Determination of membership entitlement to the House of Representatives

Updated: 3 July 2020

A redistribution of federal electoral divisions will be required in Victoria and Western Australia.

The Australian Electoral Commissioner, Tom Rogers, made the determination today based on the most recent official population figures for the Commonwealth published, and provided to him, by the Australian Statistician.

“The figures show the population has increased sufficiently to result in Victoria increasing its entitlement by one seat. At the same time, the determination of entitlement requires Western Australia and the Northern Territory to each decrease by one seat,” Mr Rogers said.

  • Victoria: Increase from 38 to 39 seats
  • WA: Decrease from 16 to 15 seats
  • NT: Decrease from two seats to one seat

Mr Rogers said the Electoral Commission was scheduled to meet on Tuesday 14 July to direct the commencement of federal redistribution processes in Victoria and WA.

“Redistribution Committees will be appointed and the public will soon be invited to make suggestions and comments on matters affecting the drawing of federal electoral boundaries and the naming of electoral divisions,” he said.

Northern Territory

The determination of reduced entitlement for the Northern Territory to one seat only applies immediately for the purposes of enrolment. The Members elected at the 2019 federal election to represent the Division of Lingiari and the Division of Solomon will continue to represent those electoral divisions.

It has been widely reported that a private Senator’s bill has been introduced to Parliament, proposing to increase the Northern Territory’s minimum entitlement to two members of the House. The Minister for Finance has asked the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) to inquire and report on this bill.

Entitlement determination

A determination under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) of the number of members of the House of Representatives each state and territory is entitled to is made each electoral cycle, one year after the first sitting day for a new House of Representatives (current Parliament: 2 July 2020).

In accordance with provisions of the Electoral Act, this determination was made using data supplied by the Australian Statistician.

  • This information was required to come from the most recently published population statistics.
  • The population as at 31 December 2019 was published on 18 June 2020.
  • These population statistics largely predate COVID-19 and do not display any observable impact from the Australian summer bushfires of 2019-20.
  • More information about the population data can be found at: 3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Dec 2019

Editor’s notes:

  • The legislative processes to be adhered to, including the public submission periods, mean that the redistribution processes for Victoria and Western Australia will take a number of months to complete.
    • It is expected that members of the public will be invited to submit their suggestions about the redistributions in quarters three and four of this year.
    • It is further expected that the proposed redistributions of federal electoral divisions will be released for public consideration and comment during quarter one of 2021 with the final names and boundaries of electoral divisions to be determined during quarter three of 2021.
  • Further information about the redistribution process
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