New seats could shake Federal make-up
A looming electoral carve-up could be concerning for some federal MPs.
The Australian Electoral Commission has used new population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to adjust the allocation of seats in the lower house.
Reports say the redistributions of federal seats in Victoria, South Australia and the ACT could cost Malcolm Turnbull three seats before the next election, including that of cabinet minister Christopher Pyne.
The Parliamentary Library says the re-jig in Victoria, South Australia and the ACT should see the overall number of lower house seats grow by one to 151 in the next parliament.
The changes are due in part to Victoria's booming population – where population growth is at 2.4 per cent a year. That growth will require an increase in the lower house from 37 to 38 seats.
South Australia will fall from 11 to 10 seats, while the ACT should gain another seat, leaving it at three.
“The likelihood is two Labor seats will become three in Victoria,” according to ABC election analyst Antony Green.
Mr Green said South Australia could see the Labor seat of Makin, held by Tony Zappia, abolished “but then Sturt could become a Labor seat”.
Sturt is currently held by Christopher Pyne, but could end up absorbing much of the Labor vote from Makin, though it is unclear whether it would be enough to create the 5.6 per cent swing required to oust the Minister for Defence Industry.
It is also possible that SA’s rural Liberal seats of Barker and Grey could be merged instead.
The ACT is expected to remain safe Labor territory.
Kelly O'Dwyer, the MP for Higgins in Melbourne's inner south-east, said the redistribution could be an opportunity to win over new supporters.
“There needs to be a strategic investment in these areas, to let people there know how they've been let down by Labor and how their values align much more readily with Liberal values, because we are a party of aspiration,” Ms O'Dwyer said.
The electoral commission is expected to call for submissions from interested parties about the planned redistributions, with any boundary changes forecast to be finalised by mid-2018.
If a snap election is called in the meantime, an automatic “mini-redistribution” would see the two rural Liberal seats of Grey and Barker merged into one seat, while the Melbourne Labor seats of Lalor and Gorton would have a third seat carved out of them.