boundaries will be notified of this change before the next federal election.
The enrolment of new electors and changes to existing enrolments are implemented immediately following the 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.
Note: 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 writ for an election was issued before the completion of a redistribution and there was no change to the number of electoral divisions for the state or territory, the election would be contested on the old boundaries. The work of the Redistribution Committee would continue irrespective of the election.
If the writ for an election was issued before the completion of a redistribution which was occurring due to a change of entitlement, a mini-redistribution would be held (The Electoral Act s.76). A mini-redistribution takes place as follows:
The member who was elected at the last federal election will continue to represent you.
At the time of the next federal election, the candidates then nominate to be elected for the redistributed boundaries.
Please see the Redistribution Timetable.