Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not all of Victoria's seats created equal

EVERYONE'S vote will not be equal in the November 27 election. Figures show huge disparities in the enrolments for different seats, with some seats having almost two-thirds more voters than others.

The figures, released by the Victorian Electoral Commission, show enrolments in each seat vary from 54,134 in the outer suburban seat of Yan Yean to just 33,073 in Swan Hill.

Of the 88 seats in the Legislative Assembly, 28 are now either more than 10 per cent above the enrolment quota or more than 10 per cent below it.

The victims are overwhelmingly outer-suburban voters, who will be under-represented in the new Parliament. On the numbers, they should have least two more seats: one in the outer western suburbs, and one in the outer south-east.

The beneficiaries are voters in the middle eastern suburbs, middle south-eastern suburbs, and the rural seats inland. Each group has roughly one seat more than its numbers merit.

The disparity has developed because a loophole in the wording of the Constitution means Victoria has now gone for three elections using the same boundaries, rather than redrawing them after every second election, as intended.

The under-representation of the outer suburbs will slightly disadvantage Labor. It holds nine of the 10 most-oversized seats, including the three biggest: Yan Yean, Keilor (52,853 voters) and Narre Warren South (52,340) all fairly safe.

Labor also holds six of the 10 most-undersized seats, mainly in south-eastern suburbs such as Clayton (33,843), Mulgrave (34,995) and Oakleigh (35,535).

But the Liberals and Nationals also have their share. The nine National Party seats collectively are almost 30,000 below their quota, so it is possible that one will go in the next redistribution due in 2012. The 14 Liberal seats in suburban Melbourne are in a similar position.

Overall, the commission reports that 3,582,232 Victorians are enrolled to vote, 228,387 or 6.8 per cent more than in 2006. Most of that increase has been in the outer suburban seats, with Yan Yean alone having 13,051 more voters now than in 2006.

Of the 88 seats, 86 have recorded increased enrolments, with only Swan Hill (down 659) and Forest Hill (down 255) recording declines.

There were also big increases in inner-suburban seats such as Melbourne (up 5063), Albert Park (up 3222) and Richmond (up 3084) where the Greens are challenging Labor.




YAN YEAN 54,134 +33 LAB 8.0

KEILOR 52,853 +30 LAB 19.4

NARRE WARREN STH 52,340 +29 LAB 11.0

BASS 49,279 +21 LIB 5.6

YUROKE 48,425 +19 LAB 20.2

SOUTH BARWON 48,309 +19 LAB 2.3

CRANBOURNE 48,076 +18 LAB 11.3

MACEDON 47,847 +18 LAB 8.2

TARNEIT 47,784 +17 LAB 12.5

ALBERT PARK 47,148 +16 LAB 9.7


SWAN HILL 33,073 -19 NAT 23.4

CLAYTON 33,843 -17 LAB 20.3

MULGRAVE 34,995 -14 LAB 15.8

BULLEEN 35,488 -13 LIB 8.5

DANDENONG 35,535 -13 LAB 18.7

OAKLEIGH 35,602 -13 LAB 12.4