Proposed Bass, Lyons boundary changes debated

The Australian Electoral Commission’s proposal to move the Dorset and Flinders Island municipalities from the Bass electorate to that of Lyons has attracted opposition from a number of stakeholders, an AEC inquiry has heard.

On Tuesday, the inquiry into the planned electoral redistribution held a hearing in Hobart.

A redistribution process is required every seven years, to account for differing rates of growth and to unite communities of interest.

Each electorate must also meet an elector quota, based on population projections to 2021.

At this stage, Tasmania’s five electorates are not projected to meet these legislative requirements in the future.

Dorset Council made a submission to the inquiry, opposing the proposal to move Dorset and Flinders Island into Lyons.

“Dorset fails to see how excluding [a] small highly populated area ... [in] the West Tamar area and including an extra 3196 square kilometres of Dorset and 2040 square kilometres of Flinders Island will in any way assist elected members to service their electorate,” Dorset mayor Greg Howard wrote.

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Meanwhile, the entirety of the West Tamar municipality is set to be located in Bass under the new changes.

Right now, part of West Tamar falls in Lyons.

West Tamar Council welcomed the proposal to relocate those parts of its municipality to Bass.

“It is council’s belief that there is a strong argument that what happens in Bass has a much greater impact on our municipality than what happens within Lyons,” the council’s submission to the AEC read.

The two major political parties wrote to the AEC expressing their shared desire to have no changes made to distribution in Bass.

The Liberal Party’s Tasmanian division noted that Bass already fell “comfortably” within the legislative parameters. 

At the Hobart hearing, the redistribution committee heard submissions regarding a potential name change for the electorate of Denison.

Both Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome and historian Henry Reynolds advocated for changing the name to Inglis Clark, in recognition of the late politician and lawmaker Andrew Inglis Clark.

The final changes to the state’s electoral distribution will come into effect on November 14, after the AEC has considered all submissions.