Essential information about the ACT federal redistribution

Updated: 4 September 2017

Why is the ACT undergoing a redistribution?

The ACT is undergoing a redistribution because the number of members of the House of Representatives it is entitled to has increased from two to three as a result of a determination made by the Electoral Commissioner on Thursday 31 August 2017.

Sub-section 59(2) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) specifies that a redistribution process should be undertaken when:

  • the number of members of the House of Representatives to which a state or territory is entitled has changed, or
  • the number of electors in more than one-third of the electoral divisions in a state (or one of the electoral divisions in the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory) deviates from the average divisional enrolment by over ten per cent for a period of more than two months, or
  • a period of seven years has elapsed since the last redistribution process was determined.

The redistribution formally commenced on Monday 4 September 2017.

How many federal electoral divisions will there after the redistribution?

The ACT is now entitled to three federal electoral divisions, which is an increase of one from the current two electoral divisions.

Where will the new electoral division be?

Individuals and organisations are able to propose where the new electoral division should be located at two stages of the redistribution process:

  • the suggestions and comments on suggestions stage, and
  • the objections and comments on objections stage.

The Redistribution Committee will consider any ideas it receives in suggestions and comments on suggestions advocating the location of a new federal electoral division and in their proposed redistribution will indicate where the new electoral division is to be located, together with reasons for the proposal.

Individuals and organisations can object to the Redistribution Committee's proposed new electoral division. Objections may agree or disagree with the Redistribution Committee’s proposal. Any ideas received in objections and comments on objections advocating for a particular location of the new federal electoral division will be considered by the augmented Electoral Commission for the ACT, who is ultimately responsible for determining the federal electoral divisions in the ACT.

Will the boundaries of the current electoral divisions change?

Electoral divisions are required to fall within two numerical ranges:

  • the number of electors enrolled in each federal electoral division as at Monday 4 September 2017 must be between minus 10 per cent and plus 10 per cent of the current enrolment quota of 96,115
    • The number of electors enrolled in each federal electoral division in the ACT must therefore be between 86,504 and 105,726.

  • as far as practicable, the projected number of electors enrolled in each federal electoral division in the ACT at the projection time of Thursday 13 January 2022 would be between minus 3.5 per cent and plus 3.5 per cent of the projected enrolment quota of 96,699.
    • As far as practicable, the number of electors projected to be enrolled in each federal electoral division in the ACT at the projection time of Thursday 13 January 2022 would be between 96,210 and 103,188.

Abolishing an electoral division will, of necessity, result in significant elector movement away from the abolished electoral division and will also require consequential boundary changes and elector movements across the state to ensure that all electoral divisions remain within the two numerical ranges.

Creating an electoral division will, of necessity, require consequential boundary changes and elector movements across the state to ensure that all electoral divisions remain within the two numerical ranges.

Do all the ACT federal electoral divisions meet the requirement?

No. On the boundaries in place on Monday 4 September 2017, the two ACT federal electoral divisions do not meet this requirement.

Electoral division Enrolment as at Monday 4 September 2017 Projected enrolment at Thursday 13 January 2022 Is the requirement met?
Canberra 145,771 147,616 No
  • Current enrolment for the Division of Canberra is more than 10 per cent over the current enrolment quota
  • Projected enrolment for the Division of Canberra is more than 3.5 per cent over the projected enrolment quota
Fenner 142,575 151,481 No
  • Current enrolment for the Division of Fenner is more than 10 per cent over the current enrolment quota
  • Projected enrolment for the Division of Fenner is more than 3.5 per cent over the projected enrolment quota

What is the result of requirement not being met?

Inserting a new electoral division into the ACT will require that the two electoral divisions are divided into three. To do this, approximately one-third of the electors in each of the Divisions of Fenner and Canberra will be placed in the new electoral division in order to ensure that the ACT will have three electoral divisions which will meet the numerical requirements.

What will the name of the new electoral division be?

Ideas as to what the new electoral division should be called are sought.

Individuals and organisations are able to propose names for electoral divisions at two stages of the redistribution process:

  • the suggestions and comments on suggestions stage, and
  • the objections and comments on objections stage.

The Redistribution Committee will consider any ideas it receives in suggestions and comments on suggestions advocating a new name for a federal electoral division and in their proposed redistribution will indicate what their proposed name of the new electoral division is, together with reasons for the proposal.

Individuals and organisations can object to the Redistribution Committee's proposed name of the new federal electoral divisions. Objections may agree or disagree with the Redistribution Committee’s proposal. Any ideas received in objections and comments on objections advocating a change of name for the new federal electoral division will be considered by the augmented Electoral Commission for the ACT, who is ultimately responsible for determining the names of the federal electoral divisions in the ACT.

Will the names of the current electoral divisions change?

The names of the current electoral divisions may or may not change.

Individuals and organisations are able to propose alternative names for electoral divisions at two stages of the redistribution process:

  • the suggestions and comments on suggestions stage, and
  • the objections and comments on objections stage.

The Redistribution Committee will consider any ideas it receives in suggestions and comments on suggestions advocating a change of name for a federal electoral division and in their proposed redistribution will indicate whether it has or has not proposed changing the name of a federal electoral division, together with reasons for the proposal.

Individuals and organisations can object to the Redistribution Committee's proposed names of federal electoral divisions. Objections may agree or disagree with the Redistribution Committee’s proposal. Any ideas received in objections and comments on objections advocating a change of name for a federal electoral division will be considered by the augmented Electoral Commission for the ACT, who is ultimately responsible for determining the names of the federal electoral divisions in the ACT.

Information about the names of current federal electoral divisions in the ACT

How do current electoral division names meet the guidelines for naming electoral divisions?

The Guidelines for naming federal electoral divisions 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. These guidelines are non-binding but may be referred to by the Redistribution Committee for the ACT or the augmented Electoral Commission for the ACT to assist with their decision making process.

The extent to which the names of the ACT's current federal electoral divisions meet these guidelines is displayed below. 

Electoral division Is the electoral division named for a prominent person? Is the electoral division named for an Australian Prime Minister? Is the electoral division name that of an original Federation electoral division? Is the electoral division named for a geographical feature? Is the electoral division named for an aboriginal person or word?
Canberra No No No Yes Yes
Fenner Yes No No No No

Canberra

Origins of name

The Division of Canberra is a locality name derived from an Aboriginal word which is held to mean 'meeting place'.

Creation of electoral division

The first electoral division of this name was created on 19 April 1974 and was first represented in 1974.

More information

Information about the name of Canberra can be found by conducting a place names search on the ACT place names website.

Fenner

Origins of name

The Division of Fenner is named for Professor Frank Fenner AC CMG MBE FAA FRS FRACP FRCP, 1914–2010, eminent scientist of national and international renown who made significant contributions to improving the wellbeing of humanity.

Creation of electoral division

The first electoral division of this name was created on 26 January 2016 and was first represented in 2016.

More information

Biographical information about Frank Fenner from the Obituaries Australia website.

When will the redistribution come into effect?

Changes to federal electoral divisions as a result of this redistribution will apply from the day on which a notice of determination is published in the Commonwealth Notices Government Gazette. This notice will be published on 13 July 2018.

Electoral events will not be contested on these new federal electoral divisions until a writ is issued for a general election following the expiry or dissolution of the House of Representatives.

Should a writ for a general election be issued before the notice of determination is published, a mini-redistribution will be conducted.  For further information, see:

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