Proposed redistribution of Northern Territory into electoral divisions

Updated: 9 September 2016

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 names and proposed boundaries of proposed electoral divisions.

Redistribution Committee's proposed redistribution

  1. There are two components to the Redistribution Committee's proposed redistribution:
    • the names of the two proposed electoral divisions, and
    • where to draw the boundary between the two proposed electoral divisions.
  2. The Redistribution Committee proposes retaining the names of the Division of Lingiari and the Division of Solomon. This proposal is consistent with those suggestions received which advocated retaining the names of both electoral divisions.22
  3. The Redistribution Committee proposes altering the current boundary between the Divisions of Lingiari and Solomon such that:
    • the entirety of the Litchfield Municipality is located in the proposed Division of Lingiari, requiring the transfer of the suburbs of Holtze, Knuckey Lagoon, Mickett Creek and part of Shoal Bay from the Division of Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari, and
    • parts of the Palmerston Municipality are located in the proposed Division of Lingiari, requiring the transfer of the suburbs of Farrar, Johnston, Mitchell, Zuccoli and part of Yarrawonga from the Division of Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari.23
  4. As a result of these transfers, the proposed Division of Solomon will occupy a smaller geographic area than the current Division of Solomon, while the proposed Division of Lingiari will occupy a greater geographic area. The proposed Division of Lingiari will also continue to include the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Territory of Christmas Island, Groote Eylandt and the Tiwi Islands. Figure F shows the difference between the proposed and current boundaries for the two electoral divisions.

    Figure F: Comparison of current and proposed electoral division boundaries

    Comparison of current and proposed electoral division boundaries

    Note: This map shows selected SA2s of the Northern Territory.

    Description of proposed boundary: At its most northerly point, the proposed boundary starts at the Northern Territory coast and follows the border between the Darwin Municipality and the Litchfield Municipality to the intersection of McMillans Road and Vanderlin Road. The proposed boundary continues to follow the border between the Darwin and Litchfield Municipalities along Vanderlin Drive in a southerly direction to the intersection of Vanderlin Drive and the Stuart Highway.

    The proposed boundary continues following the border between the Darwin and Litchfield Municipalities, and the Palmerston and Litchfield Municipalities in a south-easterly direction along the Stuart Highway to the intersection with the suburb of Yarrawonga. From this point, the proposed boundary follows the eastern border of the suburbs of Palmerston City, Gunn, Bakewell (which follows Roystonea Avenue with the exception of the north-eastern corner of the suburb of Gunn when the suburb border deviates from Roystonea Avenue), Rosebery and Bellamack to Channel Island Road.

    The proposed boundary follows Channel Island Road in a southerly direction to the Elizabeth River. At this point, the proposed boundary follows the Elizabeth River in a north-westerly direction to the coast, and then follows the coast in a clockwise direction to the point at which the Darwin and Litchfield Municipality borders meet the coast.

  5. Figure G 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 of 64 786 electors. Figure H 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 of 70 688 electors at the projection time of Friday 7 August 2020.
  6. The Redistribution Committee considers that these movements will result in electoral divisions which:
    • can accommodate ongoing growth in the Northern Territory,
    • keep existing community of interests, as represented by local government areas, together where possible,
    • use strong and readily identifiable features, such as major roads, as boundaries, where possible, and
    • minimise the movement of electors between the two electoral divisions, where possible.
  7. This proposal is also consistent with parts of five of the six suggestions and the one comment on suggestions which proposed changes to the electoral divisions and boundaries. While each of the six suggestions and one comment on suggestions proposed changes to the boundaries, there was variation as to where the proposed boundary should be placed. The Redistribution Committee notes the proposal is consistent with:
    • the five suggestions which proposed changing the electoral divisions and boundaries to include all of the Litchfield Municipality in the proposed Division of Lingiari,24
    • the three suggestions and one comment on suggestion which proposed changing the electoral divisions and boundaries to include part of the City of Palmerston in the proposed Division of Lingiari,25
    • the three suggestions which proposed retaining the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Territory of Christmas Island in the proposed Division of Lingiari,26 and
    • the two suggestions which proposed retaining the Tiwi Islands in the proposed Division of Lingiari.27

    Figure G: Proposed Divisions of Lingiari and Solomon – enrolment as at Thursday 15 October 2015, current enrolment quota and permissible range of electors

    Proposed Divisions of Lingiari and Solomon – enrolment as at Thursday 15 October 2015, current enrolment quota and permissible range of electors

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

    Figure H: Proposed Divisions of Lingiari and Solomon – projected enrolment as at Friday 7 August 2020, projected enrolment quota and permissible range of electors

    Proposed Divisions of Lingiari and Solomon – projected enrolment as at Friday 7 August 2020, projected enrolment quota and permissible range of electors

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

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 H).

Proposed names of electoral divisions in the Northern Territory

  1. Of the six suggestions and one comment on suggestion received by the Redistribution Committee, four suggestions advocated retaining the names of both electoral divisions.28 In supporting retention of the names of 'Lingiari' and 'Solomon', those making suggestions noted:
    • these names honour distinguishable, unique and well deserving Australians,29 and
    • the names are accepted by the community.30
  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 strong reasons to change the existing names of electoral divisions in the Northern Territory have not been provided and that 'Lingiari'31 and 'Solomon'32 have been used as the names of electoral divisions in the Northern Territory since the establishment of two electoral divisions on Thursday 21 December 2000.33
  3. The Redistribution Committee proposes retaining the names of both of the current electoral divisions.

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 proposed 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. Local government area boundaries, locality and suburb boundaries, main roads, waterways and other linear features able to be used as boundaries guided the Redistribution Committee, where appropriate.
  4. The Redistribution Committee noted that a range of methods could be applied to achieve a proposed redistribution outcome for the Northern Territory. Suggestions proposed moving between, approximately, 1.54 and 48.82 per cent of electors into a different electoral division.
  5. The six suggestions received by the Redistribution Committee fell into three categories:
    • minimise the number of electors to be moved between electoral divisions by moving parts of the Litchfield Municipality and northern Darwin from the Division of Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari,34
    • minimise the number of electors to be moved between electoral divisions by moving parts of the Litchfield Municipality and parts of the Palmerston Municipality from the Division of Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari,35 or
    • redrawing the two electoral divisions such that parts of Darwin and Alice Springs are incorporated into each proposed electoral division.36
  6. Those making suggestions argued for the maintenance and/or strengthening of community of interest, the provision of clear and strong boundaries based on recognisable features and consideration of the means of communication and travel within the proposed electoral divisions.
  7. In complying with the requirements of the Electoral Act, the Redistribution Committee also sought to apply the following principles in developing the boundaries of the proposed electoral divisions:
    • minimise the movement of electors between electoral divisions as much as possible,
    • utilise the location of the existing electoral division boundary as a starting point,
    • avoid splitting Statistical Area 1s (SA1s)37, where possible,
    • follow cadastral boundaries,38 where possible,
    • keep to administrative boundaries, where possible, and
    • avoid separating cultural groups, where possible.
  8. 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 Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari. The Redistribution Committee choose to minimise the number of electors to be moved by transferring parts of the Litchfield Municipality and parts of the Palmerston Municipality from the Division of Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari. This approach enables the entirety of the Litchfield Municipality to be united in the proposed Division of Lingiari instead of being split across two electoral divisions, as occurs with the current electoral divisions. The Redistribution Committee notes the eastern side of the Palmerston Municipality is a growth area, with the suburbs located in this area sharing a strong relationship with the towns of Howard Springs and Virginia.39 For these reasons, together with the existence of readily identifiable boundaries, the Redistribution Committee proposes locating the entirety of the suburbs of Farrar, Johnston, Mitchell, Yarrawonga and Zuccoli,40 which are on the eastern side of the Palmerston Municipality, in the proposed Division of Lingiari.
  9. Table F outlines the extent of elector movements resulting from the proposed electoral divisions.
    Table F: Summary of movement of electors between proposed electoral divisions
      Number Percentage
    Electors transferred to another electoral division 2 680 2.07%
    Electors remaining in their existing electoral division 126 891 97.93%
    Total 129 571 100.00%
  10. In making this proposal, the Redistribution Committee also notes that section 56A of the Electoral Act requires the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Territory of Christmas Island to be included in the same electoral division of the Northern Territory. The Redistribution Committee decided to retain the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Territory of Christmas Island in the proposed Division of Lingiari.

Proposed redistribution of the Northern 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 Northern Territory, Table G presents:
    • initial enrolment based on enrolment figures as at Thursday 15 October 2015,
    • percentage variation from the current enrolment quota,
    • projected enrolment as at Friday 7 August 2020,
    • percentage variation from the projected enrolment quota, and
    • the approximate area of each proposed electoral division.
    Table G: Summary of proposed electoral divisions
    Proposed electoral division Enrolment as at Thursday 15 October 2015 Projected enrolment as at Friday 7 August 2020 Approximate area
    Number Percentage variation from the current enrolment quota Number Percentage variation from the projected enrolment quota
    Lingiari 64 552 -0.36% 69 914 -1.09% 1 348 157.94 km2
    Solomon 65 019 0.36% 71 462 1.09% 190.61 km2
    Total 129 571   141 376    
  2. Statistical summaries of the proposed electoral divisions are provided in Appendix J.
  3. The Redistribution Committee's proposed electoral divisions are discussed in greater detail in the following paragraphs.

Proposed Division of Lingiari

  1. The proposed Division of Lingiari shares boundaries with the proposed Division of Solomon, and the Divisions of Kennedy and Maranoa in Queensland, the Division of Grey in South Australia and the Divisions of Durack and O'Connor in Western Australia.
  2. Enrolment in the current Division of Lingiari on Friday 7 August 2020 is projected to be 67 024 electors. The Division of Lingiari must therefore gain at least 1 190 electors, or up to 6 138 electors, from the existing Division of Solomon for it to fall within the permissible range for the maximum and minimum number of electors in an electoral division at the projection time.
  3. The Redistribution Committee proposes altering the current boundary of the electoral division such that:
    • the entirety of the Litchfield Municipality is located in the proposed Division of Lingiari, requiring the transfer of the suburbs of Holtze, Knuckey Lagoon, Mickett Creek and part of Shoal Bay from the Division of Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari, and
    • parts of the Palmerston Municipality are located in the proposed Division of Lingiari, requiring the transfer of the suburbs of Farrar, Johnston, Mitchell, Zuccoli and part of Yarrawonga from the Division of Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari.41
  4. Making this alteration will lead the proposed Division of Lingiari to gain 2 680 projected electors. This results in a projected enrolment for the proposed electoral division of 69 914 electors at Friday 7 August 2020, or a variation from the projected enrolment quota of minus 1.09 per cent.
  5. The proposed Division of Lingiari will consist of:
    • the Alice Springs Municipality, Barkly Shire, Belyuen Community Council, Central Desert Shire, Coomalie Community Government Council, East Arnhem Shire, Katherine Municipality, Litchfield Municipality, MacDonnell Shire, Roper Gulf Shire, Victoria Daly Shire, Wagait Shire, West Arnhem Shire and West Daly Region,
    • the towns of Alyangula, Nhulunbuy and Yulara,
    • the unincorporated areas north and east of Litchfield Municipality, south-east of Coomalie Shire, and west of Litchfield and Palmerston Municipality,
    • part of the Palmerston Municipality, specifically the suburbs of Farrar, Johnston, Mitchell, Yarrawonga and Zuccoli,
    • Tiwi Islands,
    • Groote Eylandt,
    • the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and
    • the Territory of Christmas Island.
  6. The major Northern Territory townships located in the proposed Division of Lingiari are Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Nhulunbuy.

Proposed Division of Solomon

  1. The proposed Division of Solomon shares a boundary with the proposed Division of Lingiari – see Figure F.
  2. Enrolment in the current Division of Solomon on Friday 7 August 2020 is projected to be 74 352 electors. A net reduction of at least 1 190 electors, or up to 6 138 electors, is therefore required for this electoral division to fall within the permissible range for the maximum and minimum number of electors in an electoral division at the projection time.
  3. The Redistribution Committee proposes altering the current boundary of the electoral division such that:
    • the entirety of the Litchfield Municipality is located in the proposed Division of Lingiari, requiring the transfer of the suburbs of Holtze, Knuckey Lagoon, Mickett Creek and part of Shoal Bay from the Division of Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari, and
    • parts of the Palmerston Municipality are located in the proposed Division of Lingiari, requiring the transfer of the suburbs of Farrar, Johnston, Mitchell, Zuccoli and part of Yarrawonga from the Division of Solomon to the proposed Division of Lingiari.
  4. Making this alteration will transfer 2 680 projected electors out of the Division of Solomon. This results in a projected enrolment for the proposed electoral division of 71 462 electors at Friday 7 August 2020, or a variation from the projected enrolment quota of plus 1.09 per cent.
  5. The proposed Division of Solomon will consist of:
    • the Darwin Municipality,
    • the Palmerston Municipality, with the exception of the suburbs of Farrar, Johnston, Mitchell, Yarrawonga and Zuccoli, and
    • the unincorporated areas of the Darwin Rates Act Area and East Arm.

  1. Retaining the names of both electoral divisions was advocated by: S2 – Jeff Waddell, S4 – Darren McSweeney, S5 – Country Liberals (Northern Territory), and S6 – Warren Snowdon MHR on behalf of the Australian Labor Party.
  2. On the current boundary, the suburb of Yarrawonga is located in both the Division of Lingiari and the Division of Solomon.
  3. This matter was referred to by: S1 – Martin Gordon, S2 – Jeff Waddell, S3 – Dr Mark Mulcair, S4 – Darren McSweeney and S5 – Country Liberals (Northern Territory).
  4. This matter was referred to by: S2 – Jeff Waddell, S3 – Dr Mark Mulcair, S4 – Darren McSweeney, S5 – Country Liberals (Northern Territory) and CS1 – Darren McSweeney.
  5. This matter was referred to by: S1 – Martin Gordon, S4 – Darren McSweeney and S5 – Country Liberals (Northern Territory).
  6. This matter was referred to by S4 – Darren McSweeney and S5 – Country Liberals (Northern Territory).
  7. Retaining the names of both electoral divisions was advocated by: S2 – Jeff Waddell, S4 – Darren McSweeney, S5 – Country Liberals (Northern Territory), and S6 – Warren Snowdon MHR on behalf of the Australian Labor Party.
  8. S4 – David McSweeney
  9. S5 – Country Liberals (Northern Territory)
  10. The Division of Lingiari is named in honour of Vincent Lingiari OAM 1908–88, who was a member of the Gurindji people from the Victoria River District.
  11. The Division of Solomon is named in honour of Vaiben Louis Solomon 1853–1908, who has been described as the Northern Territory's founding father of federation.
  12. The names and boundaries of the Divisions of Lingiari and Solomon were determined via publication of a notice in the Gazette on Thursday 21 December 2000. The first members to represent these divisions were elected at the general election on Saturday 10 November 2001.
  13. This approach was advocated by: S1 – Martin Gordon and S5 – Country Liberals (Northern Territory).
  14. This approach was advocated by: S2 – Jeff Waddell, S3 – Dr Mark Mulcair and S4 – Darren McSweeney
  15. This approach was advocated by S6 – Warren Snowdon MHR on behalf of the Australian Labor Party
  16. See Appendix G for a discussion of how the AEC uses SA1s. SA1s are the smallest unit at which ABS makes available disaggregated Census data. At the time of the 2011 Census, there were 54 805 SA1s with populations in the range of 200 – 800. SA1s, which are part of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard, are defined by the ABS and remain stable between censuses. The SA1s currently in use were defined for the 2011 Census.
  17. Cadastral boundaries are the boundaries of private and public properties and land parcels, including Crown land.
  18. This point was also made by CS1 – Darren McSweeney.
  19. On the current boundary, the suburb of Yarrawonga is located in both the Division of Lingiari and the Division of Solomon.
  20. A small part of the suburb of Yarrawonga is located in the current Division of Lingiari.
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