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Map of Australia's 150 electoral divisions to the House of Representatives (blank)

In Australia, electoral districts for the Australian House of Representatives are called divisions or more commonly referred to as electorates or seats. There are currently 150 single-member electorates for the Australian House of Representatives.

Constitutional and legal requirements[edit]

Section 24 of the Constitution of Australia requires that the total number of members of the Australian House of Representatives shall be "as nearly as practicable" twice as many as the number of members of the Australian Senate. The section also requires that electorates be apportioned among the states in proportion to their respective populations; provided that each original state has at least 5 members in the House of Representatives, a provision that has given Tasmania higher representation than its population would justify. There are also two electorates in both the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

In addition, Section 29 forbids electorate boundaries from crossing state lines, forcing populated areas along state and territory borders to be placed in different electorates, such as Albury in New South Wales being part of the electorate of Farrer, while nearby Wodonga in Victoria is part of the electorate of Indi.

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 sets out further provisions.[1]

Apportionment[edit]

The Australian Electoral Commission determines from time to time the number of members to which each state and territory is entitled and the boundaries of each electorate, in a process known in Australia as redistribution.

Within each state and territory, electoral boundaries are redrawn from time to time. This takes place at least once every 7 years, or when the state's entitlement to the number of members of the House of Representatives changes. Boundaries are drawn by a Redistribution Committee, and apportionment within a state is on the basis of the number of enrolled voters rather than total residents or "population".

The number of enrolled voters in each division cannot vary by more than 10% from the average across a state or territory, nor can the number of voters vary by more than 3.5% from the average projected enrolment 3.5 years into the future. However, due to various reasons, larger seats like Fenner (Australian Capital Territory) contain more than double the electors of smaller seats like Lingiari (Northern Territory).

Naming[edit]

The Divisions of the House of Representatives are unusual in that many of them are not named after geographical features or numbered, as is the case in most other legislatures around the world. Most Divisions are named in honour of prominent historical people, such as former politicians (often Prime Ministers), explorers, artists and engineers.

In some cases where a Division is named after a geographical locality, the connection to that locality is sometimes tenuous. For instance, the Division of Werriwa, created in 1901, was named after the Aboriginal word for Lake George in the Canberra region. However, Werriwa has not contained Lake George for many decades, and has steadily moved some 200 km north to the south-western suburbs of Sydney over the past century.

List of Divisions in 2016[edit]

The maps below show the Division boundaries as they existed at the Australian federal election, 2016.

New South Wales[edit]

Electoral divisions: Sydney area
Electoral divisions: Outside Sydney area
Electoral divisions: Rest of New South Wales

There are 47 Divisions in New South Wales:

Due to changing demographics, New South Wales lost one seat in the House of Representatives as of the 2016 federal election. The redistribution involved extensive changes to existing boundaries, with approximately 20 per cent of voters in New South Wales being moved into a new electorate. The AEC's initial proposal called for the Division of Hunter to be abolished, with its voters absorbed into the neighbouring electorates of Charlton, New England, and Paterson. Due to the AEC's practice of giving preference to the names of the so-called 'Federation divisions'—those contested at the first federal election in 1901—Charlton was to have been renamed Hunter.[2]

Further, the Division of Throsby was renamed Whitlam, after former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam—part of another AEC practice of honouring deceased Prime Ministers with electoral divisions.[3]

The final map, however, saw Charlton abolished, with Hunter moving eastward to absorb most of Charlton's territory. The name change from Throsby to Whitlam remained in effect.[4]

Victoria[edit]

Electoral divisions: Melbourne area
Electoral divisions: Outside Melbourne area
Electoral divisions: Rest of Victoria

There are 37 Divisions in Victoria (21 in Melbourne):

Queensland[edit]

Electoral divisions: Brisbane area
Electoral divisions: Outside Brisbane area
Electoral divisions: Rest of Queensland

There are 30 Divisions in Queensland:

Western Australia[edit]

Electoral divisions: Inner Perth area
Electoral divisions: Outer Perth area
Electoral divisions: Rest of Western Australia

There are 16 Divisions in Western Australia:

Due to Western Australia's growing population, the state gained a 16th seat before the 2016 federal election.[5] The Australian Electoral Commission has named the seat Burt after one of Western Australia's most prominent legal families, and three members thereof in particular:

Burt is located in the south-eastern suburbs of Perth, and was created out of portions of the neighbouring divisions of Canning, Hasluck and Tangney, and a small portion of Swan.[7]

Based on the results of the 2013 federal election, the new electorate of Burt was notionally a Liberal seat, with a TPP margin of 5.2 percent.[8]

South Australia[edit]

Electoral divisions: Adelaide area
Electoral divisions: Rest of South Australia

There are 11 Divisions in South Australia:

Tasmania[edit]

Electoral divisions: Tasmania

There are 5 Divisions in Tasmania:

Australian Capital Territory[edit]

Electoral divisions: Australian Capital Territory

There are 2 Divisions in the ACT:

From 1 July 2016, the Division of Canberra also includes voters from Norfolk Island.[9]

Prior to the 2016 federal election, the Division of Fenner was known as the Division of Fraser. The new name honours the Australian virologist Frank Fenner (1914–2010),[10] and the change was due to plans by the Australian Electoral Commission to name a Victorian electorate after former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser when that state next undergoes an electoral redistribution.[11]

Northern Territory[edit]

Electoral divisions: Northern Territory

There are 2 Divisions in the Northern Territory:

Proposed divisions[edit]

The Division of Bean is the proposed name of the third Australian electoral division for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

On 31 August 2017 the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the ACT would have a third seat.[12]

The division was proposed in a 2018 draft redistribution out of the existing divisions of Canberra and Fenner.[13] It is proposed to be named after Charles Bean, a former correspondent to the Australian Imperial Force. The seat may be contested at the next federal election, due to be held between late 2018 and mid 2019.[13]

Abolished divisions[edit]

These Australian Divisions no longer exist:

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

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