NSW is having a redistribution. This happens every 5 to 7 years and is triggered by the projected enrolment of a fixed fraction of seats being too far above or below the statewide quota.
My own district of Murray-Darling, at 250,388 square kilometres only slightly smaller than Texas, has been losing population so the electorate will have to expand to the east. It already covers a third of the state and cannot expand in any other direction because it already borders all 3 neighbouring states.
Just for the record, the district includes a strange place called, poetically, the Unincorporated Far West which is not part of any municipality. The UFW is slightly larger than Maine and has a population of 698. The City of Broken Hill, a mining town that is the reason for the ‘BH’ in BHP Billiton is trying to expand into the UFW, which completely surrounds it, without much success.
The electoral district itself, and the fuss over Broken Hill’s expansion plans, raise a mildly interesting question. If you made the district part of a three-seater or a five-seater it would simply vanish. Apart from not wanting to pay property taxes for urban services they use only intermittently, the 698 people in the UFW feel they would be swamped by Broken Hill’s 20 000. How should the electoral reformer deal with remote and thinly populated areas?
It goes without saying that the Murray-Darling problem is exacerbated by Australia’s very low assembly sizes. The Taagepera number for NSW would give an assembly of 194. The actual number is 93.