Electoral ground moves for MPs

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Changing seats: Moves to better balance populations within federal electorates sees Dunkley – held for the Liberals by Chris Crewther – lose Mornington but gain Sandhurst near Thompson Road in the north. Flinders – held by Mr Crewther’s Liberal colleague Greg Hunt – is almost cut geographically in half and now consists mainly of the Mornington Peninsula (except most of Mt Eliza) and French Island. The entire town of Baxter has been added to Flinders in the proposed redrawing of electorate boundaries. Flinders’ loss has been used to create the new seat of Monash.

PROPOSED changes to the boundaries of Victorian federal electorates almost halve the seat of Flinders held by Liberal Greg Hunt, while the neighbouring seat of Dunkley held by Liberal MP Chris Crewther moves slightly north into parts of Isaacs.

The changes – which create a new seat of Monash from the eastern and northern parts of Flinders – are designed to reflect population growth so that each electorate has a similar number of voters and have been made to accomodate a new electorate to be called Fraser in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Mr Hunt’s Flinders electorate could be scaled back to cover only the Mornington Peninsula (excluding Mt Eliza) and French Island.

Cut from Flinders are large areas in the cities of Casey and Cardinia and the Shire of Bass Coast, including Phillip Island.

Added to Flinders is that part of Baxter north of Baxter-Tooradin Road and from Bentons Road, Mornington to Manmangur Creek (the northern boundary of Mornington Golf Course) and Oakbank Road, Mt Eliza. These areas were formerly within Dunkley.

Dunkley stands to gain a section of the seat of Isaacs north to Thompsons Road (Sandhurst), and down Eel Race Road to the bay.

Both Mr Hunt and Mr Crewther declined to comment on the proposed changes late last week and referred media inquiries to the Liberal Party’s state director, Nick Demiris, who was not available.

The Redistribution Committee for Victoria considered names and boundaries for the 38 Victorian federal electoral divisions. It had the task of rearranging boundaries in the low-growth eastern suburbs of Melbourne to “more equitably balance the high-growth areas in the south-east and north-west”, as well as taking high growth areas out of electoral divisions which “exceed the maximum number of electors permitted by the Electoral Act, including the divisions of McEwen and McMillan”.

Committee chair and electoral commissioner Tom Rogers said the redistribution was required to enable an increase from 37 to 38 federal electoral divisions.

“Under the proposal the boundaries of all 37 existing Victorian electoral divisions would change, the additional division of Fraser would be created and four divisions would be renamed,” Mr Rogers said.

“The high population growth in Victoria, together with the dispersed spread of electors, has resulted in the redistribution committee proposing significant change to Victoria’s electoral division boundaries.”

The proposed new seat of Monash would replace the seat of McMillan and take over the eastern portion of Mr Hunt’s existing electorate.

Written objections to the committee’s proposals can be lodged with The Australian Electoral Commission, GPO Box 768, Melbourne, 3001, by 6pm, Friday 4 May, or email: FedRedistribution-VIC@aec.gov.au or via fax: 02 6293 7664.

All objections received by the deadline will be available for public inspection on Level 1, Urban Workshop, 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne and on the AEC website from Monday 7 May.

Comments on the objections will then be accepted until 6pm (AEST) Friday 18 May. All comments on objections received by the deadline will also be made available to the public from Monday 21 May.

First published in the Frankston Times – 9 April 2018

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