South Australia state election 2018

17 July 2018

PDF version [304KB]

Dr Nathan Church
Politics and Public Administration Section



List of abbreviations



2014 election, party changes and by-elections
SA redistribution and electoral boundary changes
Changes to the Legislative Council voting system
Retiring parliamentarians

Key campaign issues

Electricity supply and price
Health care
The Xenophon factor
Other minor parties

Election results

New and defeated parliamentarians

Factors in the result

The redistribution
Longstanding incumbent government
Lack of electoral success for Nick Xenophon’s SA Best


List of abbreviations

AC: Australian Conservatives Party

ALP: Australian Labor Party

DIG: Dignity Party/Dignity for Disability Party

ECSA: Electoral Commission of South Australia

EDBC: Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission

GRN: Australian Greens Party

GVT: Group Voting Ticket

Ind. Independent

LC: Legislative Council

Lib.: Liberal Party

MLC: Member of the Legislative Chamber

NXT: Nick Xenophon Team

SA: South Australia


South Australia (SA) has a bicameral parliament consisting of the House of Assembly (47 members) and the Legislative Council (22 members). Since 2001, parliaments have sat for fixed terms, with elections held on the third Saturday in March every four years for the entire House of Assembly and half of the Legislative Council.[1] Accordingly, the SA Governor prorogued parliament on 19 December 2017, with the writs issued on 17 February 2018 for a 17 March general election.[2]  


2014 election, party changes and by-elections

Despite suffering a 1.7 per cent swing against it, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) Government was returned in the 2014 election, securing 23 seats and the support of Independent MPs Geoff Brock and Martin Hamilton-Smith, the latter having controversially left the Liberal Party to take up a ministerial role with the Government (see Table 1).[3] Within the Legislative Council, the ALP and Liberals each had four members elected, with the remaining three positions being filled by Family First, the Greens and the Independent Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) candidate John Darley (see Table 2).

Table 1: House of Assembly seats won by each party at the 2014 election

Party Seats (change from 2010 election) Female members Male Members
ALP 23 (-3) 9 14
Lib. 22 (+4) 3 19
Ind. 2 (-1) 0 2
Total 47 12 35

Table 2: Total Legislative Council seats won by each party at the 2014 election

Party Seats (won in 2010) Total seats Female members Male Members
ALP 4 (3) 7 1 6
Lib. 4 (4) 8 1 7
GRN 1 (1) 2 1 1
Family First 1 (1) 2 0 2
NXT 1 (0) 1 0 1
DIG 0 (1) 1 1 0
Ind. 0 (1) 1 0 1
Total 11 (11) 22 4 18

Two by-elections occurred following the 2014 general election: on 6 December 2014 following the death of Dr Bob Such (Ind.–Fisher); and in 2015 following the resignation of former Liberal Party leader Iain Evans (Lib.–Davenport). ALP candidate Nat Cook was elected in Fisher by a margin of nine votes to increase the Government’s narrow lower house majority; however, the Opposition successfully held Davenport.

During 2017, both major parties had members resign to sit as independents. The Deputy Speaker, Frances Bedford, resigned from the ALP in March 2017 after losing the party’s preselection for Florey to Government minister and sitting member for Playford, Jack Snelling.[4] Snelling later retired from the parliament but Bedford resisted subsequent overtures to return to the ALP.[5] The Liberal Party lost sitting member Duncan McFetridge in May 2017, who became an Independent after losing his preselection for the seat of Morphett.[6]

Shortly after this, Liberal member for Mount Gambier, Troy Bell, was forced to resign from the party in August 2017 after being charged with 26 counts of misappropriating funds while working as an education facility manager before entering parliament.[7] Bell subsequently contested the 2018 election as an Independent.[8] Additionally, John Darley resigned from the NXT in August 2017 and launched a new ‘Advance SA’ party the following month.[9] Of these four newly-Independent candidates, only Frances Bedford and Troy Bell were re-elected in 2018.

SA redistribution and electoral boundary changes

In SA a redistribution of district boundaries is required by law after every election, with the SA Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission (EDBC) determining the most recent redistribution in December 2016.[10] A critical aspect of this report was the Commission’s interpretation and implementation of the SA Constitution’s electoral fairness provision, introduced in March 1991.[11] The provision stated that:

In making an electoral redistribution the Commission must ensure, as far as practicable, that the electoral redistribution is fair to prospective candidates and groups of candidates so that, if candidates of a particular group attract more than 50 per cent of the popular vote (determined by aggregating votes cast throughout the State and allocating preferences to the necessary extent), they will be elected in sufficient numbers to enable a government to be formed.[12]

The EDBC’s 1991 report identified the inherent challenges in facilitating this objective, stating that ‘a number of factors peculiar to South Australia ... combine to isolate large surpluses of conservative rural votes in “enclaves” where the votes cannot be “mixed” effectively with Labor Party votes’.[13] The EDBC offered a more pointed analysis 25 years later when its 2016 report declared that ‘there is an innate imbalance, against the Liberal Party, caused by voting patterns in South Australia upon which have been imposed successive redistributions’.[14]

The ALP’s submission to the EDBC 2016 report contended that the Liberal Party’s inability to successfully win marginal seats led to its 2014 defeat, as opposed to inherent bias in electoral distributions. The ALP also raised concerns regarding malapportionment (of deep historical significance in SA) whereby the 10 per cent permissible tolerance for a district’s quota of electors could be unevenly maximised to weight more conservative rural areas against more populated metropolitan centres.[15] Conversely, the Liberal Party suggested in its submission that each major party should be allocated an equal number of safe seats on Commission-prepared electoral pendulums, and that its own marginal seats should be made safer. This could be achieved by ‘unlocking’ Liberal votes from neighbouring safe seats through more fully utilising the flexibility offered by the 10 per cent permissible tolerance of the quota.[16]

Ultimately the EDBC instituted a far-reaching redistribution of electoral boundaries, with approximately 400,000 electors impacted—over a third of all SA voters enrolled at the time.[17] This was the largest adjustment for at least the past 20 years. The political impact was also significant, as the ALP-held electorates of Newland, Colton, Elder and Mawson became notionally Liberal based on 2014 SA election results.[18] Accordingly, the ALP Government went into the 2018 election with a winning two-party preferred margin in only 20 of the 47 House of Assembly seats.

In one of the final acts of the previous parliament, Greens MLC Mark Parnell introduced a Bill removing the fairness provision from the Constitution. The Bill was supported by the ALP and crossbench MLCs from the Dignity Party and Advance SA, but was opposed by the Liberal Party and Australian Conservatives (AC) MLCs. In his second reading speech for the Bill, Mr Parnell stated that:

The Greens’ position in relation to the so-called fairness clause in section 83(1) and 83(3) has been that we have never supported them, ever. These provisions ignore the crossbench. When I say ‘crossbench’, the growing crossbench. These provisions completely ignore the 30 or more per cent of South Australians who do not support either of the major parties.[19]

Parnell cited the creator of the fairness provision, psephologist Malcolm Mackerras, who in a 2016 interview labelled the provision a ‘failure’.[20] Dignity Party MLC Kelly Vincent also noted that the clause ‘was designed at a time at which the rise of minor parties and independent voices in parliament could not be foreseen, so I think we do need to move forward with amending that’.[21]

In opposing the Bill, the Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas strongly criticised it as ‘a dirty deal that has been done between the Greens and the Labor Party to disadvantage the Liberal Party. We have been disadvantaged over the last 12 years – three out of the last four elections’.[22] The Bill was ultimately passed and assented to on 12 December 2017, removing the fairness provision and requiring a review of all criteria for redistributions to be tabled in Parliament by the end of March 2019.[23]

Changes to the Legislative Council voting system

On 8 August 2017 the SA Parliament passed legislation which removed group voting tickets (GVTs) for Legislative Council elections.[24] Before this, political parties lodged a full list of their preferences (a GVT) with the electoral commission, and these lists determined the preference flows for ‘above the line’ votes cast for that party. Some political commentators regarded GVTs as the catalyst for minor party preference harvesting and creating instances of parliamentarians being elected with only tiny fractions of first preference votes.[25] However, a contrary view is that removing GVTs will mean ‘the bigger parties slowly strangle the minor outfits’ and will result in significant amounts of exhausted votes, with no ensuing impact on the final results.[26]

Group voting tickets were first used in SA Legislative Council elections in 1985, having commenced in federal Senate elections the year before. However, SA has followed other jurisdictions in reforming upper house voting, as undertaken in NSW and the federal Senate (in their respective 2003 and 2016 elections).[27] Greens MLC Mark Parnell had initially introduced legislation in October 2013, which he claimed was ‘designed to end, once and for all, the dodgy backroom preference deals that blight our election process and deliver perverse election outcomes that clearly do not reflect the will of voters’.[28] A similar Bill was introduced shortly after by then NXT MLC John Darley, but both Bills failed to pass before parliament was prorogued.[29] The Greens had similar legislation lapse in the following parliament.[30]

The Labor Government introduced its own legislation proposing optional preferential voting in November 2016.[31] This Bill allowed for optional ‘above the line’ preference voting for the Legislative Council, where the first preference is marked ‘1’ and additional preferences optional (similar to reforms enacted in NSW). The Liberal Opposition proposed an alternative clause, recommending six above the line preferences as in the federal Senate; however, this was subsequently rejected by the Legislative Council.[32] The Bill was assented to in September 2017, with the new voting method being used in the March 2018 election.[33]

Retiring parliamentarians

Twelve House of Assembly members—one quarter of the House—retired prior to the 2018 election; six from the ALP, five from the Liberal Party and one Independent. All of the retiring ALP parliamentarians had served as Ministers, while Isobel Redmond (Lib.–Heysen) and Martin Hamilton-Smith (Ind.–Waite) had both served as Leaders of the Opposition. The longest serving parliamentarian to retire at the 2018 election was the ALP Member for Croydon, Michael Atkinson, who first entered the parliament just over 28 years prior.

Two ALP Legislative Council members (Gail Gago and Gerry Kandelaarsboth) also retired, while Peter Malinauskas (ALP) resigned his upper house seat to contest the district of Croydon for the House of Assembly. Leesa Vlahos (ALP–Taylor) had initially been preselected to replace Gail Gago for the top position on the ALP’s 2018 Legislative Council ticket, but just over a year later in February 2018 she announced her retirement.[34] Ms Vlahos had previously resigned as Minister for Mental Health in September 2017, prior to an ICAC report revealing systemic failings of management and oversight at the now-closed Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service.[35]

Key campaign issues

Electricity supply and price

Electricity supply was a key election issue in 2018 given the comparatively recent extreme weather event in September 2016 which caused widespread disruptions.[36] The cost of electricity was also of high importance to voters, with a late 2017 comparison of representative consumers finding South Australians reportedly paying just under 30 per cent more per kilowatt hour than the national average.[37]

In addressing such supply and cost challenges, the Labor Government released its energy plan in March 2017, at an initial estimated cost of $550 million.[38] By the time of the 2018 election, Labor’s suite of energy policies included:

  • establishing a new state-owned gas-fired 250 megawatt power plant to provide emergency electricity supply, in addition to a privately-developed 100 megawatt battery[39]
  • expansion of solar power and battery storage, commencing with public housing properties, and[40]
  • setting a renewable energy target of 75 per cent by 2025.[41]

The Liberal Party announced its energy policy in October 2017, incorporating a $200 million interconnector fund to improve access to the National Electricity Market, and a $100 million household battery program.[42] Having initially declared that his party’s policies would reduce average household power bills by over $300 per year, Opposition leader Steven Marshall subsequently amended this proposed saving to between $60 and $70.[43]

Health care

Health care proved to be another key election issue, especially given the demands of SA’s comparatively older population and its economic dependency on the health care sector.[44] During the election campaign both major parties pledged to upgrade facilities at metropolitan and regional hospitals, as well as increase funding for mental health services.[45] However, a major point of difference was the contentious issue of the Daw Park Repatriation hospital site. In June 2017 the Labor Government had agreed to sell the site to the aged care and health service provider ACH Group, with services to be officially closed later that year in November.[46] Having consistently opposed this decision while in Opposition, the Liberal Party committed to re-opening the hospital to facilitate elective surgeries, community health hydrotherapy and mental health services if elected to Government.[47]

The Xenophon factor

On 6 October 2017 Senator Nick Xenophon announced his intention to resign from the federal Senate and stand for the district of Hartley in the upcoming SA election, citing SA’s energy supply and high electricity costs as particularly motivating issues.[48] Twenty years prior, Xenophon had first gained a seat in the SA Legislative Council as an Independent ‘No Pokies’ candidate, having received just 2.9 per cent of the first preference votes. Xenophon formally resigned his federal Senate seat on 31 October 2017.[49]

Having previously fielded SA Legislative Council candidates as ‘Nick Xenophon’s No Pokies’ in 2006 and ‘Independent – Nick Xenophon Team’ (NXT) in 2014, the party name ‘Nick Xenophon’s SA Best’ was officially registered with the SA Electoral Commission (ECSA) on 4 July 2017.[50]

At the 2016 federal election NXT fielded candidates in all 11 House of Representatives divisions, achieving 21.3 per cent of the SA state-wide first preference vote and winning the seat of Mayo. However, 2018 represented the first time a Xenophon-led party would contest lower house seats in an SA state election. SA Best ultimately fielded 36 candidates for the House of Assembly (across 47 total districts) and five candidates for the Legislative Council.

Immediately after Nick Xenophon’s announcement regarding contesting the SA election, Opposition Leader Steven Marshall ruled out the potential for any Liberal government being formed reliant on SA Best support.[51] The Labor Party made no similar statements.

Other minor parties

The Australian Conservatives (AC) party fielded 32 candidates for the House of Assembly and two for the Legislative Council. SA federal Senator Cory Bernardi formed the party after resigning from the Liberal Party in February 2017.[52] The AC subsequently merged with the Family First party in April 2017, which already held two seats in the SA Legislative Council.[53] The Australian Greens (SA) fielded candidates in all 47 House of Assembly districts and five candidates for the Legislative Council.

As at 2 July 2018, fourteen political parties were registered with the ECSA, 12 of which contested the 2018 election.[54] Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party was ineligible to stand, having failed to register with the ECSA before the six month cut-off prior to the election date.[55] Other parties not contesting the election were the Nationals (which reportedly cited the rival presence of SA Best in justifying their absence) and the Shooters and Fishers Party, which was de-registered by ECSA in February 2018.[56]

Election results

The election resulted in a new Liberal Government in SA—the first in 16 years. Steven Marshall was formally sworn in as Premier on 19 March, with Vickie Chapman appointed as SA’s first female Deputy Premier and Rob Lucas becoming Treasurer for the second time.[57] The new 14-member Ministry essentially comprises the former Liberal Opposition frontbench, containing 11 men and three women. The Liberal Member for Hartley, Vincent Tarzia, was appointed as Speaker for the House of Assembly, and is the youngest member to ever hold this position.

Following Labor’s defeat, Jay Weatherill stepped down as party leader and was replaced by Peter Malinauskas, who at 37 years of age became the youngest SA ALP leader since John Bannon in 1979. The ALP’s deputy leadership also changed, from John Rau (ALP–Enfield) to Susan Close
(ALP–Port Adelaide). Labor announced its 14-member shadow ministry on 11 April, comprising eight men and six women. Alongside former Premier Jay Weatherill, former Ministers John Rau, Leon Bignell and Ian Hunter have shifted to the backbench.[58]

Table 3: Seats won in the SA House of Assembly by party and gender, 2018 SA election

Party Number of seats won Female members Male Members
Lib. 25 4 (16%) 21 (84%)
ALP 19 6 (32 %) 13 (68%)
Ind. 3 1 (33%) 2 (67%)

Table 4: Seats won in the SA Legislative Council by party and gender, 2018 SA election

Party Number of seats won Female members Male Members
Lib. 4 1 (25%) 3 (75%)
ALP 4 3 (75%) 1 (25%)
Nick Xenophon’s SA Best 2 1 (50%) 1 (50%)
GRN 1 1 (100%) 0 (0%)

*MLCs not up for re-election in 2018: 4 Liberal, 4 ALP, 1 Greens, 1 Australian Conservatives and 1 Advance SA.

Table 5: Composition of the SA Legislative Council by party and gender following the 2018 SA election

Party Number of seats Female members Male members
Lib. 9* 2 (22%) 7 (78%)
ALP 8 3 (37.5%) 5 (62.5%)
Nick Xenophon’s SA Best 2 1 (50%) 1 (50%)
GRN. 2 1 (50%) 1 (50%)
Advance SA 1 0 (0%) 1 (100%)

*Dennis Hood MLC changed his affiliation from Australian Conservatives to the Liberal Party on 26 March 2018.[59]

In keeping with current voting trends in Australia, more than a quarter of all ballots cast in the 2018 SA election (almost 300,000) were submitted prior to polling day. Pre-poll ballots accounted for 75 per cent of these, with the remainder being postal ballots.[60] This was significantly higher than the approximate 150,000 declaration ballots cast at the 2014 SA election.[61] For the 2018 election, the Fleurieu Peninsula district of Finniss was particularly noteworthy, with almost half its returns made as declaration ballots.[62]

Previously, in November 2016, the then-Labor Government proposed legislation incorporating a clause to reduce the pre-poll voting period to the five days prior to polling day.[63] However, this clause was voted down by all non-Labor members of the Legislative Council, and so the existing two week pre-poll period remains.[64]

New and defeated parliamentarians

Twenty parliamentarians—almost 30 per cent of the SA Parliament—were elected for the first time at the 2018 election: 15 in the House of Assembly and five in the Legislative Council. Two had previously contested the 2014 SA election: Carolyn Habib (Lib.–Elder) and Sam Duluk (Lib.–Waite). Former Premier Jay Weatherill’s chief of staff (Michael Brown; ALP–Playford), deputy chief of staff (Blair Boyer; ALP–Wright) and community engagement officer (Emily Bourke; ALP-Legislative Council) all gained seats in parliament, as well as two former athletes—paralympian Matt Cowdrey (Lib–Colton) and AFL footballer Stephen Patterson (Lib.–Morphett).

Only three incumbent House of Assembly members were defeated in the 2018 election: Government Whip Tom Kenyon (ALP–Newland), Annabel Dignance (ALP–Elder) and Duncan McFetridge (Ind.–Morphett). In the Legislative Council, two sitting members were not returned: Robert Brokenshire (AC–LC) and Kelly Vincent (DIG–LC).

Factors in the result

The redistribution

In his post-election review, ABC election analyst Antony Green stated that ‘the final results confirm that the redistribution was largely responsible for the election outcome’.[65] Green characterised the campaign as ‘a bit like a First World War battlefield. The Boundaries Commission drew the electoral dividing line, and the combatants metaphorically dug trenches either side by making all their own seats safer’.[66] Within this context, the uniform three per cent swing the ALP needed to retain government ultimately proved too great a challenge. The ALP did, however, achieve a small two-party preferred swing towards it of 1.1 per cent, compared to the victorious Liberal Party (which had a 1.1 per cent swing against it).[67]

The weight of the EDBC’s significant 2016 redistribution had clear effects. Almost half of the state’s 47 House of Assembly districts were more than 3.5 per cent over/under quota on election day, based on the 2018 election quota of 25,570 (1,201,775 enrolled voters divided by the 47 districts). At the extreme ends of the spectrum, the Adelaide northern suburbs district of Elizabeth (won by the ALP) was 11.1 per cent over the quota, while the rural district of Flinders (won by the Liberal Party) was 11 per cent under the quota.

The redistribution of beachside districts along the Gulf of St Vincent was arguably more significant than a straightforward metropolitan/regional divide, however. Due to the shifting boundaries, the Liberal Party went from holding two seats in 2014 (Morphett and Bright) between Henley Beach and Hallett Cove, to four seats after the 2018 election (Colton, Morphett, Gibson and Black).

Longstanding incumbent government

Even without the effects of the redistribution, the ALP faced the challenge of convincing voters to elect it for another term after just over 16 years in government. This long period in office eclipsed even the tenure of the former NSW ALP government, which ran from 1995 to 2011. During its time in office the ALP in SA had won the two-party preferred (2PP) vote only once, in 2006, with the 2014 election 2PP being 53-47 per cent in favour of the Liberal Party.

The accumulation of issues over time (for example car manufacturer General Motors ceasing operations in northern Adelaide; the extreme weather in September 2016 that led to large-scale electricity black-outs; the TAFE SA course accreditation and Oakden scandals) also arguably had an effect.[68]

Lack of electoral success for Nick Xenophon’s SA Best

Polling undertaken shortly after Nick Xenophon’s announcement to contest the 2018 SA election revealed strong popular support, with 41 per cent of respondents identifying Xenophon as their preferred premier and voting intentions indicating 30 per cent of the primary vote for SA Best.[69] These results were largely replicated by a Newspoll survey published two months later in December 2017.[70] However, two weeks out from the election, polling suggested that around
one-third of SA Best’s intended primary vote had disappeared (down to 21 per cent), and less than 30 per cent of respondents thought Xenophon the best option for Premier.[71]

The election results themselves were even worse, with SA Best receiving just 14.1 per cent of the first preference vote and gaining no seats in the House of Assembly and just two seats in the Legislative Council. In addition, of the 36 seats it contested SA Best polled second place in only 12 after preferences. This predominantly involved outpolling the ALP in SA’s rural districts, such as Mackillop where SA Best’s vote almost doubled that of the ALP.

During the campaign SA Best faced significant policy scrutiny, particularly regarding gambling reform. SA Best’s policy of a 30 per cent reduction in poker machines over five years attracted criticism, particularly from the Hotels Association which feared reductions would create industry job losses, and also from the Greens who had called for a total ban in five years.[72]

SA Best also suffered from not having a clear preference ally. This was in stark contrast to the Liberals, which consistently received most of the Australian Conservatives preferences, and to the ALP, which regularly garnered most of the Greens preferences. Based on the published
how-to-vote cards, the ALP preferenced the Liberal Party ahead of SA Best in 18 seats, and the Greens preferenced both major parties ahead of SA Best in 14 seats. SA Best received only nine second-preference selections on major party how-to-vote cards: five from the ALP (in outer-metro and rural districts) and four from the Liberal Party (in north and eastern metro areas).[73] However, even if more favourable preference deals had been made, SA Best failed to win sufficient primary votes. In the 36 seats it contested, SA Best’s average primary vote was 18.5 per cent, ranging from a high of 25.9 per cent in the north-western rural district of Giles to a low of 10.5 per cent in the Adelaide western-suburbs district of Croydon.

Following the 2018 election, one academic expert contended that SA Best eventually failed due to insufficient financial resourcing, too many candidates, unfocused campaign tactics and policy formulation, and Xenophon’s inability to transition to a more credible political statesman.[74]
In addition:

had Xenophon run for the Legislative Council, together with a disciplined and targeted lower house campaign focussed on a handful of seats, it is quite possible that SA Best might have picked up three seats in the upper house and maybe two or three seats in the lower house. If that were the case Xenophon would indeed have been the kingmaker in the new parliament, as was his original objective. Instead, he deliberately chose a high-risk approach that has brought his political career, and his party, crashing down.[75]

While SA Best secured two upper house members in the 2018 election, the Australian Conservatives now have no representatives in the SA parliament: Robert Brokenshire missed out on re-election, and Dennis Hood defected to the Liberal Party, leaving federal Senator Cory Bernardi as the party’s only parliamentarian across all Australian jurisdictions.


[1].   Constitution Act 1934 (SA).

[2].   Constitution (Prorogation of Parliament) Proclamation 2017 (SA); Electoral Commission SA (ECSA), 2018 State Election timetable, website, accessed 10 May 2018.

[3].   ABC News, ‘Martin Hamilton-Smith quits Liberals to back South Australian Labor Government’, website, 28 May 2014, accessed 17 May 2018.

[4].   ABC News, ‘Frances Bedford points finger at Labor’s “faceless men” as she quits party’, website, 28 March 2017, accessed 10 May 2018.

[5].   ABC News, ‘SA Health Minister Jack Snelling resigns from Cabinet and will not contest March election’, website, 17 September 2017, accessed 10 May 2018; T Fedorowytsch, ‘Frances Bedford to contest 2018 South Australian election as an independent’, website, 1 December 2017, accessed 10 May 2018.

[6].   ABC News, ‘SA MP Duncan McFetridge vows to stand as independent after losing Liberal preselection’, website, 19 June 2017, accessed 10 May 2018.

[7].   N Hunt, ‘Lib MP theft charges’, The Advertiser, 18 August 2017, p 1, accessed 18 May 2018.

[8].   A Dowdell, ‘Embattled MP: Don’t write me off just yet’, The Advertiser, 16 December 2017, p. 11, accessed 18 May 2018.

[9].   M Owen, ‘Call for deserting MP to resign from state parliament’, Weekend Australian, 19 August 2017, p. 8, accessed 10 May 2018; N Harmsen, ‘The ex-X men: spurned Nick Xenophon affiliates launch rival party Advance SA ahead of election’, ABC News online, 15 September 2017, accessed 19 March 2018.

[10].   SA Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission (EDBC), 2016 report of the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission, 7 December 2017, accessed 20 March 2018. For a historical overview of redistributions in SA see ECSA, South Australian electoral boundary redistributions 1851–2016, June 2017, accessed 21 May 2018.

[11].   Constitution (Electoral Redistribution) Amendment Act, 1991 (SA).

[12].   Constitution Act, subsection 83(1).

[13].   EDBC, 1991 report of the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission, p. 12.

[14].   EDBC, 2016 report of the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission, op. cit., p. 30.

[15].   ALP (SA Branch), Submission to the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission, paras.45, 98–113, EDBC website, accessed 26 March 2018.

[16].   Liberal Party of Australia (SA Division), Submission to the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission, paras. 48–50, 58, EDBC website, accessed 26 March 2018.

[17].   SA EDBC, 2016 report, p. 42.

[18].   N Harmsen, ‘Liberal Party given a boost ahead of 2018 SA election in boundary redistribution’, ABC News online, 8 December 2016.

[19].   M Parnell, ‘Second reading speech’, Constitution (One Vote One Value) Amendment Bill, South Australia, Legislative Council, Debates, 30 November 2017, p. 8830.

[20].   T Richardson, ‘SA’s electoral fairness clause a “failure”, says the man who drafted it’, InDaily, 21 March 2016, accessed 21 March 2018.

[21].   K Vincent, ‘Second reading speech’, Constitution (One Vote One Value) Amendment Bill, South Australia, Legislative Council, Debates, 30 November 2017, p. 8837.

[22].   R Lucas, ‘Second reading speech’, Constitution (One Vote One Value) Amendment Bill, South Australia, Legislative Council, Debates, 30 November 2017, p. 8833.

[23].   Constitution (One Vote One Value) Amendment Act 2017 (SA).

[24].   I Hunter, ‘Final stages speech’, Electoral (Legislative Council voting and other measures) Amendment Bill, South Australia, Legislative Council, Debates, 8 August 2017, pp. 7495-7501.

[25].   A Green, Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, Inquiry into the conduct of the 2013 federal election, 11 April 2014, accessed 7 May 2018; S Morey, ‘How do we solve a problem like the Senate’, The Conversation, website, 11 September 2013, accessed 7 May 2018.

[26].   M Abraham, ‘The politician we shouldn’t have lost’, Sunday Mail, 29 April 2018, p. 58, accessed 7 May 2018.

[27].   A Green, ‘Reforming the South Australian Legislative Council electoral system (Part 1) – Why Sainte-Laguë has faded as an option’, ABC News: Antony Green’s election blog, website, 20 March 2018, accessed 7 May 2018.

[28].   M Parnell, ‘Second reading speech’, Electoral (Optional Preferential Voting) Amendment Bill, South Australia, Legislative Council, 16 October 2013, pp. 5249-5251, accessed 7 May 2018.

[29].   J Darley, ‘Second reading speech’, Electoral (Preferential Voting Reform) Amendment Bill, South Australia, Legislative Council, 13 November 2013, pp. 5682-5683, accessed 7 May 2018.

[30].   SA Parliament, SA Legislative Tracking: Electoral (Legislative Council) (Optional Preferential Voting) Amendment, website, accessed 7 May 2018; J Rau, ‘Second reading speech’, Electoral (Legislative Council Voting) (Voter Choice) Amendment Bill, South Australia, House of Assembly, 16 November 2016, pp. 7867-7870, accessed 7 May 2018.

[31].   SA Parliament, SA Legislative Tracking: Electoral (Legislative Council Voting and Other Measures) Amendment, website, accessed 29 June 2018.

[32].   A Green, ‘New electoral system adopted for the South Australian Legislative Council’, ABC News: Antony Green’s Election Blog, website, 20 March 2018, accessed 7 May 2018.

[33].   Notice of Assent, Electoral (Legislative Council Voting and Other Measures) Amendment Bill, South Australia, House of Assembly, 26 September 2017, p. 11062, accessed 7 May 2018.

[34]. D Wills, ‘Musical chairs as MPs retire’, The Advertiser, 8 February 2017, p. 7, accessed 18 May 2018; L Novak, ‘Shock exit for Vlahos’, The Advertiser, 16 February 2018, p. 1, accessed 5 April 2018.

[35].   N Harmsen, ‘SA Premier “deeply sorry” after Oakden ICAC reports five individuals for maladministration’, ABC News website, 28 February 2018, accessed 15 March 2018; Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) South Australia, Oakden: A shameful chapter in South Australia’s history, 28 February 2018.  

[36].   Australian Energy Market Operator, Black System South Australia 28 September 2016, March 2017, accessed 30 April 2018.

[37].   Australian Energy Market Commission, 2017 Residential Electricity Price Trends: final report, 18 December 2017, accessed 2 May 2018.

[38].   SA Government, It’s time to take charge of our energy future, 14 March 2017, accessed 2 May 2018.

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[40].   N Harmsen, ‘Elon Musk’s Tesla and SA Labor reach deal to give solar panels and batteries to 50,000 homes’, ABC News, 4 February 2018, accessed 30 April 2018.

[41].   N Harmsen, ‘SA election: 75pc renewables achievable with or without Weatherill’s target, analyst says’, ABC News, 21 February 2018, accessed 30 April 2018.

[42].   SA Liberal Party, ‘Liberal Energy Solution’, website, 10 October 2017, accessed 2 May 2018.

[43].   A Langenberg, ‘Bill shock for Libs as $302 power savings pledge short circuits’, The Advertiser, 12 October 2017, p. 3, accessed 2 May 2018.

[44].   G Jericho, ‘Why South Australians are older, poorer and on their way interstate’, The Guardian Australia, 15 March 2018, accessed 2 May 2018.

[45].   ABC News, ‘SA election: what have the major parties been promising ahead of the March 17 vote’, website, 14 March 2018, accessed 2 May 2018.

[46].   B Crouch, ‘New life breathed into the old Repat Hospital’, The Advertiser, 9 June 2017, p. 11, accessed 31 May 2018; ABC News, ‘Final patients moved as Adelaide’s Repatriation Hospital closes it doors’, website, 9 November 2017, accessed 31 May 2018.

[47].   SA Liberal Party, ‘Re-opening the Repat’, website, accessed 4 May 2018.

[48].   N Xenophon, ‘Why I will be leaving the Senate to run in the March 2018 South Australian election’, media release, 6 October 2017, accessed 15 March 2018. 

[49].   Nick Xenophon, ‘Xenophon resigns from Senate, gears up for state poll’, media release, 1 November 2017, accessed 15 March 2018.

[50].   ECSA, ‘Register of political parties’, website, accessed 10 May 2018.

[51].   A Langenberg, ‘No deals, Liberals vow’, The Advertiser, 7 October 2017, p. 7, accessed 30 April 2018.

[52].   C Bernardi, ‘Statement to the Senate’, media release, 7 February 2017.

[53].   Australian Conservatives, ‘Australian Conservatives amalgamates with Family First’, Australian Conservatives website, 26 April 2017, accessed 14 March 2018.

[54].   ECSA, ‘Register of Political Parties’, ECSA website, accessed 14 March 2018.

[55].   J Lim, ‘One Nation won’t field candidates in SA poll’, The Advertiser, 20 September 2017, p. 5, accessed 14 March 2018.

[56].   A Langenberg, ‘Nationals pull out of state election race’, The Advertiser, 28 February 2018, p. 9, accessed 4 May 2018; ECSA, ‘Shooters and Fishers Party SA De-registered’, website, accessed 4 May 2018.

[57].   ABC News, ‘Liberal leader Steven Marshall sworn in as new South Australian Premier’, website, 19 March 2018, accessed 7 May 2018.

[58].   D Wills, ‘Floored ALP shifts stance to box from the shadows’, The Advertiser, 11 April 2018, p. 23, accessed 7 May 2018.

[59].   Liberal Party of SA, ‘Hon Dennis Hood MLC joins Liberal Party’, media release, 26 March 2018, accessed 24 April 2018.

[60].   ‘Total declarations processed – including pre-poll declarations’ Data provided by ECSA.

[61].   P Jean, ‘Record numbers have early say’, The Advertiser, 17 March 2018, p. 7, accessed 21 May 2018.

[62].   ECSA, various district results webpages, website, accessed 4 May 2018. For analysis of early voting trends see I McAllister and D Muller, ‘Early voting, election campaigning and party advantage in Australia’, Electoral Studies, 52, 2018, pp. 103-110, accessed 4 May 2018.

[63].   J Rau, ‘Electoral (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill, second reading speech’, South Australia, House of Assembly, Debates, 2 November 2016, pp. 7513-7519, accessed 1 May 2018.

[64].   R Lucas, M Parnell, D Hood, J Darley, K Vincent, ‘Electoral (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill, In Committee’, South Australia, Legislative Council, Debates, 1 June 2017, pp. 6939-6940, accessed 1 May 2018.

[65].   A Green, ‘Final results of the 2018 South Australian Election’, op. cit.

[66].   A Green, ‘Final results of the 2018 South Australian Election’, ABC News online, 23 April 2018, accessed 26 April 2018.

[67].   Ibid.

[68].   Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment, Vocational education and training in South Australia, The Senate, March 2018, accessed 7 May 2018; ICAC South Australia, Oakden: A shameful chapter ..., op. cit.

[69].   P Jean and K Stokes, ‘Xenophon streets ahead as preferred premier: Poll’, The Advertiser, 19 October 2017, p. 1, accessed 6 April 2018.

[70].   M Owen and L Griffiths, ‘Xenophon best, daylight second: Newspoll shock for ALP, Libs’, The Australian, 19 December 2017, p. 1, accessed 6 April 2018.

[71].   M Owen, ‘Support for Xenophon in free fall’, The Australian, 3 March 2018, p. 1, accessed 6 April 2018.

[72].   SA Best, ‘State policies: gambling reform’, website, accessed 7 May 2018; S Evans, ‘Australian Hotels Association ads hasten SA Best Nick Xenophon’s poll slide’, Australian Financial Review, 5 March 2018, accessed 7 May 2018; ABC News, ‘SA election: Greens target Xenophon with policy to ban pokies in pubs and clubs’, ABC News online, 20 January 2018, accessed 7 May 2018.

[73].   ECSA, ‘How-to-vote-cards’, website, accessed 1 May 2018.

[74].   H Manning, ‘Why the SA Best bubble burst: a quasi-insider’s account’, InDaily, 5 April 2018, accessed 24 April 2018.

[75].   H Manning, ‘How Xenophon lost hope and SA Best deserted the battlefield’, InDaily, 6 April 2018, accessed 24 April 2018.


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