Electoral Boundaries Commission of Victoria has just advertised for
submissions on the redivision of boundaries for the Legislative Council
– details here.

year’s Victorian election will be the first for Victoria’s reformed
upper house – eight provinces, each electing five members by
proportional representation. There will be a lot of new possibilities
for current and aspiring Legislative Council members, so it’s not
surprising that people have been laying plans for Council
preselections. Some of them might be quite surprised to see the
advertisement, and to find that the Commission expects the redivision
process to take until October. A myth has grown up in all parties that
the boundaries are already set, in the Schedule inserted in 2003 into
the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act 1982.

section 18 of the Act clearly states that: “For the purpose of enabling
the holding of the first election of the [reformed] Council …, it is
also a function of the [Boundaries] Commission during the period
starting on 1 January 2005 and ending on 30 November 2005, to divide
the State of Victoria into electoral regions for the Legislative
Council …”

The Schedule is just a contingency measure for an early election – not a real possibility.

no boundaries until October, and no preselections until then either?
Not necessarily. Those who want to hurry things have a fallback
position, which is that “only minor changes” will be made to the
interim boundaries in the Schedule.

But this is a
misunderstanding of how the process works. The last thing the
Commissioners will do is follow the interim boundaries. They will be
determined to avoid any suggestion of a return to the bad old days when
the government of the day drew the electoral boundaries.

would be the case even if the interim boundaries were fairly drawn. But
in fact they have clearly been drawn with an eye to Labor’s political
advantage. Note especially the province straddling the Yarra in central
Melbourne, which seems designed to quarantine as many Greens voters as
possible in one province. Potential candidates should hope for a fairer
set of boundaries later in the year, and cool their heels until then.