Just as the South Australian redistribution finishes, and alongside a state redistribution in New South Wales and two federal redistributions, the starters pistol has been fired in the Victorian state redistribution.
The redistribution will be conducted based on the enrolment figures as of November 30, and each electorate must be drawn to be within 10% of the average based on that data. That average is 48,625 voters.
28 of the 88 electorates currently sit outside of that quota, which reflects that the boundaries were last drawn in 2013 and thus have had plenty of time to be pushed out of balance while Victoria has boomed in population. Some seats are way over quota, with Cranbourne and Bass more than 40% over the quota, while a bunch of other seats have experienced very little population growth and have fallen behind. Rowville, Forest Hill and Mount Waverley are all at least 18% below quota.
There is a clear geographic trend that can be clearly seen on the following map:
The seats in the eastern and southern suburbs of Melbourne are all well below quota, while the south-eastern fringe and most seats in the north and west of the city are above quota. Meanwhile there are a bunch of seats in regional Victoria which are relatively close to the quota, while others have fallen behind.
Another way to look at the trends is to look at the 8 Legislative Council regions, each of which includes 11 electorates.
South Eastern Metropolitan
The three metropolitan regions in the south and east of Melbourne are the only regions under quota. Eastern metro is well under quota, but the 33 seats in this area have less than 31 seats worth of voters within them.
This suggests that two seats in the south-east of Melbourne will likely be abolished. And the map tells us that those seats won’t be right out on the fringe.
The northern and western metropolitan regions have 1.26 quotas of surplus electors, so at least one new seat should be created in the western suburbs.
The northern and western Victoria regions are both slightly over quota, but Eastern Victoria is well over quota. Shrinking the electorates in the east of the state will leave half a seat of leftover voters who can help top up the under quota seats in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
If you simplify even further, there are four regions to the south-east of the Yarra River and the great dividing range, and four regions to the north-west, although the Eastern Metro region does include two seats on the north bank of the Yarra. The 44 seats in the south-east of the state include 42.3 seat quotas, while the 44 seats in the north-west have 45.6 seat quotas. This suggests that two seats will likely be abolished in the south-east and replaced by new seats in the north-west. It seems likely that these changes will push the Eastern Metro region deeper into the north-eastern suburbs on the north bank of the Yarra.
The first drawing of the modern Legislative Council regions for the 2006 election included Eltham along with ten seats on the opposite bank of the river. Ivanhoe joined Eltham in the 2013 redistribution, but further growth in the north-west will drag the western and northern regions further away from the river.
That’s it for now – I will be back next year with maps and margin estimates for the draft and final redistribution boundaries, which will come into effect in November 2022.
If you want to know more, check out Antony Green’s blog post from December 7.