How does a mini-redistribution work?

Updated: 31 August 2017

How would a mini-redistribution work in theory?

Section 76 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) sets out the processes to be followed to conduct a mini-redistribution.

Why is a mini-redistribution required?

The mini-redistribution is required because the number of members of the House of Representatives the Electoral Commissioner has determined the state or territory is entitled to does not equal the number of electoral divisions it is divided into on the day on which the writ is issued.

The mini-redistribution is the process by which the number of electoral divisions is made to equal the entitlement.

When is a mini-redistribution required?

A mini-redistribution is required if:

  • the redistribution was triggered because of a change in the number of members the state or territory is entitled to in the House of Representatives, and
  • the writ for a House of Representatives general election is issued before the redistribution has been determined.

How many federal electoral divisions will there be after a mini-redistribution?

The number of electoral divisions will equal the number the Electoral Commissioner determined the state or territory was entitled to at the most recent state/territory entitlement to electoral divisions.

Who conducts a mini-redistribution?

Sub-section 76(2) of the Electoral Act specifies that the mini-redistribution will be conducted by the Redistribution Commissioners for the state or territory.

The Redistribution Commissioners are:

  • the Electoral Commissioner
  • the Australian Electoral Officer for the state, or in the case of the ACT, the senior Divisional Returning Officer for the ACT.

What factors will the Redistribution Commissioners consider when conducting a mini-redistribution?

The Electoral Act requires the Redistribution Commissioners to consider the following factors when conducting a mini-redistribution:

  • contiguous pairs of electoral divisions – that is, electoral divisions whose boundaries touch in at least one place.  This may include the boundaries touching over water.
  • the relevant day – this is the day on which the Governor-General issued the writ for the House of Representatives general election
  • the enrolment statistics published by the Electoral Commissioner in the Commonwealth Government Notices Gazette before the relevant day
  • the names and boundaries of the electoral divisions which are not in the pair of contiguous electoral divisions which has been set aside are not changed and will be the same as those contested at the most recent general election.

How does a mini-redistribution work where a state or territory has to gain an electoral division?

The steps are as follows:

  1. The Redistribution Commissioners prepare a list identifying all the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions in the state or territory
  2. The number of electors enrolled in each possible pair of contiguous electoral divisions is identified.  This is done by using the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day – that is, using the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the day on which the Governor-General issued the writs for a general House of Representatives election
  3. The Redistribution Commissioners set aside the pair of contiguous electoral divisions with the greatest number of electors enrolled
  4. The Redistribution Commissioners divide the set aside pair of contiguous electoral divisions into three electoral divisions.
    • The basis for dividing the two electoral divisions into three is Statistical Area 1s (SA1s).  With the exception of those SA1s which are split as a result of a previous redistribution, SA1s cannot be split to create the new electoral divisions.
    • Each of the three new electoral divisions will contain, as far as is practicable, the same number of electors.
    • With the exception of including an island, the boundaries of the three new electoral divisions will form an unbroken line.
  5. The Redistribution Commissioners will name the three new electoral divisions as follows:
    • the electoral division containing the greatest number of electors who were enrolled in the old Division of A will be given the name of the Division of A
    • the electoral division containing the greatest number of electors who were enrolled in the old Division of B will be given the name of the Division of B
    • the remaining electoral division will be named after both of the old divisions with these names in alphabetical order and hyphenated.  The third electoral division will be given the name of the Division of A-B
  6. The Redistribution Commissioners sign the written instrument determining the names and boundaries of electoral divisions in the state or territory.

Some scenarios showing how this would work are available in: How would a mini-redistribution work in practice?

How does a mini-redistribution work where a state or territory has to lose an electoral division?

The steps are as follows:

  1. The Redistribution Commissioners prepare a list identifying all the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions in the state or territory
  2. The number of electors enrolled in each possible pair of contiguous electoral divisions is identified.  This is done by using the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day – that is, using the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the day on which the Governor-General issued the writs for a general House of Representatives election
  3. The Redistribution Commissioners set aside the pair of contiguous electoral divisions with the smallest number of electors enrolled
  4. The Redistribution Commissioners combine the set aside pair of contiguous electoral divisions into one electoral division
  5. The Redistribution Commissioners will name the new electoral division after both of the old divisions with these names in alphabetical order and hyphenated.  The new electoral division will be given the name of the Division of Y-Z
  6. The Redistribution Commissioners sign the written instrument determining the names and boundaries of electoral divisions in the state or territory.

Some scenarios showing how this would work are available in: How would a mini-redistribution work in practice?

What happens to the electoral divisions which aren’t in the set aside pair?

Sub-section 76(8) of the Electoral Act requires that the names and boundaries of all electoral divisions other than the pair of contiguous electoral divisions which has been set aside are left unchanged.  That means that the names and boundaries of the other electoral divisions in the state or territory will be the same as those used at the last general election.

When does a mini-redistribution start?

Sub-section 76(1) of the Electoral Act specifies that a mini-redistribution commences on the day when the Governor-General issues writs for a general election – an election for all of the House of Representatives.

How long will it take to conduct a mini-redistribution?

Sub-section 76(7) of the Electoral Act requires the Redistribution Commissioners to have made their determination before the end of the expiration of the period of seven days after the relevant day – that is, before the end of seven days after the Governor-General issued the writ for a general election.

How do the Redistribution Commissioners make their determination?

Sub-section 76(6) of the Electoral Act requires the Redistribution Commissioners to determine, by an instrument in writing, the names and boundaries of the electoral divisions of the state or territory.

A copy of this determination is:

  • provided to the Minister, who must table it once Parliament is sitting again
  • published in the Commonwealth Government Notices Gazette, and
  • published in two newspapers circulating throughout the state or territory.

If a mini-redistribution is required, what happens to the redistribution which is underway?

The redistribution which is underway stops.  It is replaced by the mini-redistribution.

Does the redistribution which was underway restart once the election has been held?

No – the mini-redistribution completely replaces the redistribution which was underway.

How long do the results of a mini-redistribution apply for?

Sub-section 76(6) of the Electoral Act requires that the names and boundaries determined by a mini-redistribution apply until the next redistribution is determined in accordance with sub-section 73 of the Electoral Act or the next mini-redistribution is determined in accordance with sub-section 76(6) of the Electoral Act.

This means that the results of the mini-redistribution will apply until the next redistribution has been triggered and concluded.  Redistributions are triggered when:

  • the number of members of the House of Representatives to which a state or territory is entitled has changed,
  • the number of electors in more than one-third of the electoral divisions in a state (or one of the electoral divisions in the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory) deviates from the average divisional enrolment by over ten per cent for a period of more than two months, or
  • a period of seven years has elapsed since the last redistribution process was determined.

See: When is the next redistribution of my state or territory due?

How often are enrolment statistics published?

Section 58 of the Electoral Act requires the Electoral Commissioner to publish on a monthly basis, via a notice in the Gazette, the number of electors enrolled in each electoral division, the average divisional enrolment for each state and territory and the extent to which each electoral division differs from the average divisional enrolment.

The enrolment data is as at the end of the month and is generally published in the online Commonwealth Government Notices Gazette in the middle of the month.

This monthly enrolment data is subsequently published on the AEC website, including as a csv file.

How would a mini-redistribution work in practice?

Background information

Determination of entitlement to members of the House of Representatives

On 29 February the Electoral Commissioner determined:

  • Magpie’s entitlement to members of the House of Representatives is seven, an increase of one from their current six members, and
  • Kookaburra’s entitlement to members of the House of Representative is seven, a decrease of one from their current eight members.

Redistributions commence

Redistributions of Kookaburra and Magpie commenced on 7 April. 

The redistribution of Magpie is scheduled to be determined on 13 March.

The redistribution of Kookaburra is scheduled to be determined on 1 April.

What do you need if a mini-redistribution is required?

  • The pairs of contiguous divisions
  • Enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day to use to determine the relevant contiguous pair
Working out the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions
  1. Electoral divisions at the start of the redistribution
Kookaburra’s electoral divisions Magpie’s electoral divisions
Bilby Banksia
Echidna Bottlebrush
Kangaroo Eucalypt
Koala Flannel Flower
Numbat Waratah
Platypus Wattle
Quokka  
Wombat  
  1. Identify the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions
  Magpie – pairs of contiguous electoral divisions Kookaburra – pairs of contiguous electoral divisions
1 Banksia Bottlebrush Bilby Echidna
2 Banksia Eucalypt Bilby Kangaroo
3 Banksia Flannel Flower Bilby Numbat
4 Banksia Waratah Bilby Quokka
5 Banksia Wattle Bilby Platypus
6 Bottlebrush Eucalypt Bilby Wombat
7 Bottlebrush Flannel Flower Echidna Wombat
8 Bottlebrush Waratah Kangaroo Platypus
9 Eucalypt Flannel Flower Kangaroo Quokka
10 Eucalypt Waratah Kangaroo Wombat
11 Flannel Flower Waratah Koala Numbat
12 Waratah Wattle Koala Platypus
13     Koala Quokka
14     Koala Wombat
15     Numbat Quokka
16     Platypus Quokka
17     Platypus Wombat
Enrolment statistics published in the Gazette
Magpie
Division Enrolment at 30 November (published in Gazette on 10 December) Enrolment at 31 December (published in Gazette on 20 January) Enrolment at 31 January (published in Gazette on 14 February) Enrolment at 28 February (published in Gazette on 17 March) Enrolment at 31 March (published in Gazette on 14 April) Enrolment at 30 April (published in Gazette on 13 May)
Banksia 89 105 108 103 94 87
Bottlebrush 57 69 72 72 96 93
Eucalypt 63 72 75 83 87 84
Flannel Flower 121 115 110 114 92 99
Grevillea         85 92
Waratah 92 89 80 75 69 72
Wattle 113 117 117 121 102 113
Total enrolment 535 567 562 568 611 640
Kookaburra
Division Enrolment at 30 November (published in Gazette on 10 December) Enrolment at 31 December (published in Gazette on 20 January) Enrolment at 31 January (published in Gazette on 14 February) Enrolment at 28 February (published in Gazette on 17 March) Enrolment at 31 March (published in Gazette on 14 April) Enrolment at 30 April (published in Gazette on 13 May)
Bilby 134 127 128 125 131 124
Echidna 98 87 93 104 107 135
Kangaroo 76 97 96 92 91 113
Koala 113 125 110 107 110 127
Numbat 85 78 84 93 95  
Platypus 100 99 99 103 105 117
Quokka 85 79 78 76 83 102
Wombat 72 77 80 87 88 111
Total enrolment 763 769 768 787 810 829

Scenario 1: The writ for a general election is issued on 15 December

Kookaburra

  • As the writ has been issued before the redistribution of Kookaburra has been determined, a mini-redistribution is required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is required because the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Kookaburra is entitled to seven members of the House of Representatives, but on the day on which the writ is issued it consists of eight electoral divisions.
  • The redistribution which commenced on 7 April stops.
  • The redistribution will be determined by the Redistribution Commissioners – the Electoral Commissioner and the Australian Electoral Officer for Kookaburra.
  • The relevant day is 15 December.
  1. Identify the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions – there are 17 pairs of contiguous electoral divisions in Kookaburra
  2. Identify the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day – this is enrolment at 30 November, which were published in the Gazette on 10 December
  3. Calculate the pair of contiguous electoral divisions in Kookaburra with the lowest aggregate enrolment – the pair is Kangaroo and Wombat which has an aggregate enrolment of 148 electors (see Scenario 1 in Scenarios for a mini-redistribution).  This means that the Division of Kangaroo and the Division of Wombat will be added together to form the Division of Kangaroo-Wombat.
  4. Before the end of 22 December, the Redistribution Commissioners sign the written instrument indicating the seven electoral divisions for Kookaburra are:
    • Bilby
    • Echidna
    • Kangaroo-Wombat
    • Koala
    • Numbat
    • Platypus
    • Quokka

Magpie

  • As the writ has been issued before the redistribution of Magpie has been determined, a mini-redistribution is required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is required because the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Magpie is entitled to seven members of the House of Representatives, but on the day on which the writ is issued it consists of six electoral divisions.
  • The redistribution which commenced on 7 April stops.
  • The redistribution will be determined by the Redistribution Commissioners – the Electoral Commissioner and the Australian Electoral Officer for Magpie.
  • The relevant day is 15 December.
  1. Identify the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions – there are 12 pairs of contiguous electoral divisions in Magpie
  2. Identify the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day – this is enrolment at 30 November, which were published in the Gazette on 10 December
  3. Calculate the pair of contiguous electoral divisions in Magpie with the highest aggregate enrolment – the pair is Flannel Flower and Waratah which has an aggregate enrolment of 213 electors (see Scenario 1 in Scenarios for a mini-redistribution).    
  4. The Division of Flannel Flower and the Division of Waratah are divided into three electoral divisions which are as close to 71 electors as possible to form:
    • Division of Flannel Flower: which has 68 electors, all of whom used to be in the old Division of Flannel Flower
    • Division of Flannel Flower-Waratah: which has 79 electors, 57 of whom used to be in the old Division of Flannel Flower and 20 of whom used to be in the old Division of Waratah
    • Division of Waratah: which has 72 electors, all of whom used to be in the old Division of Waratah
  5. Before the end of 22 December, the Redistribution Commissioners sign the written instrument indicating the seven electoral divisions for Magpie are:
    • Banksia
    • Bottlebrush
    • Eucalypt
    • Flannel Flower
    • Flannel Flower-Waratah
    • Waratah
    • Wattle

Scenario 2: The writ for a general election is issued on 28 January

Kookaburra

  • As the writ has been issued before the redistribution of Kookaburra has been determined, a mini-redistribution is required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is required because the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Kookaburra is entitled to seven members of the House of Representatives, but on the day on which the writ is issued it consists of eight electoral divisions.
  • The redistribution which commenced on 7 April stops.
  • The redistribution will be determined by the Redistribution Commissioners – the Electoral Commissioner and the Australian Electoral Officer for Kookaburra.
  • The relevant day is 28 January.
  1. Identify the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions – there are 17 pairs of contiguous electoral divisions in Kookaburra
  2. Identify the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day – this is enrolment at 31 December, which were published in the Gazette on 20 January
  3. Calculate the pair of contiguous electoral divisions in Kookaburra with the lowest aggregate enrolment – the pair is Numbat and Quokka which has an aggregate enrolment of 157 electors (see Scenario 2 in Scenarios for a mini-redistribution).  This means that the Division of Numbat and the Division of Quokka will be added together to form the Division of Numbat-Quokka.
  4. Before the end of 4 February, the Redistribution Commissioners sign the written instrument indicating the seven electoral divisions for Kookaburra are:
    • Bilby
    • Echidna
    • Kangaroo
    • Koala
    • Numbat-Quokka
    • Platypus
    • Wombat

Magpie

  • As the writ has been issued before the redistribution of Magpie has been determined, a mini-redistribution is required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is required because the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Magpie is entitled to seven members of the House of Representatives, but on the day on which the writ is issued it consists of six electoral divisions.
  • The redistribution which commenced on 7 April stops.
  • The redistribution will be determined by the Redistribution Commissioners – the Electoral Commissioner and the Australian Electoral Officer for Magpie.
  • The relevant day is 28 January.
  1. Identify the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions – there are 12 pairs of contiguous electoral divisions in Magpie
  2. Identify the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day – this is enrolment at 31 December, which were published in the Gazette on 20 January
  3. Calculate the pair of contiguous electoral divisions in Magpie with the highest aggregate enrolment – the pair is Banksia and Wattle which has an aggregate enrolment of 222 electors (see Scenario 2 in Scenarios for a mini-redistribution).    
  4. The Division of Banksia and the Division of Wattle are divided into three electoral divisions which are as close to 74 electors as possible to form:
    • Division of Banksia: which has 73 electors, all of whom used to be in the old Division of Banksia
    • Division of Banksia-Wattle: which has 79 electors, 32 of whom used to be in the old Division of Banksia and 47 of whom used to be in the old Division of Wattle
    • Division of Wattle: which has 70 electors, all of whom used to be in the old Division of Wattle
  5. Before the end of 4 February, the Redistribution Commissioners sign the written instrument indicating the seven electoral divisions for Magpie are:
    • Banksia
    • Banksia-Wattle
    • Bottlebrush
    • Eucalypt
    • Flannel Flower
    • Waratah
    • Wattle

Scenario 3: The writ for a general election is issued on 5 February

Kookaburra

  • As the writ has been issued before the redistribution of Kookaburra has been determined, a mini-redistribution is required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is required because the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Kookaburra is entitled to seven members of the House of Representatives, but on the day on which the writ is issued it consists of eight electoral divisions.
  • The redistribution which commenced on 7 April stops.
  • The redistribution will be determined by the Redistribution Commissioners – the Electoral Commissioner and the Australian Electoral Officer for Kookaburra.
  • The relevant day is 5 February.
  1. Identify the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions – there are 17 pairs of contiguous electoral divisions in Kookaburra
  2. Identify the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day – this is enrolment at 31 December, which were published in the Gazette on 20 January.  This is because the enrolment at 31 January, which was published on 14 February, was not published before the relevant day of 5 February.
  3. Calculate the pair of contiguous electoral divisions in Kookaburra with the lowest aggregate enrolment – the pair is Numbat and Quokka which has an aggregate enrolment of 157 electors (see Scenario 3 in Scenarios for a mini-redistribution).  This means that the Division of Numbat and the Division of Quokka will be added together to form the Division of Numbat-Quokka.
  4. Before the end of 12 February, the Redistribution Commissioners sign the written instrument indicating the seven electoral divisions for Kookaburra are:
    • Bilby
    • Echidna
    • Kangaroo
    • Koala
    • Numbat-Quokka
    • Platypus
    • Wombat

Magpie

  • As the writ has been issued before the redistribution of Magpie has been determined, a mini-redistribution is required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is required because the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Magpie is entitled to seven members of the House of Representatives, but on the day on which the writ is issued it consists of six electoral divisions.
  • The redistribution which commenced on 7 April stops.
  • The redistribution will be determined by the Redistribution Commissioners – the Electoral Commissioner and the Australian Electoral Officer for Magpie.
  • The relevant day is 5 February.
  1. Identify the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions – there are 12 pairs of contiguous electoral divisions in Magpie
  2. Identify the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day – this is enrolment at 31 December, which were published in the Gazette on 20 January.  This is because the enrolment at 31 January, which was published on 14 February, was not published before the relevant day of 5 February.
  3. Calculate the pair of contiguous electoral divisions in Magpie with the highest aggregate enrolment – the pair is Banksia and Wattle which has an aggregate enrolment of 222 electors (see Scenario 3 in Scenarios for a mini-redistribution).    
  4. The Division of Banksia and the Division of Wattle are divided into three electoral divisions which are as close to 74 electors as possible to form:
    • Division of Banksia: which has 73 electors, all of whom used to be in the old Division of Banksia
    • Division of Banksia-Wattle: which has 79 electors, 32 of whom used to be in the old Division of Banksia and 47 of whom used to be in the old Division of Wattle
    • Division of Wattle: which has 70 electors, all of whom used to be in the old Division of Wattle
  5. Before the end of 12 February, the Redistribution Commissioners sign the written instrument indicating the seven electoral divisions for Magpie are:
    • Banksia
    • Banksia-Wattle
    • Bottlebrush
    • Eucalypt
    • Flannel Flower
    • Waratah
    • Wattle

Scenario 4: The writ for a general election is issued on 20 March

Kookaburra

  • As the writ has been issued before the redistribution of Kookaburra has been determined, a mini-redistribution is required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is required because the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Kookaburra is entitled to seven members of the House of Representatives, but on the day on which the writ is issued it consists of eight electoral divisions.
  • The redistribution which commenced on 7 April stops.
  • The redistribution will be determined by the Redistribution Commissioners – the Electoral Commissioner and the Australian Electoral Officer for Kookaburra.
  • The relevant day is 20 March.
  1. Identify the pairs of contiguous electoral divisions – there are 17 pairs of contiguous electoral divisions in Kookaburra
  2. Identify the enrolment statistics published in the Gazette immediately prior to the relevant day – this is enrolment at 28 February, which were published in the Gazette on 17 March
  3. Calculate the pair of contiguous electoral divisions in Kookaburra with the lowest aggregate enrolment – the pair is Kangaroo and Quokka which has an aggregate enrolment of 168 electors (see Scenario 4 in Scenarios for a mini-redistribution).  This means that the Division of Kangaroo and the Division of Quokka will be added together to form the Division of Kangaroo-Quokka.
  4. Before the end of 27 March, the Redistribution Commissioners sign the written instrument indicating the seven electoral divisions for Kookaburra are:
    • Bilby
    • Echidna
    • Kangaroo-Quokka
    • Koala
    • Numbat
    • Platypus
    • Wombat

Magpie

  • As the redistribution was determined on 13 March, before the writ was issued on 20 March, a mini-redistribution is not required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is not required because Magpie has seven electoral divisions, which is the number the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Magpie was entitled to
  • The divisions on which the election will be contested on are:
    • Banksia
    • Bottlebrush
    • Eucalypt
    • Flannel Flower
    • Grevillea
    • Waratah
    • Wattle

Scenario 5: The writ for a general election is issued on 15 April

Kookaburra

  • As the redistribution was determined on 1 April, before the writ was issued on 15 April, a mini-redistribution is not required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is not required because Kookaburra has seven electoral divisions, which is the number the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Magpie was entitled to
  • The divisions on which the election will be contested on are:
    • Bilby
    • Echidna
    • Kangaroo
    • Koala
    • Platypus
    • Quokka
    • Wombat

Magpie

  • As the redistribution was determined on 13 March, before the writ was issued on 15 April, a mini-redistribution is not required. 
  • The mini-redistribution is not required because Magpie has seven electoral divisions, which is the number the Electoral Commissioner determined on 29 February that Magpie was entitled to
  • The divisions on which the election will be contested on are:
    • Banksia
    • Bottlebrush
    • Eucalypt
    • Flannel Flower
    • Grevillea
    • Waratah
    • Wattle
Back to top