The Australian Electoral Commission has delayed a scheduled redistribution of electoral boundaries in the Australian Capital Territory but the nation’s capital may get an extra seat in time for the next election.
Redistributions must take place every seven years in each state and territory. They also occur when enrolments in more than one-third of all divisions, or one seat in the territories, deviate from the average by more than 10%. Redistributions also occur when the number of representatives to which a state or territory is entitled changes due to population increase or decline.
The last redistribution in the ACT took place in 2004. The AEC has deferred the next redistribution until the end of 2014 when the next determination of membership entitlement is due. It is expected that the determination will increase the ACT’s representation from two to three seats.
The ACT currently has two seats, Canberra and Fraser, in the House of Representatives It had a third, Namadgi, in 1996 but lost it in 1998 due to population shifts.
Both Canberra and Fraser are safe for the ALP. A third seat could be expected to also go to the ALP, as Namadgi did in 1996.
New South Wales is expected to lose one seat in the 2014 determination, probably a Labor seat in the Hunter region or a Liberal seat on the northern fringe of Sydney.
Media release from the Australian Electoral Commission.
Deferral of federal electoral redistribution for the ACT
A scheduled redistribution of federal electoral boundaries for the Australian Capital Territory has been deferred, the Electoral Commissioner, Mr Ed Killesteyn, announced today.
Mr Killesteyn said the Australian Electoral Commission directed the redistribution that had been due to start by 12 December 2013 be deferred until after the next determination of membership entitlement for the House of Representatives, due in Nov/Dec 2014, on the basis that the number of electoral divisions could increase to three.
“The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 provides for a deferral if the Commission is of the opinion that, following the next determination, the number of members of the House of Representatives to be chosen in the ACT may change,” Mr Killesteyn said.
“A determination is made using population figures provided by the Australian Statistician, with the number of members of the House of Representatives calculated by dividing the relative population of each state and territory by a set quota.
“If a determination alters the number of members to be elected in a particular state or territory, a redistribution is conducted prior to the next federal election.”
Following a determination of membership entitlement, the official figures, including calculations, are published in the Commonwealth Gazette and made available on the AEC’s Redistribution Overview web page.
At the last determination, on 29 September 2011, the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the ACT would maintain its entitlement to elect two members of the House of Representatives – in the divisions of Canberra and Fraser.
A redistribution of the federal electoral boundaries in the ACT was due to commence by 12 December 2013. This had previously been deferred from starting in 2012 as the date was within 12 months of the expiry of the previous House of Representatives (27 September 2013).