Two into one won't go.CHALPAT SONTI July 4, 2013 4:22am
It’s almost a case of back to the future with the Electoral Boundaries Commission’s proposed shake-up of state electorates.
Under the plan, the seat of Benalla would vanish, with parts gobbled up by a vastly different electorate of Seymour.
The new Seymour electoral district would take in parts of the Benalla, Rodney and even Bendigo East and Shepparton seats, meaning huge changes for both sitting Legislative Assembly members.
The entire Strathbogie Shire Council area returns to an electorate joining the Mitchell Shire, harking back to the days before Seymour was created in 1992, when the region was part of the Benalla electorate.
But both Cindy McLeish (Seymour) and Bill Sykes (Benalla) would be hard pressed to recognise the new electorate.
While the Coalition has an agreement between the Liberals and Nationals not to run candidates against each other where one of the parties holds the seat, the new boundaries pose an interesting problem.
Ms McLeish hails from the Murrindindi Shire part of the electorate, which is now in a new district of Eildon. Dr Sykes’ base around Benalla would be in the Seymour district, but the rest of his electorate has been carved off to Eildon and Ovens Valley.
Benalla, the largest town in the new district, is almost on the north-eastern boundary, while the Campaspe River marks the western edge.
The new Seymour electorate would have about 43
Changes are necessary to ensure each electorate has a similar number of voters, allowed to be up to 10 per cent more or less than the average (about 41
The Nationals proposed that Benalla incorporate Seymour, Yea, Alexandra and Marysville, changing Seymour to a long, narrow Yarra Ranges district that stretched along the Great Divide and Upper Yarra Valley. The Greens’ solution was to push Benalla all the way to the Upper Yarra, getting rid of Seymour district entirely.
However the Commission preferred a district that grouped both Benalla and Seymour in a largely regional electorate.
‘‘As Seymour is more central to the district than Benalla, the EBC proposes that the district be named Seymour,’’ its report says.
Its make up would be welcome news on one front to the Coalition, as it appears to have been made safer.
Dr Sykes held Benalla with a 23 per cent margin on a two-party preferred basis, with Rodney also a safe Nationals seat and any swings would likely have to come from the southern, less-populous part.
Ms McLeish said the proposal was only a draft and all parties, including the Liberals, would be putting in a submission before the final decision.
Dr Sykes said politics aside, the redistribution proposal was about the issue of representation.
‘‘My message to people is have a look at it,’’ he said.
‘‘Either consider you’re adequately represented but if (you’re) concerned (you) need to put in a submission expressing that concern.’’
He believed the new Seymour district was ‘‘a bit of a hotch-potch’’ and with the likes of Benalla and Rodney going there would be a reduction in country representation.
‘‘The new Seymour seat has a lot of urban influence (south of Seymour), they’re just not the same people as the people north of Seymour.’’
‘‘People power’’ had worked in the past.
‘‘In a Federal redistribution they eliminated (the Murray electorate) and that was challenged and they got it back,’’ Dr Sykes said.
Submissions on the proposals close at the end of the month. A final decision will be made in October with changes taking effect at the next state election.
After spending two games in the WAFL Michael Barlow has been recalled to play for Fremantle against St Kilda this weekend.
Three Yarrawonga footballers have excelled at interleague level, representing the Ovens and Murray against Hampden in Warrnambool on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
The Moama-Echuca Border Raiders took a big stride into the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League for 2016 with a solid, four-grade performance at Eaglehawk’s Truscott Reserve on Sunday.
THE town’s schools celebrated Education Week last week.
Kyabram Football Club will host a family day next weekend.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
HEATHCOTE Pre-school staff members were overwhelmed by the response to their annual Garden Express Spring Bulb fundraiser.
Youth services in Cobram have received a helping hand thanks to a new appointment made possible through a community store.
Plans for the release of a carp herpes virus has captured the attention of international press.
Farmers from northern Victoria will join a protest rally over milk prices in Melbourne tomorrow, Wednesday.
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