At the next federal election all Territorians will be represented in the House of Representatives by just one Member – unless all Senators act.
Today’s decision by the Australian Electoral Commission sees Victoria gain an additional seat and Western Australia and the Northern Territory both lose one.
If no action is taken, this means the Territory will see its representation in the House of Representatives halved, consisting of one, enormous electorate.
Labor has introduced a bill in the Senate, with the support of the Nationals Senators including CLP Territory Senator Sam McMahon, to maintain the Northern Territory’s representation in the Parliament.
Rather than immediately supporting the bill, the Morrison Government referred the bill to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM).
We strongly encourage Territorians to make a submission to the bill inquiry and urge Liberal Senators to act now by supporting Labor’s bill to protect the Northern Territory’s representation.
If Senators don’t act and these changes become permanent 250,000 Territorians, including 27 per cent of the population who are First Nations people, will be represented by a single Member of Parliament.
A single seat in the Territory will be the most under-represented in Australia.
It makes no sense for different communities of interest from Darwin to Alice Springs, and Christmas Cocos (Keeling) Islands to the Tiwi Islands, to be represented by just one MP.
The Northern Territory’s strategic and economic importance alone demands better representation.
Labor has acted to guarantee the Northern Territory two seats – it’s time for the Senate as a whole to join with Labor and make sure Territorians are not left behind.
More information on the inquiry can be found on the JSCEM website along with information on how to make a submission.