Examining federal and state election boundaries

David Braithwaite

NO changes have been proposed for the federal electorate of Gippsland.

The Australian Electoral Commission’s Redistribution Committee for Victoria on Friday published its report proposing names and boundaries for the state’s federal electoral divisions, which will increase by one to 39 for the next election because of the rate of population growth in the state.

The enrolment of Gippsland (which goes from Morwell and Yarram in the west up to the Great Dividing Range in the north and New South Wales border in the east), is projected to be 116,288 electors on January 26, 2025, within the numerical requirements of the Electoral Act.

The redistribution committee concluded changing the boundary was “not necessary in balancing the numerical requirements of surrounding electoral divisions, nor in improving communities of interest”.

For the neighbouring electorate of Monash, the committee proposed transferring the areas around Bunyip, Garfield and Koo Wee Rup to La Trobe to bring it within the acceptable number of electors.

The major proposals come in the west of the state, with Corangamite to be named Tucker after Margaret Tucker, who campaigned for welfare of citizenship rights for Aboriginal people, and naming the new division after former prime minister Bob Hawke.

Objections can be made to the committee’s proposals until April 16 via www.aec.gov.au, by emailing FedRedistribution-VIC@aec.gov.au or mailing to Australian Electoral Commission (Attention: Redistribution Secretariat), GPO Box 768, Melbourne VIC 3001.

Following more consultation, a determination on the electoral division is due to be made by July 26.

Meanwhile, the major political parties made submissions to the separate review of Victoria’s 128 state parliament boundaries.

Fifty-eight submissions to the Electoral Boundaries Commission were received, including from the Nationals, Liberals, Labor and Greens, by the March 1 deadline.

Like most of the earlier submissions, the parties haven’t suggested changes to Gippsland East, but minor changes to Gippsland South’s boundary.

Gippsland East, held by Nationals MP Tim Bull, includes Wellington Shire towns such as Boisdale, Briagolong, Dargo, Heyfield, Maffra and Stratford, and is considered to be in the acceptable number of electors.

However, Gippsland South, which stretches from Sale and Rosedale along the coast to around Korumburra, is more than 10 per cent below the quota, and needs to add electors.

The Nationals, who hold Gippsland South via Danny O’Brien, proposed adding Inverloch to the district from Bass, as well as Thorpdale from Narracan, given its connection with nearby Mirboo North.

The Liberals proposed Gippsland South gained communities from the southern section of the Morwell district up Churchill. That was also the only change the Liberals suggested for Morwell.

The Greens also proposed moving the Churchill and Hazelwood area to Gippsland South, as it has “more in common with south Gippsland with agriculture, tourism and education as the basis for the economy” following the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station.

Labor suggested sending parts Wellington Shire which are in the Morwell electorate, around Cowwarr, as well as Churchill, into Gippsland South.

Under Labor’s proposal, Moe would then move into Morwell, which would likely increase the party’s vote in the electorate, currently held by independent Russell Northe.

Latrobe City Council’s submission also proposed moving Moe into Morwell to reflect the city’s boundary.

This is similar to earlier submissions, which also proposed renaming the electorate ‘Latrobe Valley’.

The submissions are now being considered, with public hearings into them scheduled to be held from March 29 to April 2.

A report on the proposed boundaries will be released June 30, triggering a second stage of submissions.

The changes will come into effect for the next state election, to be held on November 26, 2022.