Peter Andren MP
Independent Federal Member for Calare : 2 March 1996 - 17 October 2007
2006 Federal Electoral Redistribution for NSW
The redistribution of federal electoral boundaries in NSW has now been finalised. On 13 September 2006 the AEC Redistribution Committee for NSW determined that a country seat will be abolished at the 2007 federal election. The committee also determined that no further objections would be heard. This is because the committee believes its changes "are not significantly different" from its draft proposal.
The draft proposal abolished Gwydir, but the final redistribution essentially abolishes any meaningful Calare seat by tacking on a huge portion of the west and north-west of NSW. This is said to be an insignificant change!
Gwydir has been abolished in name only. A smaller, more manageable version of that electorate now has the name 'Parkes' and contains the population centre of Dubbo.
'Calare' now refers to an electorate covering 237,000 square kilometres stretching from Orange, Blayney and Cowra Shires in the east, to Central Darling LGA in the west, and Bourke and Brewarrina LGAs in the north. The other half of existing Calare, Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon move into the outer Sydney metropolitan-Blue Mountains seat of Macquarie.
The 'Murray River' electorate of Farrer now also stretches up along the South Australian border to the Queensland border.
The abolition of a country seat has angered many people in rural and regional NSW. Peter's original submission showed that even under current population trends, this did not have to happen. A city seat could have been removed with far less of an impact on the city population, and their ability to easily access their MP.
The silver lining is that this redistribution presents some excellent opportunities for strong independent candidates at the next federal election, especially in Macquarie, Calare, Parkes and New England.
If you are interested in running as an independent candidate in your electorate, visit the Independent Candidate Advisory Network (ICAN) website, www.icanonline.net.au.
Links to Peter's work on the redistribution process and associated media releases are below.