Divisions of the Australian House of Representatives
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.
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.
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.
Section 24 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 gives Tasmania higher representation than its population would justify.
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 three-and-a-half years into the future. However, due to various reasons, larger seats like Fenner contain more than double the electors of smaller seats like Lingiari.
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
The maps below show the Division boundaries as they existed at the Australian federal election, 2016.
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.
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.
There are 37 Divisions in Victoria:
There are 30 Divisions in Queensland:
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. 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:
- Sir Archibald Burt (1810–1879), the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia,
- Septimus Burt (1847–1919), Attorney-General of Western Australia during the colonial period, and
- Sir Francis Burt (1918–2004), Governor of Western Australia from 1990 until 1993.
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.
There are 11 Divisions in South Australia:
There are 5 Divisions in Tasmania:
Australian Capital Territory
There are 2 Divisions in the ACT:
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), 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.
There are 2 Divisions in the Northern Territory:
These Australian Divisions no longer exist:
- Angas (1903–34) (SA)
- Angas (1949–77) (SA)
- Australian Capital Territory (1949–74) (ACT)
- Balaclava (1901–84) (VIC)
- Barrier (1901–22) (NSW)
- Bland (1901–06) (NSW)
- Bonython (1955–2004) (SA)
- Bourke (1901–49) (VIC)
- Burke (1949–55) (VIC)
- Burke (1969–2004) (VIC)
- Canobolas (1901–06) (NSW)
- Charlton (1984–2016) (NSW)
- Cook (1906–55) (NSW)
- Coolgardie (1901–13) (WA)
- Corinella (1901–06) (VIC)
- Corinella (1990–96) (VIC)
- Dalley (1901–69) (NSW)
- Dampier (1913–22) (WA)
- Darebin (1949–69) (VIC)
- Darling (1901–77) (NSW)
- Darling Downs (1901–84) (QLD)
- Darwin (1903–55) (TAS)
- Diamond Valley (1969–84) (VIC)
- Dundas (1977–93) (NSW)
- East Sydney (1901–69) (NSW)
- Echuca (1901–37) (VIC)
- Evans (1949–77) (NSW)
- Fawkner (1906–69) (VIC)
- Fraser (1974–2016) (ACT)
- Grampians (1901–22) (VIC)
- Gwydir (1901–2007) (NSW)
- Hawker (1969–93) (SA)
- Henty (1913–90) (VIC)
- Higinbotham (1949–69) (VIC)
- Hoddle (1949–55) (VIC)
- Illawarra (1901–22) (NSW)
- Isaacs (1949–69) (VIC)
- Kalgoorlie (1901–2010) (WA)
- Laanecoorie (1901–13) (VIC)
- Lang (1901–77) (NSW)
- Lawson (1949–69) (NSW)
- Lowe (1949–2010) (NSW)
- Martin (1922–55) (NSW)
- Mernda (1901–13) (VIC)
- Moira (1901–06) (VIC)
- Namadgi (1996–98) (ACT)
- Nepean (1906–22) (NSW)
- Northern Melbourne (1901–06) (VIC)
- Northern Territory (1922–2001) (NT)
- Oxley (1901–34) (QLD)
- Parkes (1901–69) (NSW)
- Phillip (1949–93) (NSW)
- Prospect (1969–2010) (NSW)
- Riverina-Darling (1984–93) (NSW)
- Scullin (1955–69) (VIC)
- South Australia (1901–03) (SA)
- South Sydney (1901–34) (NSW)
- Southern Melbourne (1901–06) (VIC)
- St George (1949–93) (NSW)
- Streeton (1984–90) (VIC)
- Tasmania (1901–03) (TAS)
- Throsby (1984–2016) (NSW)
- Watson (1934–69) (NSW)
- West Sydney (1901–69) (NSW)
- Wilmot (1903–84) (TAS)
- Wimmera (1901–77) (VIC)
- Yarra (1901–69) (VIC)
- For a list of members of the current House of Representatives and the electorates they represent, see List of members of the Australian House of Representatives.
- For a description of how the House of Representatives is elected, see Australian electoral system.
- For an electoral history of each Division since Federation in 1901, see Adam Carr's Electoral Archive: Index of House of Representatives Divisions 1901–2001
- Australian Electoral Commission.Research Report 4 – Australian Federal Redistributions 1901–2003. Accessed 5 May 2008.
- "Norfolk Island Electors". Australian Electoral Commission. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.