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Antony Green on redistribution of federal seats in NSW

February 22 2006

If you were a betting man, the odds are that one of Labor's western suburbs
MPs is about to get the chop.

With the projected enrolment figures now available, my previous estimate
that Riverina would be abolished looks less likely if the Liberal and
National Parties choose to minimise inter-party disputes.

West of the Great Dividing Range, the real problem is that Parkes and
Gwydir are together about 15,000 voters short of the minimum required
quota. The best solution to that? Gaining the area around Muswellbrook from
Hunter, which has knock on effects through to the northern edge of Sydney.
It might make life a little tougher for Kerry Bartlett in Macquarie, and
maybe for Louise Markus in Greenway, but the net result would be to
minimise change in rural NSW.

Out of that one seat will be abolished in the area somewhere between
Parramatta and Liverpool. The most likely option would be to abolish Reid
or Blaxland. I'd put my money on Blaxland being abolished, it being the
newer seat created in 1949, while Reid will be retained as it is named
after a former Prime Minister.

While the name might remain the same, you can expect wholesale changes to
the boundaries of Watson, Banks, Reid, Fowler, Prospect and Werriwa. More
than enough to create pre-selection havoc unless someone accepts a tap on
the shoulder to retire.

As for the Prime Ministers seat of Bennelong, it needs to gain at least
3,500 and more probably around 4,500 voters from the west and north-west.
This is probably not enough to make his seat a notional Labor seat,
especially if the Liberal Party looks after his majority with its proposal.