Thursday, January 12, 2017

How many federal electorates have you visited?

When I travel outside my home state I like to pay attention to which federal electorates I'm in at the time.  A few months back I thought it might be fun to try to work out how many federal divisions I had actually visited.  Because I live in Tasmania and do not drive, my score is not as high as it might otherwise be - indeed for a nine-year period covering most of the 1990s I didn't leave Tasmania at all.

For this task I set a couple of ground rules.

Firstly I imposed an age limit - anywhere I went before I turned fifteen doesn't count.  15 is the age from which my travel decisions were generally independent.  Before age ten I travelled around Brisbane and up and down the eastern seaboard with my family a lot, which would add many electorates to this list, but there's no hope of me remembering everywhere I went.  

Secondly, I exclude any electorate I was just passing through (or over) for travel purposes between points outside that electorate and without staying overnight in the process.  Last year I spent three hours in Moscow airport because flying from Baku to Dubai via Moscow was much cheaper than flying there direct and didn't get me home any later, but that doesn't really count as having "been to Russia".  

Applying this second standard gets slipperier than a minister's travel entitlements but the rule I've applied here is to count any marginal cases.  Some people might deliberately drive from A to C through B with the partial aim of enjoying the scenery in B along the drive, and in that case B could be counted.  In my case the view is never much of my reason for going a certain way, so I don't count those examples. (In total there are at least 21 electorates I have passed through for purely travel purposes, which I didn't count.)

On this basis, I count 57 electorates I have visited since age 15.  (If I think of any I have missed I will edit them in):

ACT (2/2 3): Canberra, Fenner Bean

NSW (19/47): Bennelong, Berowra, Calare, Cook, Grayndler, Hughes, Hume, Kingsford-Smith, Macquarie, Mitchell, New England, North Sydney,  Richmond, Riverina, Page, Sydney, Warringah, Wentworth, Whitlam

NT (0/2): (I will go there someday!)

Qld (7/30): Brisbane, Fairfax, Fisher, Griffith, Kennedy, Leichhardt, McPherson

SA (3/1110): Adelaide, Mayo, Sturt

TAS (5/5): Bass, Braddon, Denison Clark, Lyons, Franklin

Vic (17/3738): Batman Cooper, Bruce, Calwell, Casey, Chisholm, Dunkley, Flinders (see Dec 2019 update), Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melbourne Ports Macnamara, Indi, Jagajaga, Kooyong, La Trobe, Menzies, Scullin, Wills [EDIT: +Aston, before this article was written]

WA (4/16): Canning, Curtin, Fremantle, Perth

(As I visit more electorates they will be updated at the bottom of the article.  Changed division names have been updated in the list above.)

The only really borderline inclusion in the list above is Hughes.  As best I can remember, I've set foot in Hughes only while changing trains at Sutherland station.  The first time I did this I had coffee at a cafe near the station while waiting for the next train to arrive .  That doesn't count.  But on a further trip I got off a train at the same station unnecessarily in order to have coffee at the same place.  

I wonder, does anyone actually visit every electorate?  During federal election campaigns, Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders crisscross the country visiting several dozen seats, and in a long career as party leader I'd assume a politician would get to visit the great majority of electorates.  But there might be some they'd never visit because they are extremely safe seats that are just too out of the way.  What about others - party officials, AEC managers, perhaps someone involved with Census collection or telecommunications?  Might anyone exist who has actually visited all 150 Australian electorates?

One can passively gain or lose electorates from one's list of visits through redistributions.  So, for instance, until recently Parkes would have been on my list, but the parts of it I've been to have been moved into Calare.  

I also wonder, what would be Australia's least visited electorate? My first thought was that it would probably be a landlocked electorate that isn't in or close to a major population centre (leaving for instance Maranoa, Parkes, New England, Calare, Riverina, Farrer, Murray, Indi and Mallee) but several of those contain well-known areas, so maybe some of the WA electorates might be in the running as well.  I did consider that it might be a Tasmanian electorate too (especially since the Tasmanian seats have small populations), but Tasmania gets a lot of tourism, so maybe not.  Perhaps some electorates on the periphery of large centres (eg McEwen) might also be in contention.

There are probably some electorates - generally the larger ones - where a significant percentage of adult residents have a lifetime electorate total of one.  In inner-city electorates there might be nobody at all - at least not without very serious medical conditions - who spent their whole life in a single electorate.

If anyone wants a go at assembling their own list, the big AEC map at (12 Mb PDF DOWNLOAD) is a good place to start.  Fine-detail maps at

If anyone else finds this an interesting time-killer, scores are welcome in comments!  (Anyone claiming over 120 should probably explain what they were doing in all those places.)

Update (November 2017): Added five more on a visit to WA: Swan, Stirling, O'Connor, Forrest and Moore.  Total now 62.

Update (January 2018): Added 63. Robertson (NSW)

Update (January 2019): Added 64. Corio (Vic)

Update (May 2019): Added 65. Corangamite (Vic).

Update Dec 2019: Phillip Island has been redistributed, which meant I lost Flinders but gained Monash without my total being affected.

Update Jan 2020: Adding some more on a trip to NSW, so 66. Banks (NSW) and 67. Barton (NSW) - for about five minutes each and on very slender pretexts (a road I was walking down to get to a meeting in Cook happened to divide the two electorates but I did cross it back and forth into both to see if there was anything in the shops there that I might want to eat on the way).  Also 68. Newcastle, for most of a day.

Redistribution update July 2021: Gained Fraser (Vic) by redistribution, but also lost Stirling, so still at 68.  

Update Feb 2023: I have just discovered that in January 2016 I was (just) in Aston, however I also lost Calwell in the redistribution.  However I have also noticed Cunningham was inexplicably omitted from this article, so 69.  And I have discovered that the part of Bruce I had visited is now in Hotham.  Plus I have been in Higgins, so 70.

Update Jan 2024: Visited Hindmarsh and Kingston in SA recently, so 72.  


The up to date list is:

ACT (2/3): Canberra, Bean

NSW (24/47): Banks, Barton, Bennelong, Berowra, Calare, Cook, Cunningham, Grayndler, Hughes, Hume, Kingsford-Smith, Macquarie, Mitchell, Newcastle, New England, North Sydney,  Richmond, Robertson, Riverina, Page, Sydney, Warringah, Wentworth, Whitlam

Qld (7/30): Brisbane, Fairfax, Fisher, Griffith, Kennedy, Leichhardt, McPherson

SA (5/10): Adelaide, Mayo, Sturt, Hindmarsh, Kingston

TAS (5/5): Bass, Braddon, Clark, Lyons, Franklin

Vic (21/38): Aston, Cooper, Casey, Corio, Corangamite, Chisholm, Dunkley, Fraser, Higgins, Hotham, Maribyrnong, Melbourne,  Macnamara, Menzies, Monash, Indi, Jagajaga, Kooyong, La Trobe,  Scullin, Wills 

WA (8/15): Canning, Curtin, Fremantle, Forrest, Perth, O'Connor, Swan, Moore

Total: 72


  1. This is an interesting challenge. I set my own minimum age at 18, meaning I only have a decade from which to pick but feel that between training and postings during my military service and later working for nationally based organisations I've managed to do better than many would in a similar time frame.

    NT: 0/2
    ACT: 2/2
    TAS: 5/5
    SA: 4/11 (Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Hindmarsh, Barker)
    WA: 6/16 (Perth, Curtin, Swan, Fremantle, Pearce, Durack)
    QLD: 7/30 (Wright, McPherson, Brisbane, Griffith, Moreton, Lilley, Bonner)
    VIC: 21/37 (Wannon, Mallee, McEwen, Ballarat, Corangamite, Corio, Gorton, Casey, Melbourne, Batman, Wills, Melbourne Ports, Higgins, Bruce, Hotham, Chisholm, Gellibrand, Calwell, Isaacs, Jagajaga, Kooyong)
    NSW: 14/47 (Richmond, Page, Riverina, Farrer, Chifley, Greenway, Parramatta, Warringah, Kingsford-Smith, Sydney, Grayndler, Barton, Reid, Macarthur)
    Total nationally: 59/150. Not bad, but not as good as I'd hoped. My lack of time spent in NSW really lets me down.

  2. I can just pip you at 60, but working all around Sydney gives me a huge advantage to start with. Of the NSW electorates, I only miss Page, Shortland and Farrar and only because I only passed through rather than going for a purpose.

  3. Quite a few scores have been posted on PollBludger around and the pages before and after. The highest claim so far is 127 but it's under investigation by the stewards. :)

  4. Using a fairly restrictive definition of where I’ve been, I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of Makin, Mallee, Murray, Bendigo, McEwen, Scullin, Holt, McMillan, Gippsland, Gilmore, Whitlam, Cunningham, Banks, Cook, Barton, Watson, Blaxland, McMahon, Fowler, Werriwa, Chifley, Greenway, Mitchell, Bennelong, Berowra, Bradfield, Mackellar, Calare, Riverina, Farrer, Parkes, New England, Shortland, Hunter, Paterson, Wright, Forde, Rankin, Bonner, Moreton, Oxley, Blair, Groom, Flynn, Maranoa, Capricornia, Dawson, Herbert, Kennedy, Leichhardt, Solomon, Lingiari and Braddon.

    So I make that 97 that I have been to. There have been times where I've made conscious efforts to add to the list, so it stands to reason I'd do pretty well.

  5. Lived in (6): Aston, Deakin, Wills, Batman, Fraser/Fenner, North Sydney.

    Spent Nights In (30): Wannon, Corangamite, Mallee, Murray, Bendigo, Indi, McMillan, Gippsland, Flinders, Goldstein, Higgins, Hotham, Casey, McEwen, Farrer, Riverina, Eden-Monaro, Macquarie, Reid, Banks, Sydney, Wentworth, Grayndler, Cowper, Parkes, Canberra, Adelaide, Boothby, Port Adelaide, Moncrieff.

    "Passed through": Every Vic and NSW electorate, Barker, Mayo, Sturt, Hindmarsh, Kingston, McPherson, Fadden, Forde, Rankin, Oxley, Blair, Wright, Groom, Maranoa.

  6. I've lived in 4 in my whole life, though I don't know what one of them was (somewhere on the south side of Brisbane). The number of others I've stayed overnight in is about 24 since age 15 and probably another dozen or so before that.

  7. Lived in 5.
    I make it 80 I have visited, all multiple times.
    ACT: Canberra & Fenner
    NT: Lingiari & Solomon
    NSW: Cowper, Cunningham, Eden Monaro, Farrer, Gilmore, Grayndler, Hume, Macquarie, McArthur, Mudgee, New England, North Sydney, Page, Parkes, Parramatta, Reid, Richmond, Riverina, Sydney, Warringah, Wentworth & Whitlam
    QLD: Capricornia, Dawson, Fairfax, Fisher, Flynn, Hinkler, Kennedy, Leichardt, Maranoa, McPherson, Moncrieff & Wide Bay
    SA: Adelaide, Barker, Boothby, Grey, Hindmarsh, Kingston, Makin, Mayo, Port Adelaide, Sturt & Wakefield
    VIC: Aston, Ballarat, Bendigo, Chisholm, Corangamite, Corio, Gippsland, Higgins, Indi, La Trobe, Mallee, McMillan, Melbourne Ports, Melbourne, Murray & Wannon
    WA:Brand, Canning, Cowan, Curtin, Durack, Forrest, Fremantle, Hasluck, O’Connor, Pearce, Perth, Stirling, Swan & Tangney,
    Never been to Tasmania, but have passed through most of the rest of the mainland electorates.

  8. The most frequented electorates would probably be Sydney, Wentworth, Kingsford Smith, Melbourne and Calwell.
    The least frequented in my opinion would probably be Kennedy, Manaroa, Parkes and Grey.

  9. Re Calwell - I assume you're thinking Melbourne Airport there. In terms of people actually entering an electorate it's very likely one of the most frequented for that reason, but in the conditions set down in my post a lot of those visits would be scratched under the "just passing through" rule. I only get over my own bar for Calwell because I've stayed overnight in motels near the airport twice and walked around bits of the electorate while there.

    I at first thought Maranoa was very likely to be the least visited electorate but quite a few people from Brisbane do go to the Warwick/Stanthorpe area; I went there quite a few times as a child.

  10. NSW:Sydney, Berowra, Bradfield, Banks, Blaxland, Barton, Robertson, Dobell, North Sydney, Grayndler, Lindsay, Mitchell, Gilmore, Calare, Riverina

    ACT: Canberra, Fenner

    VIC: Melbourne, Goldstein, Melbourne Ports, Hotham, Bruce, Batman

    SA: Adelaide, Boothby, Hindmarsh, Sturt, Wakefield

    TAS: Denison, Bass

    QLD: Brisbane, McPherson, Moncrieff, Lilley, Fairfax, Herbert, Leichardt

    NT: Solomon

    WA: Perth, Fremantle, Tangney

    One possible suggestion or "qualifier" I might put to youir criteria is that of taking into account where people may have worked on some sort of regular basis rather than just visited/stayed overnight. If they were working in a certain location for a period of time (even if not living there), they would most probably have a better feel for the demographics of the area than someone who just visited on a one off basis. Just a thought !

    1. There are lots of different variations possible, and the exercise is mainly for fun rather than proving anything about understanding of the electorate. I've worked - for pay - in 13 electorates, but several of those were just 1-2 week contracts. If the limit is, say, one month minimum total paid work, then I get all five Tasmanian electorates plus Melbourne. If the limit is three months total then I get only Denison, Bass and Braddon. The non-Tasmanian electorate I've spent the most time in is actually probably Page, but I have never worked there.

  11. My mother has stayed overnight in 83-84 electorates since age 16 and has lived in 11.

  12. Off the top of my head (not doing the age restriction because I'm still rather young, but I'm not counting any divisions someone drove me through or Melbourne Airport). I'm probably forgetting a couple (mainly Sydney districts), but they were so long ago they probably don't matter.

    ACT (2/2): Canberra, Fenner
    NT (0/2)
    NSW (38/47): Banks, Barton, Bennelong, Blaxland, Calare, Chifley, Cook, Cowper, Cunningham, Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Gilmore, Grayndler, Greenway, Hughes, Hume, Hunter, Kingsford Smith, Lindsay, Lyne, Macarthur, Mackellar, New England, Newcastle, North Sydney, Page, Parkes, Parramatta, Paterson, Reid, Richmond, Robertson, Shortland, Sydney, Warringah, Watson, Wentworth, Whitlam
    QLD (5/30): McPherson, Fadden, Moncrieff, Maranoa, Fisher
    SA (0/11)
    TAS (0/5)
    VIC (2/37): Melbourne, Melbourne Ports
    WA (0/16)

    As you can see, my family was kinda tight wrt holidays when I was younger :P (and I haven't been on many since I moved house)

  13. I've got 65 - only three NSW seats not on my list being Page, Parkes and New England. Plus 12 in Victoria, 3 in QLD, 1 each in WA and SA (literally just done conferences in Fremantle and Adelaide and I don't think I ever stayed outside those seats), the two southern Tasmanian seats and the ACT seats.

  14. I’ve lived in six electorates (marked below with an asterisk, 2 Tasmanian and 4 Victorian) but only ever enrolled in four of them, and like other commenters I’m not going to count the electorates I’ve merely passed through. Counting places where I’ve stayed at least an entire day and night, I get up as far as 56 current electorates – though I imagine I’ve forgotten the specifics of exactly where I stayed during a few visits to Sydney, Adelaide, and Perth. (The first dozen or so times I visited Lyons, however, it was still named Wilmot.)

    ACT (2/2)
    NT (0/2)
    Tas. (5/5): * lived in Denison and Lyons
    SA (6/11): Adelaide, Barker, Hindmarsh, Makin, Mayo, Sturt
    WA (3/16): Curtin, Fremantle, Perth
    Qld (5/30): Griffith, Lilley, Maranoa, Petrie, Ryan
    Vic. (25/37): Ballarat, Batman, Bendigo, Bruce*, Casey, Chisholm, Corangamite, Corio, Deakin, Dunkley, Flinders, Gellibrand*, Gippsland, Higgins, Indi, Isaacs, Jagajaga, Kooyong*, La Trobe, Mallee, McMillan, Melbourne*, Murray, Wannon, Wills
    NSW (10/47): Bradfield, Eden-Monaro, Farrer, Grayndler, Hume, Macquarie, Parkes, Reid, Riverina, Sydney

  15. I'm only 22 so I counted all electorates I can remember visiting (which means its from the age of 10). I have visited 52 electorates, and lived only in Fenner, Canberra and Bradfield:

    Canberra, Fenner

    Barton, Bennelong, Berowra, Blaxland, Bradfield, Calare, Cunningham, Cook, Cowper, Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Gilmore, Grayndler, Hughes, Hume, Hunter, Kingsford-Smith, Lindsay, Lyne, Macarthur, Mackellar, Macquarie, Mitchell, Newcastle, North Sydney, Page, Parramatta, Paterson, Reid, Riverina, Robertson, Shortland, Sydney, Warringah, Werriwa, Wentworth, Whitlam.

    Bendigo, Corangamite, Corio, Goldstein, McEwen, Melbourne, Melbourne Ports, Murray, JagaJaga, Wannon

    Bass, Denison, Lyons

  16. I get 94!

    ACT: Canberra, Fenner (2)
    NSW: Bradfield, Calare, Cowper, Eden-Monaro, Farrer, Gilmore, Grayndler, Hume, Hunter, Kingsford Smith, New England, Newcastle, North Sydney, Page, Parkes, Parramatta, Paterson, Reid, Richmond, Riverina, Sydney, Warringah, Wentworth, Whitlam (24)
    NT: Lingiari, Solomon (2)
    Qld: Brisbane, Dawson, Fadden, Griffith, Herbert, Kennedy, Leichhardt, Lilley, McPherson, Moncrieff (10)
    SA: Adelaide, Barker, Boothby, Kingston, Makin, Mayo, Sturt, Wakefield (8)
    Tas: Denison, Franklin, Lyons (3)
    Vic: All (37)
    WA: Brand, Durack, Forrest, Fremantle, Moore, O'Connor, Perth, Swan (8)

  17. This is quite enjoyable.

    I've lived in Curtin, Stirling (though now redistributed into Curtin), Tangney, Swan, Kalgoorlie (now in Durack) and North Sydney (spot the odd one out)

    WA: 16/16: Curtin, Cowan, Burt, Stirling, Perth, Fremantle, Moore, Tangney, Swan, Canning, Pearce, Hasluck, Brand, Forrest, Durack, O'Connor
    Tas: 5/5: Bass, Braddon, Denison, Franklin, Lyons (if you travel around Tassie, you'll get them all pretty quickly).
    NT: 1/2: Lingiari*
    SA: 6/11: Grey, Barker, Mayo, Hindmarsh, Adelaide, Port Adelaide
    ACT: 2/2: Fenner, Canberra

    They're the easy states to work out

    Vic: (13/37) Wannon, Gippsland, Indi, McMillan, Corio, Flinders, Ballarat, Melbourne, Melbourne Ports, Higgins, Kooyong, Jajajaga, Batman

    NSW: (21/47) Farrer, Eden Monaro, Hume, Calare, Hunter, Gilmore, Macquarie, Berowra, Lindsay, Paramatta, Bennelong, Reid, Grayndler, Cook, Kingsford-Smith, Wentworth, Sydney, North Sydney, Bradfield, Berowra, Warringah.

    Qld: (9/30) Brisbane, Griffith, Moreton*, Kennedy*, Leichhardt, Dawson, Hinkler*, Fairfax*, Wide Bay*

    (*Only just make it on the >15 criteria)

    That's 73.

    I'm reasonably sure I can count Page or Cowper, Paterson and Riverina as well, and I think the head office of a company I worked at and had to visit was in Blaxland. That would give me half. If I could include places I know I went to before I turned 15, then I can add Solomon, Parkes, Maranoa, Capricornia, Groom, Wright, Moncreiff, McPherson, Fisher, Lyne, Murray, Mallee, Conrangamite and Menzies.

    That said, many of those would be on current boundaries - who knows where they were in the 1980s?

  18. Just discovered this thread. I've set foot (or wheel) in all 150, but some would fail on the 'passing through' criterion. If one applies a criterion of having a meal or taking part in some other meaningful activity in the electorate concerned, I think that cuts out 10 (Dickson, Petrie and Rankin in Queensland; Banks, Werriwa, McMahon, Chifley and Greenway in NSW; Cowan and Brand in WA).

    As for how this comes about, it's partly because (in my capacity as a climate scientist) I'm in pursuit of a long-term goal of visiting all 112 locations used for long-term Australian temperature monitoring (currently 11 to go), and partly because my main sport of orienteering takes me to a lot of corners of the country (and corners/fringes of metropolitan areas) that wouldn't otherwise get a lot of visitors - for example, a NSW championships event last year just out the back of Appin gave me Macarthur.

    I actually think the 'least visited' electorates (by people who don't live there) would be outer-suburban commuter areas without anything much to attract tourists (or, for example, major sporting venues) - the likes of Rankin and Greenway strike me as likely candidates.

  19. Wa: Tas: Never been
    NT: Lingiari(But fails the <15)

    NSW:(fails <15)
    VIC: passing through

    SA (5/10): Adelaide, Mayo, Barker, Grey , Hindmarsh

    Qld (14/30) : Capricornia, Maranoa, Wright, Blair, Ryan, Moncrieff, Oxley, Moreton, Griffith, Bonner, Rankin, Petrie, Lilley, Wide Bay.

    I can claim 19.

  20. 2019 Divisions:
    Never been to NT, SA, WA, or TAS

    Visited all 3 in ACT

    QLD: Fadden, McPherson, Moncrieff, Fisher, Fairfax, Hinkler (6)

    NSW: Cowper, Parkes (2)

    VIC (HAVEN'T VISITED): Gippsland, Mallee, Wannon, La Trobe, Aston, Hotham, Kooyong, Jagajaga, Menzies (visited 29, Nicholls is my home division)

    TOTAL: 40 (not very impressive, I know)

  21. That's quite amazing! There are quite a few electorates that could be given names: Blair, Bruce, Clark, Dawson, Fraser, Grey, Hunter, Mitchell, Page, Ryan for example.

  22. Heaps more. Apparently Cooper is quite popular.


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