Pollies’ positive spin on electoral change

April 12, 2018

Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum.

Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum says it would be his preference for the name of the electorate he represents to remain the same.

But if it needed to change, Nicholls would be a ‘‘fantastic’’ choice, he said.

Meanwhile, a local mayor has welcomed the Strathbogie shire being split up by the proposal as being a potential win for representation of the region.

The AEC last week proposed the name change, alongside changes to the electorate’s boundaries.

‘‘My first preference would be that the name stays same,’’ Mr Drum said.

‘‘I think it’s always better when an electorate reflects the name of the geographic area it represents.

‘‘However, if the name has to change, I think the Nicholls name is a fantastic option to change to.’’

Mr Drum also dismissed a push to abolish the electorate as foolish.

‘‘The fact it didn’t happen, is just a strong vote for common sense.’’

Boundary redistribution is required to pave the way for an additional electorate in Victoria.

Under the proposal, it appears Euroa and Violet Town would be relocated to the Indi electorate, while Seymour, Tallarook and surrounds would fall inside the Nicholls electorate.

Mr Drum described the electorate’s proposed new boundaries as sensible.

‘‘I think they’ve done a really good job.’’

He said the inclusion of areas like Seymour, Broadford and Puckapunyal in the south, as well as Tungamah in the north east of the electorate as ‘‘a natural fit’’.

But regarding the loss of towns like Euroa and Violet Town to the neighbouring Indi electorate, Mr Drum said was understanding.

‘‘You never like to lose any area ... there’s fantastic community leaders in those two towns, however the whole thing is, you can’t pick up a town like Seymour without given something up,’’ he said.

Strathbogie Shire Mayor Amanda McClaren was optimistic about the shire being ‘‘effectively cut in half’’, via the proposed changes.

‘‘I think it’s actually a positive for our shire.

‘‘I can understand if there’s some mixed emotions.’’

From a shire perspective, she said straddling two federal electorates, represented by different corners of federal politics, was ‘‘possibly a very good outcome for the shire’’.

She welcomed having two different MPs at a federal level and ‘‘being able to work with them both’’.

‘‘We do a lot of lobbying for our region ... to have two members, I see that as a positive.’’

Cr McClaren said with any boundary re-alignment, there was sure to be some associated change.

A committee looking at the redistribution of federal electorates last week suggested changes to the boundaries of Murray and proposed the name change in recognition of Sir Doug Nicholls and Lady Gladys Nicholls and their significant contributions in advocacy for Aboriginal rights and welfare.

In a statement on the proposed changes, the committee noted the name ‘‘Murray’’ was ‘‘essentially a duplication of the neighbouring division’s name’’ as ‘‘Indi’’ was ‘‘an Aboriginal name for the Murray River’’.

The Nichollses worked together to improve conditions for people across Australia, the report said.

Objections to the proposal are being received by the AEC until May 4.

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