WESTERN Australia’s federal electorate boundaries are set to be re-drawn to fit in an extra seat – only two years after the federal seat of Stirling was abolished – with both the Labor and Liberal party’s proposals placing the new seat in the eastern suburbs of Perth.
The Labor and Liberal proposals for the 16th seat have the potential to redraw the boundaries for the electorates of Hasluck, Swan, Burt, Canning, Swan, O’Connor, Pearce, and Durack.
The Australian Electoral Commission states that currently 13 out of WA’s 15 federal electorate seats do not meet the current numerical requirements, with the remaining two – Burt and Forrest – projected to go over quota soon.
Currently, AEC requirements state that “the number of electors enrolled in each federal division as at Wednesday, August 9, 2023, must be between minus 10 per cent and plus 10 per cent of the redistribution quota,” and that “as far as practicable, the projected number of electors enrolled in each federal electoral division in WA at the projection time would be minus 3.5 per cent and plus 3.5 per cent of the projected enrolment quota.”
In July, electoral commissioner Tom Rogers increased WA’s seats in the House of Representatives from 15 to 16, with redistribution formally commencing in August.
The WA redistribution committee received 21 suggestions on the potential name, boundaries and location of the new federal seat.
Labor have proposed the creation of the seat of Farmer, named after the footballer Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer, with the seat covering the foothills and the Perth Hills, stretching as far south as Roleystone, while also taking the north-eastern hills suburbs away from Hasluck.
The proposal would see Hasluck anchored in Midland and Ellenbrook, with east Tonkin Highway suburbs such as Bassendean, Eden Hill, and Ashfield to also be included in the electorate, stretching the electorate westward.
Forrestfield, Maida Vale, and Wattle Grove would transfer from Swan into Farmer under Labor’s proposal.
From Burt, Beckenham, Orange Grove, and Thornlie would be included in the seat, and Canning’s northern suburbs, such as Pickering Brook and Roleystone would be the proposed seat’s southern point.
Labor’s submission states that its proposal “is guided by the principal of minimal change, and despite accommodating a new division and the knock-on effects, displaces less than one in five electors across Western Australia.”
The Liberal proposal wants to name the additional seat after former WA Premier Sir Charles Court, and their proposal stretches east into the Wheatbelt, south as far as Gosnells and Armadale and falls just shy of Chittering northwards while bordering on the hills westward.
It would encompass the towns of Northam, York, and Beverley, as well as the Perth Hills, rural parts of the Swan Valley and rural segments of the City of Swan, with the submission saying the seat would have a similar character to the 1989 configuration of the seat of Pearce.
The Liberal submission was against the renaming of current electorates, and states that Mr Court was instrumental in the development of WA’s prosperity.
“After Sir Charles Court’s passing, generous tributes were paid from both sides of politics acknowledging his fundamental role in Western Australia’s economic development,” the submission states.
“We are opposed in principle to any adventurous general redrawing of divisional boundaries.”
Comments on the suggestions will be made available in December, with the electoral commission’s determination expected to be made in September 2024.