The Electoral Boundary Review
Redistributions in Queensland operate under provisions set out in the Electoral Act 1992 (the Act). The Queensland Redistribution Commission is responsible for overseeing the redistribution of the State's electoral boundaries and the districts' names. At present the State is divided into 89 electorates, each of which returns a single state member of parliament to the Legislative Assembly.
Over time electors move in and around the state, altering the balance of electors in these districts. A state redistribution is undertaken to ensure each electorate is represented by a fair and balanced number of electors. State redistributions occur between elections and in accordance with legislative time frames set out in the Act.
The passage of the Electoral (Improving Representation) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016 which received assent on Thursday, 5 May 2016 has increased the number of state electoral districts from 89 to 93. This means the Queensland Redistribution Commission will create and name an additional four electorates during this review.
Who conducts an electoral boundary review?
A review of electoral boundaries is conducted by a three person panel referred to as the Queensland Redistribution Commission.
These Commissioners include:
- a judge or former judge (to act as Chairperson);
- the Electoral Commissioner of Queensland; and
- a Chief Executive of a Department or the equivalent.
Why do we review and change electoral boundaries?
The number of electors in a district is the most important consideration to an electoral boundary review. By reviewing these boundaries, the Commission seeks to ensure that at election time, the number of voters in each district will be within the same permissible quota (average district enrolment ±10%). So long as each electorate has a similar number of electors, the votes of each person carries the same value.
To understand the importance of the review process and to give a visual representation of enrolment statistics for Queensland's electoral districts before the reviews commencement, see the Electoral Enrolment Heat Map (PDF, 1.8 MB).
While the Commissioners must ensure that enrolments in each electorate remain within the permissible limits of the quota, they will also consider other factors that impact electorates and their surrounding communities.
- Remote / Large Districts:
- An 'additional large district number' is given to electorates that are geographically large in size, but small in population.
- These districts must have an area larger than 100,000km2, and include the most remote parts of Queensland. Currently there are five districts that are given this two per cent allowance (see Electoral Enrolment Statistics). The total electors (including the additional large district number) must be within the range of ±10% of the average district enrolment.
- Other Factors:
- demographic trends - longevity of boundaries to account for population growth/losses;
- community of interest - economic, social, regional or other interests;
- communication and travel;
- existing boundaries of state districts; and
- existing boundaries of local government areas.
These other factors are taken into consideration as far as the variation from average district enrolment will allow.
What happens after the review is complete?
The review process can take from nine months to a year to complete. For more information on the time frames for the 2017 review, see the Commission's Timeline.
Once the final boundaries have been published in the Queensland Government Gazette, the review is complete and following the 21 day appeals period, the boundaries are considered final and are not subject to appeal. The 93 State electoral boundaries will come into effect when the writ for the next general state election is issued.