Petition against Meander federal boundary changes creates awareness

A petition to stop an electoral boundary change was tabled at Meander Valley Council’s August meeting.

Councillor Andrew Connor ran a week-long petition which gained about 150 petitions opposing the Tasmanian electoral commission’s plans to move the region’s electorate from Bass to Lyons.

“The petition was pretty successful, even though it only went for about a week,” he said. 

Cr Connor said very few residents, that he door knocked, were across the issue, but once he explained they were “overwhelmingly” happy to sign the petition. 

“They asked why we would want to share a boundary with Strathgordon, St Helens and Port Sorrel and then have a member of parliament with a secondary office at Perth and then be based in Bridgewater,” he said.

“They all understood that it was not a great thing to split up the area like that.” 

The petition was mentioned at the inquiry to the changes on August 7. 

The change would see the federal election boundary changed from being inline with the South Esk River, to be inline with the council boundary at Prospect Vale. 

“The stark reality is that there is already a boundary in the middle of suburbia for the council. It’s just silliness to add a major electoral boundary where we don’t really need it. Yes, other parts of the state and Australia have boundaries like that, but there is just no need for that here,” Cr Connor said.

“If you align with it with council boundaries then you’re cutting through a stronger community of interest – which is the community of Launceston.”

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Cr Connor was the force behind the petition, along with a Hadspen resident. 

Meander Valley weren’t affected with the original changes, which saw Dorset and Flinders Island moved into bass. But a push back from the North East region saw the region moved in to the debate. 

“Electoral boundaries are a serious thing and they do need to be kept fair in each state,” Cr Connor said. 

“It has been a really drawn out process and it is behind schedule, but this is the first time that it has really touched on our area.”

An announcement about the changes is expected in the coming weeks. 

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