Finally, some good news for Christian Porter. The Australian Electoral Commission has just released its draft new electoral boundaries for Western Australia, choosing to abolish the seat of Stirling rather than Attorney-General’s electorate of Pearce.
Western Australia is losing a seat due to a population slump, while Victoria has gained a new electorate in a separate draft redistribution unveiled at the same time.
Stirling, held by Liberal first termer Vince Connolly, high-profile Labor figure Anne Aly’s electorate of Cowan and Pearce were all considered likely candidates for the chop.
There was a special focus on Pearce, however, as both Stirling and Cowan were under quota. It was felt that it could be abolished and its voters distributed to nearby seats to bring up the numbers in Stirling and Cowan.
The boundaries are not final. The AEC has said that these will be announced on Monday, August 2 — five days before the first possible Saturday for a half-Senate and full House of Representatives election.
Porter will be relieved that he still has a seat, but that might be where the good news ends.
Antony Green estimates that when the voting figures from the 2019 election are applied to the new boundaries, the two-party preferred vote for the Attorney has fallen 2.3 per cent from 7.5 to 5.3 per cent. Any loss of a buffer will be a worry after the Liberals walloping in the West last Saturday.
While the Prime Minister will be pleased Porter’s seat is still there, that’s about the only good news for him in the redistribution.
The abolition of Stirling and the creation of new notionally Labor seat, Hawke, between the fringes of Greater Melbourne and Ballarat will immediately cut one seat from the government’s already knife-edge at the next election.
Controversial Liberal Gladys Liu’s narrow hold on the eastern Melbourne electorate of Chisholm is slashed from 0.6 to 0.2 per cent on Green’s calculations, while the margin in Peter Costello’s old seat of Higgins, once blue-ribbon territory but increasingly in striking range of both Labor and the Greens, falls from 3.9 to 3.7 per cent.
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