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Move to abolish Murray seat

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November 24, 2017

Member for Murray Damian Drum is surprised the Librals have called for the seat to be abolished.

A shake-up of federal electorates in Victoria is on the cards and the Liberals have made the unusual move of calling for a Coalition seat to be abolished.

In a submission to the Australian Electoral Commission, the Victorian Liberals called for the seat to be abolished.

If the submission was adopted, the area in the existing Murray electorate would be split with the regional electorates of Mallee, Indi, McEwen and Bendigo.

Damian Drum, who won the seat of Murray for the Nationals last year, was surprised about the Liberals’ submission.

‘‘They didn’t even have the courtesy to let me know they were putting in a submission to abolish the seat,’’ Mr Drum said.

‘‘It really doesn’t make any sense because one thing people need in relation to their electorates is they should have communities of interest.’’

He believed that the current boundaries of the seat mostly got this right, by keeping the Goulburn Valley areas together.

If the area was split up, he feared some parts of the region would be connected to larger urban areas that did not share common ties.

‘‘At the moment there is a very strong synergy, a very strong community of interest in the seat of Murray,’’ he said.

‘‘To split that up, you would be linking somewhere like Shepparton with Wangaratta where there isn’t a great link, the types of agriculture are very different.’’

The AEC routinely redistributes electorates as population changes and grows in certain areas.

Although the organisation accepts submissions, its decisions on redistributions are independent from government.

Redistributions have occasionally caused problems for sitting MPs if the new boundaries rapidly change the make-up of eligible voters.

Former Labor leader Kim Beazley jumped ship from his Perth electorate of Swan to Brand in 1996 after redistributions made it increasingly difficult to hold.

Victoria is in the middle of a redistribution because strong population growth will have the state entitled to one extra seat, from 37 to 38.

Mr Drum said the Nationals had put in their own submission, which if followed would keep the seat of Murray more or less the same.

‘‘Our suggestion is we could hand over the area of Loddon Shire and that would meld into the Mallee (electorate),’’ he said.

Under the submission, Murray would also move further south to pick up the area of Seymour, and some parts of Nagambie that are in McEwen.

A proposed redistribution report is scheduled to be released in April next year.

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