This report outlines the augmented Electoral Commission for New South Wales’ (the augmented Electoral Commission’s) redistribution of New South Wales into 47 electoral divisions.
The augmented Electoral Commission has adopted all of the boundaries of electoral divisions proposed by the Redistribution Committee for New South Wales (Redistribution Committee) with the following modifications:
The augmented Electoral Commission has adopted all other elements of the Redistribution Committee’s proposed redistribution.
The Division of Throsby has been renamed the ‘Division of Whitlam’, in honour of the former Prime Minister, the Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC (1916–2014). While the Division of Hunter has been abolished, the name has been retained and the name of ‘Charlton’ has been withdrawn. The names of the remaining 45 electoral divisions have been retained.
A redistribution of electoral divisions is the process where electoral divisions and their boundaries and names are reviewed, and may be altered, to ensure, as near as practicable:
The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) provides for when a redistribution is to be conducted and the processes and timelines to be followed in doing so, including how and when public consultation is to occur.
A redistribution of electoral divisions in New South Wales was required as the number of members of the House of Representatives that is to be chosen for New South Wales at the next general election has decreased from 48 to 47.
The redistribution process commenced with a direction from the Electoral Commission on Monday 1 December 2014.
The Redistribution Committee released its proposed redistribution on Friday 16 October 2015. Interested individuals and parties were invited to make written objections on the proposed redistribution and written comments on objections via notices published in:
Seven hundred and ninety-one objections were made available for public perusal on Monday 16 November 2015 and 26 written comments on objections were made available from Monday 30 November 2015. Two inquiries into objections were held:
The augmented Electoral Commission found the written submissions made throughout the redistribution process, together with the submissions presented by those participating in the inquiries, to be a valuable contribution and is appreciative of the time and effort expended by all those who contributed. The redistribution has been informed by a thorough consideration of these submissions, and complies with all relevant provisions of the Electoral Act.
The redistribution covers:
In determining the boundaries of electoral divisions in a state, the Electoral Act requires the augmented Electoral Commission to ensure that the enrolment numbers for each electoral division remain within the two ranges of the permissible maximum and minimum number of electors in an electoral division.
At the end of Monday 1 December 2014, the day on which the redistribution commenced, 4 863 593 electors were enrolled in New South Wales. The current enrolment quota was therefore 103 481. As the Electoral Act requires proposed electoral divisions to be within plus or minus 10 per cent of this quota, the augmented Electoral Commission was required to construct electoral divisions which contain between 93 132 and 113 829 electors.
The augmented Electoral Commission is also required to ensure that the number of electors in each proposed electoral division will be within 3.5 per cent of the projected enrolment quota at the projection time of Sunday 25 August 2019. As the number of electors projected to be enrolled in New South Wales at this time is 5 195 490 and the projected enrolment quota is 110 542, the augmented Electoral Commission was required to construct electoral divisions which are projected to contain between 106 673 and 114 411 electors on Sunday 25 August 2019.
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 permissible ranges. The augmented Electoral Commission noted that the Redistribution Committee’s proposal met the requirements of the Electoral Act, and to the extent possible, provided electoral divisions that accommodated future growth while recognising and maintaining many communities of interest and using strong boundaries.
After careful consideration of the Redistribution Committee’s proposed redistribution, the objections and comments on objections received and further information provided in oral submissions at the inquiries, the augmented Electoral Commission adopted the Redistribution Committee’s proposal with some minor changes. These better reflect some communities of interest, to the extent possible, while complying with the mandatory numerical requirements of the Electoral Act regarding the size of electoral divisions.
The augmented Electoral Commission has adopted the Redistribution Committee’s proposal to abolish the Division of Hunter.
The augmented Electoral Commission agreed with much of what was proposed by the Redistribution Committee but found some areas where improvements could be made.
As a number of the changes advocated in objections to the proposed redistribution, comments on objections and submissions to the inquiries were able to be accommodated within the permissible ranges for the number of electors within an electoral division, or with minimal boundary adjustments to the surrounding electoral divisions, the augmented Electoral Commission made these changes. As a result, 18 divisions of the augmented Electoral Commission’s redistribution differ from that proposed by the Redistribution Committee.
While acknowledging the merits of a number of other ideas advocated in objections, comments on objections and submissions to the inquiries, they were unable to be accepted because the resultant adjustments to the boundaries would have created electoral divisions which fell outside the numerical ranges permitted by the Electoral Act. In the augmented Electoral Commission’s opinion, any alternative adjustments would have caused significant flow-on effects for other electoral divisions across New South Wales in order to meet the requirements of the Electoral Act.
The Redistribution Committee proposed:
A number of objections to the proposed redistribution concerned the Redistribution Committee’s proposal to rename the Division of Throsby and argued for a different electoral division to be named after the former Prime Minister.
The ‘Guidelines for naming federal electoral divisions’ note that consideration should be given to naming electoral divisions after former Prime Ministers. The augmented Electoral Commission agreed the arguments against renaming the proposed Division of Whitlam were not substantive enough to warrant change from the Redistribution Committee’s proposal and the electoral division will be known as the Division of Whitlam.
A number of objections to the proposed redistribution and comments on objections advocated renaming other electoral divisions.
The augmented Electoral Commission unanimously agreed the arguments offered in support of altering the names of other electoral divisions were not substantive enough to warrant change from the Redistribution Committee’s proposal and the electoral divisions will be known as the names proposed by the Redistribution Committee.
The augmented Electoral Commission’s electoral division names have been offered for the reasons set out in Chapter 2 of this report.
Overall, 919 914 electors enrolled in New South Wales (or 18.91 per cent of all electors enrolled in New South Wales on Monday 1 December 2014) will change their federal electoral division as a result of this redistribution. Electors from the former Division of Throsby who have been retained in the renamed Division of Whitlam are not included in these numbers.