Determination of membership entitlement to the House of Representatives

Updated: 31 August 2017

A redistribution of federal electoral divisions will be required in Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

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 and the ACT each increasing their entitlement by one seat. At the same time, the entitlement for South Australia will decrease by one seat,” Mr Rogers said.

  • Victoria: Increase from 37 to 38 seats
  • ACT: Increase from two to three seats
  • SA: Decrease from 11 to 10 seats

As a result of the determination the total number of members to be elected to the House of Representatives at the next federal election will increase from 150 to 151 members.

Mr Rogers said the Electoral Commission will meet tomorrow to direct the commencement of federal redistribution processes in Victoria, SA and the ACT.

“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.

  • The legislative processes to be adhered to, including the public submission periods, mean that redistribution processes take a number of months to complete. For more information regarding redistribution processes visit the redistribution page.    

Editor’s notes:

  • 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:
    • each state and territory gains representation in the House of Representatives in proportion to its population, and
    • there are a similar number of electors in each electoral division for a given state or territory.
  • A determination under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 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: 30 August 2016).
  • The attached information paper provides further information.

Information paper

Calculating representation entitlements of states and territories

Under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act), the Electoral Commissioner is required to use the latest official published statistics of the Commonwealth to ascertain the Australian population on the day after the one year anniversary of the first meeting of the House of Representatives. This date is 31 August 2017.

The Electoral Commissioner then makes a determination of the number of members of the House of Representatives each state is entitled to. A similar exercise is used to calculate the entitlements of the territories.

State and territory entitlements are calculated by dividing the total population figure for the Commonwealth, excluding territory populations, by twice the number of Senators for the states to obtain the population quota.

Population quota

Total population of the six states = Population quota
Number of Senators for the states x 2

The population of each state and territory is then divided by the population quota, and the result rounded to the nearest whole number to determine the number of members of the House of the Representatives the state or territory is entitled to.

Number of House of Representatives members per state or territory

Total population of individual state or territory = Number of members
Population quota

Note: In calculating the number of members of the House of Representatives for a state or territory, if the remainder is more than 0.5, the figure for the number of members is rounded up. If the remainder is less than or equal to 0.5, the figure is rounded down (i.e. 2.5 = 2 members, and 2.52 = 3 members).

1. Population of the Commonwealth

The number of the people of the Commonwealth and of the several states and territories were ascertained to be as outlined in the table below.

State/territory Number of the people 1
States
New South Wales 7,797,791
Victoria 6,244,227
Queensland 4,883,739
Western Australia 2,567,788
South Australia 1,716,966
Tasmania 519,050
Territories
Australian Capital Territory 2 3 419,256
Northern Territory 4 247,512
Norfolk Island 1,756
The Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands 550
The Territory of Christmas Island 1,914
Australian Antarctic Territory 57
Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands 0
Coral Sea Islands Territory 3
Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands 0
The Commonwealth 5 23,729,561

1 This ascertainment has been made using statistics supplied to the Electoral Commissioner by the Australian Statistician on 28 July 2017 in accordance with section 47 of the Electoral Act and published in the Australian Demographic Statistics, December Quarter 2016 (ABS cat. no. 3101.0) on 27 June 2017. 

2 Under sub-section 4(1) of the Electoral Act, the Jervis Bay territory is taken to be part of the ACT.

3 Pursuant to sub-section 48(2C) of the Electoral Act, as Norfolk Island is not entitled to a member of the House of Representatives, the population is added to the population of the Australian Capital Territory and the number of members of the House of Representatives to which the Australian Capital Territory is entitled is recalculated.

4 Pursuant to sub-section 48(2C) of the Electoral Act, as the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Territory of Christmas Island are not entitled to a member of the House of Representatives, the populations of both are added to the population of the Northern Territory and the number of members of the House of Representatives to which the Northern Territory is entitled is recalculated.

5 Under section 45 of the Electoral Act the total number of people of the Commonwealth does not include the numbers of people of the territories.

2. The population quota

Under section 48(2)(a) of the Electoral Act, the population quota is the number of the people of the Commonwealth divided by twice the number of Senators for the states.

Number of people of the Commonwealth (total population of the six states) = 23,729,561
Twice the number of Senators for the states = 144
Population quota = 164,788.61806

3. The entitlement determination

The number of members of the House of Representatives to be chosen in each state and territory is determined by dividing the number of people in each state and territory by the quota and rounding the result to the nearest whole number.

State/territory Total population Population quota Result Members Change
New South Wales  7,797,791  164,788.61806 47.31996 47 -
Victoria  6,244,227  164,788.61806 37.89234 38 +1
Queensland  4,883,739  164,788.61806 29.63639 30 -
Western Australia  2,567,788  164,788.61806 15.58231 16 -
South Australia  1,716,966  164,788.61806 10.41920 10 -1
Tasmania 6  519,050  164,788.61806 3.14979 5 -
Australian Capital Territory 7 419,256  164,788.61806 2.54420 3 +1
Northern Territory 8 247,512  164,788.61806 1.50200 2 -
Total number of members of the House of Representatives 151 +1

6 Tasmania is guaranteed a minimum of five members under section 24 of the Constitution.

7 Under sub-section 4(1) of the Electoral Act the Jervis Bay territory is taken to be part of the ACT.  Under sub-section 48(2C) of the Electoral Act, Norfolk Island taken for the purposes of this determination to be part of the ACT because it lacks sufficient population to qualify for representation in its own right.

8 Under sub-section 48(2C) of the Electoral Act, the territories of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island are taken for the purposes of this determination to be part of the Northern Territory because they lack sufficient population to qualify for representation in their own right.