Proposed federal electoral divisions for South Australia released

Updated: 13 April 2018

The Redistribution Committee for South Australia today published its report proposing names and boundaries for the ten federal electoral divisions.

The Chair of the Committee and Electoral Commissioner, Tom Rogers said the South Australian redistribution is required to enable a decrease from eleven to ten federal electoral divisions.

“Under the proposal some significant changes would occur with the boundaries of all South Australian divisions being amended to accommodate the decrease,” Mr Rogers said.

“Nine of the existing eleven division names would be retained. The Division of Port Adelaide would be abolished and the Division of Wakefield renamed ‘Spence’ in recognition of the prominent advocate for female suffrage and electoral reform Catherine Helen Spence.”

Proposed boundaries

Mr Rogers said the Committee was faced with a situation where a division had to be abolished and as a consequence nine of the existing eleven divisions were outside the permissible numerical requirements.

“The Committee believes the proposal caters for differing rates of expected growth and decline across the state while improving communities of interest where possible and using strong, identifiable features as boundaries.”

The proposal would see:

  • the adjustment of the regional divisions of Barker and Grey - both of which need to gain electors,
  • the transfer of electors from the northern area of the existing Division of Wakefield into the regional proposed Division of Grey,
  • the abolition of the Division of Port Adelaide and distribution of a portion of those electors into a new northern Division of Spence - contributing to the change in the demographic of this proposed electoral division to become more metropolitan,
  • the transfer of the majority of the remaining electors in the former Division of Port Adelaide to the proposed Division of Hindmarsh to the south,
  • parts of the Barossa Council transferred to the south-eastern outer Division of Barker, resulting the council area being included in two divisions, not three as currently, and
  • the transfer of electors between the outer metropolitan divisions to the south of Adelaide to balance elector numbers and align communities of interest where possible. 

Catherine Helen Spence

Catherine Spence was a member of most of the reforming boards in South Australia and helped found the first fostering-out scheme. This belief in equality of opportunity influenced Spence’s advocating of proportional representation. In 1891, Spence joined the South Australian Women’s Suffrage League, and as vice president of that organisation in 1891 helped to bring about women’s right to vote in state elections and women’s right to stand for the state parliament.

These measures were accepted in South Australia in 1894, at which time the colony distinguished itself as one of the first communities in the world to enfranchise women. In part through the efforts of Spence, the women of Western Australia earned the franchise in 1899 as did the women of New South Wales in 1902.

The Committee notes that the proposed Division of Spence differs significantly from the existing Division of Wakefield. It changes from a hybrid urban/regional electoral division to one with a predominantly urban focus.  Due to this change in the socio-demographic nature of the division, the Committee considered it was appropriate to change the name.


The consultative nature of the redistribution process continues with individuals and organisations now able to lodge objections to the Committee’s proposed divisions.

Written objections must be lodged no later than 6pm (ACST) Friday 11 May 2018. The best way to lodge an objection is online. Objections can also be submitted via:

  • Email:;
  • In person: The Australian Electoral Commission (Att: Redistribution Secretariat), Level 9, 1 King William Street, Adelaide (business hours only);
  • Mail: The Australian Electoral Commission (Att: Redistribution Secretariat), GPO Box 344, ADELAIDE SA 5001; or
  • Fax: 02 6293 7684.

All objections received by the deadline will be available for public inspection on Level 9, 1 King William Street, Adelaide and on the AEC website from Monday 14 May 2017.

Comments on the objections will then be accepted until 6pm (ACST) Friday 25 May 2018. All comments on objections received by the deadline will also be made available for public inspection from Monday 28 May 2018.

Editor’s notes:

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