Menu lock

Draft federal redistribution of New South Wales

Draft boundaries for the federal redistribution of New South Wales propose the abolition of Joel Fitzgibbon's seat of Hunter.


I’ve now tightened up the estimated margins, a full accounting of which can be seen in this spreadsheet, which also features primary vote results. I now have Labor coming up quite a bit stronger in Paterson, for some reason to the extent of having a notional margin there of 1.5%.

Banks 47.4% -0.8%
Barton 57.5% +7.8%
Bennelong 42.2% +0.0%
Berowra 31.0% +0.0%
Blaxland 59.6% -1.8%
Bradfield 28.7% -0.5%
Calare 35.3% +1.3%
Chifley 61.1% +0.6%
Cook 32.8% -0.8%
Cowper 37.0% -1.2%
Cunningham 61.8% +1.9%
Dobell 50.5% +1.1%
Eden-Monaro 47.3% -2.1%
Farrer 28.5% -4.1%
Fowler 67.7% +0.9%
Gilmore 46.1% -1.3%
Grayndler 64.2% -6.1%
Greenway 52.7% -0.3%
Hughes 38.2% -1.1%
Hume 38.1% -0.4%
Hunter (Charlton) 56.1% +2.5%
Kingsford Smith 52.7% +0.0%
Lindsay 47.0% +0.0%
Lyne 35.9% +0.7%
Macarthur 46.7% +8.0%
Mackellar 31.2% +0.0%
Macquarie 45.5% +0.0%
McMahon 52.1% -3.3%
Mitchell 28.7% +0.7%
New England 29.8% +0.5%
Newcastle 59.3% +0.5%
North Sydney 34.6% +0.4%
Page 47.0% -0.5%
Parkes 30.4% +2.8%
Parramatta 52.3% +1.7%
Paterson 51.5% +11.3%
Reid 49.0% -0.1%
Richmond 51.8% -1.1%
Riverina 31.0% +2.1%
Robertson 46.8% -0.2%
Shortland 57.2% +0.0%
Sydney 63.3% -1.4%
Warringah 34.5% -0.1%
Watson 59.2% +2.4%
Wentworth 32.1% -0.2%
Werriwa 56.7% +4.5%
Whitlam (Throsby) 56.9% -0.8%

Original post

The AEC has just published long-awaited draft boundaries for the federal redistribution of New South Wales, which reduces the state’s representation from 48 seats to 47. The seat proposed for the chop is Joel Fitzgibbon’s seat of Hunter – although the name will be kept alive by renaming the neighbouring seat of Charlton. Notably:

Paterson (Bob Baldwin, Liberal). The abolition of the Hunter region seat causes Paterson to be drawn into a strongly Labor area, turning a 9.8% Liberal margin into a 0.5% margin.

Barton (Nick Varvaris, Liberal). The other big Liberal loser is Nick Varvaris, who did well to win the inner southern Sydney seat of Barton in 2013. The seat stands to lose the Liberal-voting area around Sans Souci at the southern end, and be pushed into Labor-Greens voting Marrickville and its surrounds closer to the city.

Eden-Monaro (Peter Hendy, Liberal). This seat is to be very strikingly redrawn, losing territory at the northern coastal end to Gilmore and gaining areas to the west and north of the ACT.

Macarthur (Russell Matheson, Liberal). The Liberal margin in this outer south-western Sydney seat has been slashed by the exchange of semi-rural areas for outer suburban territory around Minto and Eagle Vale.

Grayndler (Anthony Albanese, Labor). Albanese’s seat has been drawn towards the inner-city, gaining the Rozelle area and losing southern Marrickville and surrounding suburbs to Barton in the south, along with Summer Hill and surrounds to Watson in the west. This cuts his margin against the Liberals by 6.2%, but the greater threat here is from the Greens, and the changes have presumably intensified it (UPDATE: Apparently not, actually – the Greens vote in Balmain especially was curiously subdued at the last election).

Parramatta (Julie Owens, Labor). The changes here are modest, but Labor’s Julie Owens will enjoy the 0.8% boost to her 0.6% margin.

Page (Kevin Hogan, Nationals). Loses Ballina to Richmond at its northern coastal end, and gains the coast north of Coffs Harbour from Cowper in the south. Kevin Hogan won this seat for the Nationals from Labor in 2013, and he’s now had a helpful boost to his margin from 2.5% to 3.8%.

McMahon (Chris Bowen, Labor). Bowen was cut a little fine in this typically safe Labor seat in western Sydney in 2013, and now he’s been damaged by the transfer of Fairfield to Fowler, taking his margin from 5.3% to 2.4%.

We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Tom the first and best
Tom the first and best

Anyone who sees “8-year term for” rather than “4-year staggered terms for” in my comment number 93, needs their eyes checked.

Tom the first and best
Tom the first and best


Moving to a 4-year term requires a referendum.

8-year term for Senators is one of the reasons that sunk the 4 year term effort in 1988 (the other reasons included Coalition opposition, revival of proposing simultaneous elections (previously thrice defeated) and hostility to longer terms for the HoR).

Technically there is no need to extend the Senate term to extend the HoR term. Japan combines 4-year lower house terms with 2 staggered lots of 6-year upper house terms.

Due to the minimum term length for the SA LC, combined with its staggered simultaneous elections (like in NSW and Victoria before the Bracks reforms), it can potentially have a 10-year term.


Mexican @ 86

I just can’t see any appetite for enlarging the parliament. As noted further down there are higher priorities such as reforming the senate voting system – and then what I believe is a high priority – moving to a 4 year term. However, do we want 8 year terms for senators?

Tom the first and best
Tom the first and best


Amending the Constitution to allow or even require the Territories` Senators, MPs and populations to be counted in the calculation of the nexus clause (which shouls be achievable at a referendum to alter section 122 to regulate Territory representation) would allow for a small expansion of Parliament. A guarantee that territories are represented in Parliament and a rule that no Territory be allowed more representation than it would have if it were an original state.

Another opportunity for an expanded Parliament was missed in 1967 when the New England Statehood referendum was defeated. Being, I believe, slightly larger than Tasmania it would likely have received the same minimum representation as the original states, thus expanding Parliament by 30 (10 Senators and 20 MPs). The Hawke Government may then have decided against expanding Parliament in 1984. The Simultaneous Elections Referendum 1977 could then possibly have passed (I cannot find the 1977 referendum results by electorate to give me an idea of the region`s views and of course they may have been different if they had been a smaller state).


If NT becomes a state (and recieves 12 senators like the rest of the states of Australia), we could be looking at a 172 member HoR, a 22 seat increase, 8 of which would come from NSW, according to Antony Green anyway.

Tom the first and best
Tom the first and best


I do agree that it is time Parliament was enlarged.

The main issue that the nexus clause causes that reduces the chances of parliamentary expansion is not the quota reduction in the Senate but the numbers of MPs and Senators it requires to be added. This is because the referendum in 1967 to change this was soundly defeated (for reasons including the DLP, at the time the biggest potential losers out of, campaigning against it).

Due to the requirement of equality between the states in the Senate, an absolute minimum of 6 Senators can be added and in order to keep the number of Senators elected at consecutive half-Senate elections the same, a minimum of 12 Senators are needed.

However, although this has not been done previously, it is perfectly constitutional to add the Senators over 2 elections and thus reduce the increase at a single election but almost certainly require extra redistributions in up to 5 states. This consequently requires the HoR increases to be in be in 12s and 24s and combined with the Senate numbers, this adds up.

If the election at which adds Senators is a DD, then the second half-Senate election increasing the Senate can be 2 elections after the DD because the additional Senator for each state added at the DD can serve a short term and thus the increased Senate numbers can be preserved at the first half-Senate election after the DD without increasing the number of Senators. This however would not be the case if the any of the Simultaneous Elections Referenda had passed as when there was an off number of Senators the majority of Senators would have had to served full Senate terms.

Enlarging the Senate is also off the table until the Senate election system is fixed, unless Senate expansion is part of the deal to change the Senate system because of the drop in quota making minor and micro party candidates more likely to win.


Bloody hell..
Eat Maitland = East Maitland
it = it’s


JD and GW @76, 75 et al – yes the state election showed a very strong rebound to Labor in East Maitland. My local booth (in an affluent Eat Maitland suburb) was very strong for the ALP and Phillip Penfold (independent) received approximately the same primary as the Lib.
BTW Small point but I am curious – are you sure Joel Fitzgibbon lives in Maitland? I thought he lived in Cessnock where his primary electorate office is. The white pages shows a residential hit in Cessnock and not Maitland for what it worth.


The discussion about seats and community of common interests raises in my view the question is it time to enlarge the federal parliament (I am aware of the flow on affects to the senate)

Unitary  State

I simply don’t understand why Chifley, greenway and Mitchell were left pretty much as they are.

Not only because of the upcoming council amalgamations, but the new northwest metro construction and northconnex motorway – which will mean the community of interest factors will be vastly different in the future than they were in the past.

More to the point, they simply do not make any sense to the naked eye when looking on an electoral map.

Liam Whelan

OlivierK @ 83
The problem with the far north coast is that Page and Richmond although somewhat similar they are also very different. In Richmond, the three main population centres are vastly different, for example Ballina should have stayed in Page due to its far less urbanised nature. On the other hand, Nimbin and the northern side of Limsore have been transferred out of Richmond, although those areas of lower socio economic level to Tweed and Byron, they have far more in common then Ballina does.
I personally would like to see Richmond keep Nimbin and those surrounding areas.


blackburn @ 81

Yes, it’s hard, but this result (splitting Coffs from Woolgoolga and Coramba, and Port from Wauchope and the Camden Haven) is worse than crossing the range.

Taking Tenterfield into Page with Casino isn’t awful, and would allow New England to retain Gunnedah. That would pull all the north coast boundaries north a little, which would solve a lot of problems.

The best solution (moving Tweed Heads out of Richmond into McPherson) is unfortunately not possible.


[The AEC should have bitten the bullet and made a more radical redistribution within the sydney basin. a lot of the current boundaries are based on LGA boundaries which will be amalgamated and significantly altered by next year. For instance, the current boundaries of Chifley, greenway and whitlam simply make no sense given the community of interest realities in that area.]

You’ve hit the nail on the head. There are more rural LGA amalgamations on the way as well so the concept of using LGA boundaries will just become unworkable in future as the LGA units get bigger.


Olivier K @ 78

There was always going to be something messy happen on the North Coast because the geography and the demographics just will not align in what essentially a long thin landmass. The AEC have tried to ameliorate by detaching Dorrigo from New England which is probably sensible but the only alternative was to go up onto the Tableland and that is not a realistic option.


caf @ 79

West side of the Snowy Mountains to be precise – Tumut, Tumbarumba. Quaenbeyan is very much part of E-M and will remain the largest population centre. Bringing Yass into E-M seems to be an effort on the part of the AEC to bring all of E-M into the Canberra media market.


blackburnpseph: I don’t think having Eden-Monaro not cross the dividing range is a worthwhile goal.

Queanbeyan has always been a major centre in the division, and is on the western side of the range – as is most of the Monaro region itself. In fact one of the odder parts of the redistribution is splitting off the northern part of Eurobodalla Shire – the towns from Moruya through to Batemans Bay are firmly in the orbit of Queanbeyan.


Cowper’s an unsustainable mess, with both Coffs and Port split from their suburbs.

Hartsuyker is seriously unimpressive, but is part of the furniture in Coffs. But Port is used to better than Luke, and he may not be as popular there as Gillespie.

Lyne without Port is equally messed up.

The whole mid north coast is stuffed from a community of interest point of view.

Unitary  State

It would have made so much more sense to create a seat called whitlam in the sydney basin by abolishing a seat such as Mitchell to accomodate for it.

It would be better to rename Paterson , hunter. and retain the name Charlton or at least not rename it hunter.

It is also a bad idea to rename Macarthur and Eden-Monaro if their objective is to retain the names of federation seats.

The AEC should have bitten the bullet and made a more radical redistribution within the sydney basin. a lot of the current boundaries are based on LGA boundaries which will be amalgamated and significantly altered by next year. For instance, the current boundaries of Chifley, greenway and whitlam simply make no sense given the community of interest realities in that area.

David Walsh

Paterson is basically the state seats of Port Stephens and Maitland. Both were won by Labor at this year’s state election, despite being a dreadful election overall. It also includes Kurri Kurri, from the safe Labor state seat of Cessnock.

Ben Raue calculates the seat to be notionally Labor (albeit barely). I’d class a generic Labor candidate as the favourite here. A Fitzgibbon contest and/or Baldwin retirement would tilt the odds further in the ALP’s favour.


blackburnseph @ 64 – you are of course 100% correct. We shall just have to wait and see. It is worth pointing out that 2013 likely represented a low for the Labor vote in East Maitland, as well as the normally Labor-voting Raymond Terrace. Add that to very strong swings to the Liberals in Port Stephens (particularly the areas of Port Stephens where Labor is normally competitive), and I just don’t think that the 0.5% margin in the proposed Paterson will withstand a “natural” swing back to Labor. Additionally, Paterson is also proposed to contain Thornton, Beresfield, Tarro and Woodberry, which were some of the strongest Labor areas in the seat of Newcastle, an already strongly Labor-voting electorate. But as you point out, this could all mean the reverse: these normally strong Labor areas may swing hard against Labor if there is a strong Liberal marginal seat campaign.

Meher baba @ 68 – It is unlikely that Eden-Monaro will no longer be a bellweather seat on these proposed boundaries. As blackburnseph pointed out at 19, Tumut and Tumbarumba were both in Eden-Monaro for the 2007 election, after being redistributed out of Farrer, and recorded swings to Labor between 14% and 20%.

Of course some of that swing would be related to the fact that 2007 was a Labor year, but a lot of the swing would have come from being redistributed from a safe seat to a marginal seat, and just as with Paterson above, those areas of Eden-Monaro that are new to the seat could well see large swings against the Liberals (assuming of course that the next election is good for Labor, which seems an unlikely prospect).