People attend an election campaign rally by the opposition Workers' Party in Singapore September 6, 2015.
People attend an election campaign rally by the opposition Workers' Party in Singapore September 6, 2015. Singaporeans will go to the polls on September 11. Reuters/Edgar Su

The Australian Electoral Commission published a proposal to transform federal electoral boundaries across New South Wales on Friday. According to the proposal, the AEC is planning to abolish the seat of Hunter in the NSW constituency, which is presently held by Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon.

This means that in the next election, the number of seats in NSW will decrease from 48 to 47, while the seats at the Western Australia constituency will increase from 15 to 16. The AEC revealed that its plan is similar to what the Nationals and the Liberal Party have aimed at, which demanded the collapse of the Hunter seat. Along with proposing the abolition of the seat of Hunter, AEC also advocated renaming the Throsby seat to Whitlam.

Chairman of the Redistribution Committee and Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers confirmed that some of the amendments in the electoral boundary have been suggested due to the changing number of enrolments. “After careful consideration, the Redistribution Committee unanimously proposes the abolition of the existing Division of Hunter,” he said in a statement.

He mentioned that electors towards the north of Hunter will fall into the New England region after the proposal is implemented. The remaining 40 percent electorate will fall into the Division of Paterson.

As the division of Hunter was created in 1901 at Federation, it is compulsory to keep its name even if the seat is abolished, Rogers said. “The Division of Hunter was created at Federation in 1901, and the retention of Federation names is part of published guidelines for the naming of federal electoral divisions, ” he added.

“Accordingly, the Committee proposes retaining the name of ‘Hunter’ by withdrawing the name of ‘Charlton’ and renaming that Division as ‘Hunter’. ”

Fitzgibbon has held the Hunter seat since 1996, succeeding his father Eric, who remained on the position for 12 years. He was the agriculture minister after Kevin Rudd returned as Prime Minister, and was defence minister between 2007 and 2009.

Hunter was one of the seats where the Labor Party has consistently done well. At the first federal election, there were 75 seats fought for, including the Hunter seat, which was first held by former Prime Minister Edmund Barton.

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