Northern Territory and Western Australia to lose a federal seat after House of Representatives reshuffle



The Northern Territory and Western Australia will each lose a seat in the House of Representatives, while Victoria is set to gain one, in a reshuffle by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

It means the NT will have just one federal Member of Parliament. WA will now have 15 seats, and Victoria will have 39.

The commission makes its judgments on population data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The changes were flagged by the AEC after last year’s federal election, but it said at the time that no other redistributions were expected during the current sitting term.

Demographers had already flagged that slow population growth in the NT could cost it one of its two seats.

The change in WA comes after its seat count increased just before the 2016 election, when the seat of Burt was created.

A subsequent slowdown in population growth means it will now lose a seat.

NT Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy is one of the federal politicians who are trying to change the Electoral Act to ensure the Territory retains its two seats.

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In a tweet, she described the AEC’s decision as “disappointing” but “no surprise”.

The private senator’s bill introduced by Labor to secure the seats has been referred by Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann to a joint standing committee for further consideration.

AEC Commissioner Tom Rogers said the Electoral Commission would meet on July 14 to begin discussions about how seats in Victoria and WA will be redistributed.

As the NT only had two seats, voters in whichever one is abolished — Solomon or Lingiari — will be included in the remaining seat.

Before the last election, South Australia lost a federal seat, but the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria both gained one.

The latest changes return the House of Representatives to a total of 150 seats.

The redistribution process will be open to public comment and is expected to take a number of months to complete, with names and boundaries of electoral divisions to be finalised by the second half of next year.



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