Steps in the redistribution process

Updated: 13 November 2014

A Redistribution Committee is appointed for the state or territory in which a redistribution has commenced.

The Redistribution Committee consists of the Electoral Commissioner, the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for that state or territory (except for the ACT where the senior Divisional Returning Officer for the territory is a member), the Surveyor-General and the Auditor-General for that state or territory.

The Redistribution Committee is supported by a small secretariat of staff from the Australian Electoral Commission.

The redistribution timetable outlines the timing of the legislatively required steps in the redistribution process.

Enrolment quota

There are two enrolment quotas calculated during the redistribution process:

  • the current enrolment quota or average divisional enrolment, and
  • the projected enrolment quota or average divisional enrolment at the projection time, which is usually three and a half years after the expected completion of the redistribution

Formula to determine current enrolment quota

The current enrolment quota is determined as soon as practicable after the redistribution commences. It is calculated by dividing the number of electors on the electoral roll in the state or territory on the day the redistribution commences by the number of members to which the state or territory is entitled.

Number of electors enrolled in a state or territory / Number of members the state or territory is entitled to = Current enrolment quota

The number of electors in each proposed electoral division may vary by up to 10 per cent.

Formula to determine projected enrolment quota

The projected enrolment quota is calculated by dividing the projected number of people enrolled in the state or territory at the projection time by the number of members to which the state or territory is entitled.

Projected enrolment for a state or territory / Number of members the state or territory is entitled to = Projected enrolment quota

As far as practicable, the number of electors in each electoral division at the projection time should not vary by 3.5 per cent more or less than the average number of projected electors.

Example of determination of enrolment quotas

The enrolment quotas for South Australia at 12 January 2011 (the commencement data of the redistribution process) were as follows:

Current enrolment quota

1 107 001 / 11 = 100 636

The number of electors in each division could vary by up to 10 per cent from 100 636. The permissible maximum would be 110 699 and the permissible minimum would be 90 573.

Projected enrolment quota

1 152 271 / 11 = 104 752

The projected average enrolment in each electoral division at 21 January 2015 (three and a half years from the date the redistribution was expected to be completed) is 104 752. Enrolments should not vary from this by more or less than 3.5 per cent (i.e. 103.5 per cent = 108 418 or 96.5 per cent = 101 086).

Making suggestions

As soon as practicable after the redistribution process commences, the Electoral Commissioner invites interested people or organisations to submit suggestions about the redistribution. Public suggestions must be lodged within 30 days.

The suggestions are made available for public inspection. There is then a period of 14 days in which written comments on the suggestions may be lodged.

Guidelines are available to assist people or organisations interested in submitting suggestions.

The redistribution proposal

The Redistribution Committee then divides the state or territory into divisions and publishes its initial proposed redistribution. The Redistribution Committee will take into consideration a number of factors detailed in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and the public suggestions and comments.

Maps showing the proposed boundaries and names of electoral divisions, together with reasons for the proposed redistribution, are published and publicly exhibited.

Objections to the proposed redistribution

There is a period of 28 days within which objections to the proposed redistribution can be lodged. These initial objections are made available for public inspection. There is then a period of 14 days in which written comments on the objections can be submitted.

Guidelines are available to assist people or organisations interested in submitting objections.

The augmented Electoral Commission for the state/territory considers objections to the proposed redistribution. The augmented Electoral Commission comprises of the three members of the Electoral Commission, the AEO for the state/territory (except for the ACT where the senior Divisional Returning Officer for the territory is a member) and the two state/territory government representatives on the Redistribution Committee.

The augmented Electoral Commission has 60 days after the closing date for receipt of comments on initial objections to finish its considerations. After considering these objections, the augmented Electoral Commission publicly announces a proposed redistribution.

If the augmented Electoral Commission's proposed redistribution is significantly different from the proposal made by the Redistribution Committee, the augmented Electoral Commission invites further objections. Interested people or organisations have seven days to make further objections.

Final determination of names and boundaries

Having considered any further objections arising from these comments, the augmented Electoral Commission will make a final determination of boundaries and names of the electoral divisions in the state or territory.

The augmented Electoral Commission publishes its decision and reasons in a final report which is forwarded to the Special Minister of State and then tabled in both houses of Parliament.

The Parliament has no power to reject or amend the final determination of the augmented Electoral Commission.

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