In Tasmania, the central principle in determining electoral boundaries is ‘one vote one value’. It is important that electors are given fair and equal representation in Parliament. This applies to both houses of State Parliament and the Federal House of Representatives. Electoral boundaries are re-examined and changed if necessary to ensure that parity is maintained.
In Tasmania, the House of Assembly electorates are currently the same as those used for the Federal House of Representatives. Federal boundaries are determined in accordance with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and the Tasmanian Parliament has historically amended the Constitution Act 1934 to adopt those boundaries.
Legislative Council divisions are separate and are determined by the Redistribution Tribunal under the Legislative Council Electoral Boundaries Act 1995.
The Parliamentary Reform Act 1998 lowered the number of members of Parliament in both houses. The House of Assembly was decreased from 35 members to 25 (5 in each electorate) and the Legislative Council was reduced from 19 members to 15. Because the Legislative Council only has one member for each division, the decrease in members also meant a decrease in divisions while the House of Assembly electorates remained unchanged.
In 1998 the Redistribution Tribunal determined the boundaries and division names for the new divisions, and how the transition would take place.
The divisions are determined by a number of factors including:
Redistribution is done so that enrolment figures:
The current enrolment figures are published every quarter here.
The Redistribution Committee consists of the Electoral Commissioner, the Surveyor-General and a representative of the Australian Statistician. The Committee makes the initial proposal and is then dissolved.
The Tribunal consists of the members of the Committee as well as the Chairman and third member of the Tasmanian Electoral Commission.
The Tribunal examines the initial proposal and any submissions made in response to that proposal. A further proposal is then published and may be open to review and comment. The Tribunal then makes a final determination, which is tabled in Parliament.
Legislation requires redistribution for Legislative Council Divisions to take place within nine years of the previous Redistribution Committee’s appointment. This is to ensure that the electors retain equal representation in line with the ‘one vote one value’ principle.
Members of the public and local councils are invited to make submissions to the Redistribution Tribunal before the Redistribution is finalised. The Tribunal is legally required to consider any submissions before finalising Redistribution.
Until 1995, Legislative Council division boundaries were decided by the Parliament. The Legislative Council Electoral Boundaries Act 1995 established in law the “one vote, one value” principle.
There have been three boundary redistributions since 1995.
1995 Legislative Council electoral boundary redistribution –
in which the 19 Legislative Council divisions were redrawn so that all divisions had a similar number of electors.
1998 Legislative Council electoral boundary redistribution –
in which 15 new divisions were created following the passing of a law to reduce the number of Legislative Council members from 19 to 15. 1998 electoral boundary redistribution.
2007-08 Legislative Council electoral boundary redistribution –
in which the electoral boundaries were re-examined and adjusted where necessary to ensure all divisions still had similar numbers of electors. 2007-08 electoral boundary redistribution.
Under current Tasmanian legislation, a new redistribution is undertaken every 9 years by an independent Committee and Tribunal with a priority to ensure that all divisions contain the same number of electors, give or take 10%, four and a half years after the redistribution.
Most boundary movements are small.
In some cases, the boundaries of a division will not change at all following a redistribution. This was the case at the 2008 electoral boundary redistribution for the divisions of Mersey, Montgomery and Murchison.
However in some cases, the area covered by a particular division can change dramatically. Where there are large boundary changes, a new name is usually given to the newly created division. There may also be other reasons why the name of a division is changed.
Following a boundary redistribution, the current members are allocated to one of the new divisions. The allocation of members can be seen at the bottom of each election summary page.