Political junkies, as well as those who just appreciate dodgy geography, can now amuse themselves by checking out the submissions received on the current redistribution of federal electoral boundaries for Victoria, now available at the Australian Electoral Commission website.
In an election year this is something of a distraction, since there’s no way the new boundaries will be ready in time for the election (unless Kevin Rudd should defer the election until next year, already pretty much unthinkable). It’s even possible they will never apply at all, if Victoria’s seat entitlement were to change over the next couple of years, although that’s very unlikely. Antony Green explains the quirk of drafting that led the Commission to conduct a redistribution now.
But the submissions always make good reading, as harassed party officials tie themselves in knots producing elaborate plans that the Committee will ignore, just to be able to tell their own MPs that they are looking after their interests.
There are twelve submissions; one each from the four main parties and eight from individuals – four with concerns about particular areas of the state, and another four (including me) who have attempted more general surveys.
But most of the interest will be in what the parties say, if only for sheer entertainment value. The Liberal submission, for example, seems to have been largely designed to try to recover Deakin, giving that seat a most peculiar shape and playing havoc with neighboring seats.
The ALP, on the other hand, seems to have started with Corangamite, shoring up its majority there by divesting it of the most rural areas – which has the unfortunate consequence of pushing Corio across the Geelong-Melbourne boundary, one of the strongest natural boundaries in the state.
Readers are invite to submit their own favorite examples.
As I said last year, writing submissions is “among the least harmful things that a party head office could be doing, and it may even have some value for their staff as intellectual exercise.” But if I were a party member, I think I’d be suggesting that in an election year they could be more usefully occupied.