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.
More than 90 cannabis plants have been sized from a sophisticated hydroponic set-up in a north Shepparton home this afternoon.
Local football talent Dan Howe played well in his first game for reigning AFL premiership club Hawthorn last Thursday night.
A mighty cheer may soon be heard down Merrigum way; the town has officially saved its post office.
Echuca race caller Matt Jackson is a familiar voice for many racing fans.
After a stunning 2014, Rochester Secondary College has hit the ground running in 2015 with school captains Jess Dwyer and Josh Hamilton promising an action-packed year ahead.
Elusive small man re-signs with club
A Seymour group is calling for aphasia sufferers in the Goulburn Valley to join its choir.
The NSW Government has made a significant funding announcement to expand the health service in Tocumwal.
Heathcote RSL Sub-branch is proposing some changes and additions to the honour boards in the foyer of the RSL hall in Heathcote.
Start your engines — the annual Cobram Lawn Mower Races is back on this Sunday at Scott’s Reserve, with lots on offer to keep you busy during the long weekend.
With their match against Finley all but sewn up, the Deniliquin Rhinos will look to tighten up their batting game ahead of next week's semi-final.
Fruit Growers Victoria plans to give fruit growers in Victoria more on-farm support as a result of its organisational restructure.
This photograph of a young man in cade army uniform was taken by Benalla-based photographer John Howship. Does anyone know who it might be?
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.