Information paper

Updated: 22 February 2011

What is the purpose of this federal redistribution?

The redistribution aims to ensure that there are equitable numbers of electors in each federal electoral division in South Australia in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).

Why is this redistribution being held in South Australia?

The Electoral Act requires that the Electoral Commission commence a redistribution if a period of seven years has elapsed since the state was last distributed into electoral divisions (paragraph 59(2)).

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 South Australia was determined on 17 December 2003.

Therefore the redistribution of federal electoral boundaries in South Australia commenced on 12 January 2011. South Australia's entitlement to representation in the House of Representatives remains unchanged at 11 members.

Who organises the proposed redistribution of federal electoral boundaries?

A Redistribution Committee will be appointed to produce a proposed set of boundaries and names for electoral divisions in South Australia. The Redistribution Committee will comprise:

  • the Electoral Commissioner, Mr Ed Killesteyn
  • the acting Australian Electoral Officer for South Australia, Ms Claire Witham
  • the State Surveyor-General and
  • the Auditor-General for the State

What are the steps in the redistribution process?

Enrolment quota

The enrolment quota for the purposes of the South Australian redistribution is 100 636. The quota was calculated by dividing the number of electors enrolled in South Australia on 12 January, when the redistribution started, by the number of Members of the House of Representatives to be elected at the next general election (11).

The number of electors in each federal division in a proposed redistribution must not deviate from this quota by more than 10%. Therefore, each electoral division must have between 90 573 and 110 699 electors.

In addition, the projected number of electors enrolled in each federal division in South Australia as at 21 January 2015 should not deviate from the projected average divisional enrolment at that time by more than 3.5%. These figures will be available on the AEC website in early April 2011.

Lodging suggestions

Interested persons or organisations will be invited to lodge suggestions about the South Australia redistribution with the Redistribution Committee. This advertisement is scheduled to appear in the Gazette on 6 April and in the press on 9 April.

Public suggestions must be received by the AEC in Adelaide by 6pm (CST) Friday 6 May. The suggestions will be published on this website on Monday 9 May. A two week period then follows when comments on suggestions can be submitted.

The comment period closes at 6pm (CST) Friday 20 May.

The redistribution proposal

The Redistribution Committee will then consider the written suggestions and comments and develop a set of proposed boundaries. The Electoral Act requires the Redistribution Committee to ensure that the enrolment in each proposed division meets the numerical requirements outlined above.

Also, in developing its proposal, the Committee shall give due consideration to:

  • communities of interest within the proposed division, including economic, social and regional interests
  • means of communication and travel within the proposed division
  • physical features and area of the proposed division and
  • existing boundaries of divisions in South Australia. (This last criterion is subordinate to the others.)

When the Redistribution Committee has finished its deliberations, it will publish a report and maps which will detail the proposed boundaries and provide reasons for the proposal. It is anticipated that the proposal for South Australia will be published on 12 August. This date is subject to change and updates will be provided on the AEC website.

The proposed redistribution will be notified in the Gazette and in the press, and objections to the proposal will be invited. Members of the public have 28 days to lodge written objections to the proposal.

This is followed by a period of 14 days during which interested persons and organisations may lodge written comments on the objections. The objections and comments on objections will be published on this website.

Objections to the proposed redistribution

An augmented Electoral Commission will then convene to consider objections to the proposed redistribution and to make a final determination of the names and boundaries of the electoral divisions in South Australia. The augmented Electoral Commission comprises the members of the Redistribution Committee together with 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 all objections relating to the proposal. As part of its deliberations, the augmented Electoral Commission holds one or more public inquiries into the objections. After considering the objections, the augmented Electoral Commission will make its own proposed redistribution for South Australia. It is anticipated that the augmented Electoral Commission will announce its proposal on 21 October.

If the augmented Electoral Commission’s proposed redistribution is significantly different from that proposed by the Redistribution Committee, it will invite further objections.

Final determination of names and boundaries

Following consideration of all objections the augmented Electoral Commission will make a final determination of the names and boundaries of the electoral divisions.

At this stage the determination date is scheduled for 16 December 2011. A redistribution report explaining the final outcomes, and maps, will be publicly released after being tabled in Parliament.

When do the new boundaries come into effect?

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 after the determination date.

What if a federal election is held before the redistribution process is completed?

The normal redistribution process will continue regardless of a federal election.

A mini-redistribution is not invoked because South Australia's entitlement to Members in the House of Representatives (11) has not changed.

Does the elected member for a division remain the member following a redistribution that effects that division?

For the purposes of electoral representation, the elected Member for a division remains the Member of their current division until the next federal election after the redistribution is determined.

Does the federal redistribution impact on the redistribution of state electoral boundaries, which is also scheduled for 2011?

No, the federal redistribution and the state redistribution are separate exercises, governed by different legislation and timeframes, and are not related.

Want more information?

Further information about the redistribution process is available by contacting the Redistribution Secretariat at