MICHAEL McCormack has conceded Wagga shares “very little” in common with Parkes as the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) moves to shake up the Riverina’s electoral boundaries.
According to a proposal released on Friday, boundaries for the Riverina electorate would drastically change after the next election, leaving Griffith, Leeton and the wider MIA in its wake, and picking up the central-western towns of Parkes and Forbes ahead of the 2016 election.
Change-weary Tumut and Tumbarumba have also been lobbed off from the electorate and will move to the bellweather seat of Eden-Monaro.
The Riverina MP said he was disappointed he might lose key parts of the electorate – and questioned the similarities between Wagga and Parkes.
“Everybody doesn’t always get what they want with a redistribution,” he said. “I do wonder whether people in Parkes relate to Wagga and whether people in Coolamon relate to people in Tullamore (near Parkes), but the AEC don’t think that way – it is purely a numbers game.”
Everybody doesn’t always get what they want with a redistribution.- Michael McCormack
Mr McCormack said he would overcome the “big gulf” of differences between opposite ends of the electorate by “making new contacts” and pounding the pavement to win hearts and minds in the Central West.
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi – whose community will move to Sussan Ley’s electorate of Farrar – was outraged with the proposal and feared Griffith would become isolated.
“I suspect Sussan Ley will be in Albury, which is a three-and-a-half-hour drive … they are doing a really good job at alienating country folk,” he said. “It is a huge electorate and very, very difficult for any member of Parliament to service it.”
In all, the Riverina would gain Cootamundra, Cowra, Harden, Weddin and Young, Forbes and Parkes. It stands to lose Carrathool, Griffith, Leeton, Murrumbidgee, Narrandera, Tumbarumba and Tumut.
Objections to the redraw can be made until November before a second proposal is issued. A final determination will be made in February next year.
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