Vic electorate abolished, while WA gains federal seat

Victorian electoral redistribution

Source: AEC

The federal Labor-held seat of Higgins will be abolished at the next election, while there will be an additional seat in Western Australia.

The Australian Electoral Commission has recommended Higgins, in Melbourne’s inner-south-east, be scrapped at the next election under its latest redrawing of electoral boundaries.

Higgins – once a plum Liberal seat – takes in the Melbourne suburbs of Armadale, Kooyong, Malvern, Prahran and Toorak.

Historically a safe conservative seat, Higgins was previously held by prime ministers Harold Holt and John Gorton, as well as long-serving treasurer and now Nine Entertainment chairman Peter Costello.

It was won by Labor backbencher Michelle Ananda-Rajah at the 2022 election with a slim 2 per cent margin. Ananda-Rajah, a doctor specialising in infectious diseases before entering parliament, won the seat from another doctor, the Liberals’ Katie Allen.

Ananda-Rajah said on Friday she was disappointed by the decision.

“I remain as committed as every to represent this great electorate,” she said.

“This is a draft proposal and there is now a process to go through. We will have more to say once that process is complete.”

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Under the AEC plan unveiled on Friday, the electorate will be absorbed into the surrounding seats of Chisholm, Hotham, Kooyong, Macnamara and Melbourne.

Allen had been preselected by the Liberals to recontest Higgins at the next election. Ananda-Rajah, meanwhile, faces finding another seat or a Senate spot if she wants to remain in parliament.

Elsewhere, WA’s growing population means it will gain a seat.

The commission has proposed the seat, in the Perth hills, be called Bullwinkel – named after Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel. She was the sole survivor of the 1942 Bangka Island massacre of Australian nurses during World War II and was a prisoner of war for more than three years.

She later became a director of nursing and worked for the recognition of military personnel and victims of war crimes.

WA electoral redistribution

Source: AEC

ABC election analyst Antony Green said the new WA seat would be marginally Labor.

The redistribution comes ahead of the House of Representatives reducing in size at the next election from 151 to 150 seats.

While WA will gain a seat at the next poll, due to be held by May 2025, Victoria and NSW will each lose one. A decision on NSW electoral boundaries is due within weeks.

Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said changing population was behind the decision to abolish Higgins.

“Under the proposal some significant changes would occur, with the boundaries of Victorian divisions being amended to accommodate the decrease,” he said.

​A final decision on the electoral boundaries will be made later this year, following consultation.

-with AAP

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