Following the public consultation process into the draft Victorian federal boundaries that were unveiled in August, the redistribution commissioners have announced they have essentially junked their original proposal and gone back to the drawing board. Unusually for a situation where the number of electorates had not changed, the original proposal was for a radical rearrangement in which the electorate of Murray on the border of New South Wales was to be abolished and a new electorate of Burke created in Melbourne’s northern outskirts. The response to this was sufficiently hostile that they have now decided on a more conventional course of action that merely tinkers with the 37 electorates that currently exist. Since this clearly amounts to a “significantly different” proposal to the original, the public inquiry process will begin anew.
I have not had time yet to examine the new boundaries in any detail, but since the original proposal was very bad news for Labor (while it created a new Labor seat in Burke and abolished a Liberal seat in Murray, it also made Liberal seats out of Labor-held Corangamite, Deakin and McEwen), it presumably follows that they will be more than happy with the plan to pursue a more conventional approach. More to follow.
UPDATE: Patricia Karvelas of The Australian reports Coalition MPs are “furious” with Murray MP Sharman Stone for her successful efforts to have her seat restored, at the expense of her party’s broader electoral interests.
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