Gearing up for the next Queensland state election new electorates and compulsory preferential voting
There is clearly a great deal of interest in the current redistribution and particularly the release date for the Proposed Electoral Boundaries Report.
Over the past few months, the Commission has met regularly and has now agreed to the proposed electoral boundaries. The staff of the Commission are carefully preparing the boundary descriptions of the proposed 93 electorates. As they complete that process, the proposals are forwarded to specialist mappers who prepare the maps and ‘metes and bounds’ descriptions.
In the meantime the Commissioners are still meeting to resolve naming issues in respect of several electorates.
Our advice is that because of the extent of the work that needs to be done, and bearing in mind the approach of the Christmas holidays, the Commission is unlikely to have the final descriptions of the proposed electorates until mid to late February 2017.
A redistribution was already due to be carried out in 2016 by a three-person Redistribution Commission, made up of:
- the electoral commissioner;
- a judge or former judge (chairperson); and
- a chief executive of a department (or the equivalent)
The appointment of the Redistribution Commission had been held up because the LNP Opposition originally proposed a revamp.
That is no longer the case, so Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath had formally notified the other parties of the two people the Government intends to appoint.
Ms D'Ath wants work on the new boundaries to begin as soon as possible and to be finished within a year.
According to the Electoral Commission Queensland, outcomes of a state redistribution include:
adjustment of voters within electoral districts;
extension or reduction of boundary areas to alter the balance of electors;
amalgamation of smaller electoral districts into one larger area; and
creation of entirely new districts
Now that the task involves setting boundaries for 93 seats instead of 89, the redistribution could mean that the current 89 seats are retained (although with new boundaries) and four new seats added.
Or some current seats could be abolished, requiring the creation of more than four new seats.
Increasing the size of Parliament to 93 would give remote electorates a better chance of surviving the shift of population to the south-east.
That would benefit the LNP, he said, because it "would protect conservative seats in the north of the state from abolition, while new seats are likely to be created on the conservative voting Gold and Sunshine coasts".
Shadow attorney-general Ian Walker, who introduced the bill, said in a sense the boundary changes would be a brand new distribution, not just a redistribution of the existing electorates.
The Redistribution Commission would divide the total number of Queensland voters by 93 to get the average number required for each seat, taking into account a 2 per cent weighting for sparsely populated districts.
But it was difficult to predict how either side would be affected politically until the new electoral map was drawn, Mr Walker said.
All updates and information will be available on the website: https://boundaries.ecq.qld.gov.au/ or you can call or email the Commission.
It is anticipated according to figures published in the Queensland government Gazette that show ministers Leanne Donaldson and Coralee O’Rourke hold two of the least-populated electorates in Queensland, with about 30,000 voters each.
The seat with the most populated are The seat of Murrumba, held by Government Whip Chris Whiting, with nearly 42,000 voters.
When the parliament is expanded to 93 members and the seats are redistributed, this is likely to cause significant disruption to established boundaries and that will inevitably make some marginal seats safer and some safer seats less safe, however every seat will