After public hearings in Shepparton and Melbourne and the consideration of written objections and comments, the presiding member of the augmented Electoral Commission for Victoria, the Hon. Peter Heerey QC, today announced the outcome of its deliberations on the boundaries and names of the 37 federal electoral divisions in Victoria.
The key change to the Redistribution Committee's proposal is the reinstatement of the Division of Murray, meaning that the creation of a new Division of Burke would not proceed. A number of changes to the boundaries of other electoral divisions have also been made in response to public objections to the Redistribution Committee's proposal.
Mr Heerey advised that, in the opinion of the augmented Electoral Commission, its revised proposal is 'significantly different' from that of the Redistribution Committee for Victoria, published on 30 July in its report 2010 Proposed Redistribution of Victoria into Electoral Divisions.
As a result, a further objection period is now open and another public inquiry will be held in accordance with the requirements of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
Mr Heerey said that the need to conduct another round of objections and a public inquiry means that the formal determination of the distributed boundaries will be gazetted on 24 December 2010 rather than on 17 December 2010 as originally scheduled.
Further information about the redistribution, including maps illustrating the augmented Electoral Commission's proposal and the Redistribution Committee's report, is available on the Victorian redistribution page on the AEC's website.
Objections about the augmented Electoral Commission's proposal must be lodged in writing with the Redistribution Secretariat for Victoria by 6pm on Monday 1 November 2010. Objections received will be published on the AEC's website on Tuesday 2 November 2010.
A public inquiry into the objections will be held in Melbourne on Monday 8 November 2010. Persons wishing to make an oral submission at the inquiry should contact the Redistribution Secretariat to schedule their attendance.
Contact details for the Redistribution Secretariat are as follows:
Phone: (03) 9285 7177
Fax: (03) 9285 7169
Australian Electoral Commission
Level 8, Casselden Place
2 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
GPO Box 9867
Melbourne Victoria 8060
The presiding member of the augmented Electoral Commission for Victoria, the Hon. Peter Heerey QC, announced that it had considered the proposal of the Redistribution Committee for Victoria, published on 30 July 2010, in light of the 129 written objections and 40 comments which were lodged, and the submissions made at public hearings held in Shepparton and Melbourne on 14 and 15 October respectively.
The augmented Electoral Commission has proposed, as outlined in this announcement, to reinstate the Division of Murray. In addition, on the basis of submissions made, the augmented Electoral Commission has been able to identify solutions to a substantial number of other objections to the boundaries proposed by the Redistribution Committee. In achieving these outcomes, the augmented Electoral Commission has concluded, in accordance with section 72(12) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) that its proposal is 'significantly different' from that of the Redistribution Committee.
The substance of the findings or conclusions of the augmented Electoral Commission concerning the objections and the Redistribution Committee's proposal are as follows.
A central consideration for the Redistribution Committee was the fact that only nine of the 37 federal electors divisions in Victoria fell within the acceptable projected numerical range set by the Electoral Act, i.e. a maximum of 104 764 and a minimum of 97 680 electors in each division. The Redistribution Committee had noted that several divisions surrounding the Melbourne metropolitan fringe contained well over the number of permissible electors, while a number of rural divisions and divisions in the east of Melbourne contained insufficient numbers of electors.
The Redistribution Committee had approached the redistribution by first focusing on the metropolitan fringe divisions which needed to lose electors. McEwen, a division with too many electors and bridging the low enrolment growth metropolitan divisions to the south and rural divisions to the north, was selected as the Committee's starting point. The Committee proposed that parts of McEwen and adjoining divisions be combined to form a new division named Burke. This led to a series of consequential transfers throughout regional Victoria, where supplementation was needed. As a consequence, the Division of Murray was proposed for abolition.
The majority of objections and comments were submitted in opposition to the proposal to abolish the Division of Murray. At the public inquiry in Shepparton, the augmented Electoral Commission heard a number of convincing arguments to maintain a cohesive 'irrigated food bowl' community with strong economic, transport and social links. The augmented Electoral Commission gave careful consideration to the objections put forward. While acknowledging that the logic underpinning the Redistribution Committee's approach to the redistribution was sound, the augmented Electoral Commission concluded that the case for adopting an alternative approach, in which Murray was retained albeit with some changes to ensure that the numerical requirements of the Electoral Act were satisfied, was compelling.
As a consequence, a series of changes were then necessary in a number of other electoral divisions to meet the statutory criterion relating to the permissible number of projected enrolments in each division. This particularly affected the north-west metropolitan region where the Redistribution Committee had proposed to situate a new Division of Burke, and divisions west of Melbourne such as Maribyrnong, Gellibrand, Lalor and Corio. The divisions of Indi, McEwen, Mallee and Wannon are also impacted by the reinstatement of the Division of Murray.
The augmented Electoral Commission, after consideration of all matters brought before it, further acceded to a number of objections to better reflect community of interest and travel and communication issues. These include:
The augmented Electoral Commission concluded that a number of other objections failed to meet the criterion relating to projected enrolment numbers. In cases where compensatory adjustments to the enrolment numbers could have been made elsewhere, the augmented Electoral Commission concluded that other criteria in s.66 of the Electoral Act were more appropriately met by the Redistribution Committee's proposal.
Maps which illustrate the proposal made by the augmented Electoral Commission are available for perusal on the AEC website or can be obtained from the Redistribution Secretariat.
As will be stated as part of the reasons for its determination, in the opinion of the augmented Electoral Commission, its proposal is significantly different from the Redistribution Committee proposal within the meaning of s.72(12)(c) of the Electoral Act.
Therefore, as required by s.72(13) of the Electoral Act, any person or organisation may, forthwith, lodge a written further objection to the augmented Electoral Commission's proposal. Objections must be lodged with the Redistribution Secretariat (contact details above) by 6pm on Monday 1 November 2010. The augmented Electoral Commission will hold an inquiry into the further objections in Melbourne on Monday 8 November 2010.
The augmented Electoral Commission will then complete its considerations regarding the further objections, and issue a statement outlining its final decision.
The final divisional boundaries will come into effect at the next federal election following the 24 December 2010 determination date, and any by-election that may occur before the next federal election would be held on the boundaries as determined at the previous (2003) redistribution.
Phil Diak | Director Media
02 6271 4415
0413 452 539
Mrs Jenni McMullan
State Manager, AEC, Victoria
03 9285 7100
0438 255 979