What is a redistribution?
An electoral redistribution is conducted before each Northern Territory Legislative Assembly election, following strict guidelines and wide public consultation. If necessary, the boundaries of each division or electorate are changed so that the numbers of electors in each area are as equal as possible.
The redistribution process is managed by two committees:
- A three person Redistribution Committee consisting of the Northern Territory Electoral Commissioner, who chairs the Committee, the Surveyor-General and Auditor-General. This committee:
- calls for public suggestions;
- publishes those suggestions and calls for comments on those suggestions;
- publishes a proposed redistribution after considering suggestions and comments received; and
- calls for objections to the proposed redistribution.
- A four person Augmented Redistribution Committee that is convened once boundary proposals are published by the Redistribution Committee. The Augmented Committee determines the final boundaries to apply after considering the published proposals and objections received from the public and interested parties. Its decision is final. The Augmented Committee consists of the members of the Redistribution Committee plus an appointed member who acts as chair of the Augmented Committee. The appointed member must either:
- have served as, or is qualified for appointment as, a Judge of the Supreme Court or a magistrate; or
- have other appropriate qualifications and experience and is not a member of a political party - in this case the Minister must consult the leader of each political party represented in the Legislative Assembly and all independent MLAs.
A redistribution of electorates must begin as soon as practicable once 2 years and 6 months have passed since the polling day for the last general election and should be completed as soon as practicable (Electoral Act s138).
The redistribution is carried out in accordance with the NT Electoral Act and the Commonwealth Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act. It is an impartial and transparent process, free of political interference and with several opportunities for public participation. Any individual or organisation has the opportunity to present suggestions, comments or objections to the Committees (Electoral Act ss141, 142, 145).