South Australian House of Assembly

Last updated

House of Assembly
55th Parliament
South Australian Coat of Arms.svg
Type
Type
History
Founded22 April 1857;165 years ago (22 April 1857)
Leadership
Dan Cregan, Independent
since 13 October 2021
Tom Koutsantonis, Labor
since 24 Mar 2022
Government Whip
Lee Odenwalder, Labor
since 24 Mar 2022
Structure
Seats47
2022.04.15 South Australian House of Assembly - Composition of Members.svg
Political groups
Government (27)
  Labor (27)

Opposition (16)
  Liberal (16)

Crossbench (4)
  Independent (4) [lower-alpha 1]
Length of term
4 years
Elections
Full preferential voting
First election
9 March 1857
Last election
19 March 2022
Next election
21 March 2026
RedistrictingRedistributions are carried out after each election by the South Australian Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission.
Meeting place
House of Assembly SA.png
House of Assembly Chamber,
Parliament House, Adelaide,
South Australia, Australia
Website
SA House of Assembly

The House of Assembly, or lower house, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of South Australia. The other is the Legislative Council. It sits in Parliament House in the state capital, Adelaide.

Contents

Overview

The House of Assembly was created in 1857, when South Australia attained self-government. The development of an elected legislature — although only men could vote — marked a significant change from the prior system, where legislative power was in the hands of the Governor and the Legislative Council, which was appointed by the Governor.

In 1895, the House of Assembly granted women the right to vote and stand for election to the legislature. South Australia was the second place in the world to do so after New Zealand in 1893, and the first to allow women to stand for election. [1] (The first woman candidates for the South Australia Assembly ran in 1918 general election, in Adelaide and Sturt. [2] )

A painting of the House of Assembly meeting in Old Parliament House in 1867 'South Australian Parliament; the House of Assembly', c. 1867.jpg
A painting of the House of Assembly meeting in Old Parliament House in 1867

From 1857 to 1933, the House of Assembly was elected from multi-member districts, commonly known as "seats," with each district returning between one and six members. The size of the Assembly varied during this time—36 members from 1857 to 1875, 46 members from 1875 to 1884, 52 members from 1884 to 1890, 54 members from 1890 to 1902, 42 members from 1902 to 1912, 40 members from 1912 to 1915, and 46 members from 1915 to 1938. In 1938, the Assembly was reduced to 39 members, elected from single-member districts.

The House of Assembly has had 47 members since the 1970 election, elected from single-member districts: currently 34 in the Adelaide metropolitan area and 13 in rural areas. These seats are intended to represent approximately the same population in each electorate. Voting is by Instant-runoff voting and preferential voting with complete preference allocation, as with the equivalent federal chamber, the Australian House of Representatives. All members face re-election approximately every four years. The most recent election was held on 17 March 2018.

The House is presided over by a Speaker, who, as of the passage of the Constitution (Independent Speaker) Amendment Act 2021, is constitutionally banned from being a member of a registered political party outside of a "relevant election period". [3]

A map of South Australian electorates 1955-69, during the height of the Playmander Playmander Map.svg
A map of South Australian electorates 1955-69, during the height of the Playmander

Another distinctive aspect of the history of the South Australian Parliament was the "Playmander", a gerrymandering system that instituted a pro-rural electoral malapportionment introduced by the incumbent Liberal and Country League (LCL) government, and in place for 32 years from 1936 to 1968. [4] The already entrenched rural overweighting was increased to a 2:1 ratio, the number of MPs was reduced to 39 and the multi-member seats were abandoned for single-member seats. The House of Assembly now consisted of 26 low-population rural seats, which due to population shifts, were holding up to a 10-to-1 advantage over the 13 high-population metropolitan seats, even though rural seats contained only a third of South Australia's population. At the peak of the malapportionment in 1968, the rural seat of Frome had 4,500 formal votes, while the metropolitan seat of Enfield had 42,000 formal votes. [5]

Labor managed to win enough parliamentary seats to form government just once during the Playmander against the odds − in 1965. Labor won comprehensive majorities of the statewide two-party vote whilst failing to form government in 1944, 1953, 1962 and 1968. [5]

More equitable boundaries were subsequently put in place following the 1968, 1975, and 1989 elections. [5]

Most legislation is initiated in the House of Assembly. The party or coalition with a majority of seats in the lower house is invited by the Governor to form government. The leader of that party becomes Premier of South Australia, and their senior colleagues become ministers responsible for various portfolios. As Australian MPs almost always vote along party lines, almost all legislation introduced by the governing party will pass through the House of Assembly.

South Australian House of Assembly ballot paper South Australian House of Assembly Ballot Paper.png
South Australian House of Assembly ballot paper

As with the federal parliament and Australian other states and territories, voting in the Assembly is compulsory for all those over the age of 18. Voting in the House of Assembly had originally been voluntary, but this was changed in 1942.

While South Australia's total population is 1.7 million, 1.3 million of them live in Adelaide. Over 75% of the state's population resides in the metropolitan area. As a result, Adelaide accounts for 72% (34 of 47) of the seats in the chamber. The dominance of Adelaide, combined with a lack of comparatively-sized rural population centres, results in the metropolitan area frequently deciding election outcomes. At the 2014 election for example, although the state-wide two-party vote (2PP) was 47.0% Labor v 53.0% Liberal, the metropolitan area recorded a 2PP of 51.5% Labor v 48.5% Liberal. [6]

Election result summaries

House of Assembly chamber circa 1928. SA Lower House Chamber.jpg
House of Assembly chamber circa 1928.

Father of the House of Assembly since 1 Jan 1964

FromToMemberTerm StartedStatus
1 January 19642 March 1968 Thomas Playford IV
Tom Stott
1933 Joint Fathers
2 March 196830 May 1970 Tom Stott 1933 Father
30 May 197010 March 1973 David Brookman Appointed in 1948 due to death of Sir Hubert HuddFather
10 March 197315 September 1979 Don Dunstan
Jack Jennings
1953 Joint Fathers
17 September 197715 September 1979 Don Dunstan 1953 Father
15 September 19799 November 1982 Des Corcoran 1962 Father
9 November 19826 December 1985 Allan Rodda 1965 Father
6 December 198511 December 1993 Stan Evans 1968 Father
11 December 199311 October 1997 Heini Becker
Graham Gunn
1970 Joint Fathers
11 October 199720 March 2010 Graham Gunn 1970 Father
20 March 201011 October 2014 Bob Such
Michael Atkinson
1989 Joint Fathers
11 October 201417 March 2018 Michael Atkinson 1989 Father
17 March 201819 March 2022 Frances Bedford
Tom Koutsantonis
1997 Joint Father/Mother
19 March 2022Present Tom Koutsantonis 1997 Father

See also

Notes

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Don Dunstan</span> Australian politician

Donald Allan Dunstan was an Australian politician. He entered politics as the Member for Norwood in 1953 at age 26, became leader of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party in 1967, and was Premier of South Australia between June 1967 and April 1968, and again between June 1970 and February 1979.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parliament of South Australia</span> Bicameral legislature of the Australian state of South Australia

The Parliament of South Australia is the bicameral legislature of the Australian state of South Australia. It consists of the 47-seat House of Assembly and the 22-seat Legislative Council. General elections are held every 4 years, with all of the lower house and half of the upper house filled at each election. It follows a Westminster system of parliamentary government with the executive branch required to both sit in parliament and hold the confidence of the House of Assembly. The parliament is based at Parliament House on North Terrace in the state capital of Adelaide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liberal Movement (Australia)</span> South Australian political party (1973-1976)

The Liberal Movement (LM) was a South Australian political party which existed from 1973 to 1976, and was a forerunner to the Australian Democrats.

Since 1970, the South Australian House of Assembly — the lower house of the Parliament of South Australia — has consisted of 47 single-member electoral districts consisting of approximately the same number of enrolled voters. The district boundaries are regulated by the State Electoral Office, according to the requirements of the South Australian Constitution and are subject to mandatory redistributions by the South Australian Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission in order to respond to changing demographics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Electoral district of Adelaide</span> South Australian state electoral district

Adelaide is a single-member electoral district for the South Australian House of Assembly. The 22.8 km² state seat of Adelaide currently consists of the Adelaide city centre including North Adelaide and suburbs to the inner north and inner north east: Collinswood, Fitzroy, Gilberton, Medindie, Medindie Gardens, Ovingham, Thorngate, Walkerville, most of Prospect, and part of Nailsworth. The federal division of Adelaide covers the state seat of Adelaide and additional suburbs in each direction.

The Playmander was a gerrymandering system, a pro-rural electoral malapportionment in the Australian state of South Australia, which was introduced by the incumbent Liberal and Country League (LCL) government in 1936, and remained in place for 32 years until 1968.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1975 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 12 July 1975. All 47 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Australian Labor Party led by Premier of South Australia Don Dunstan won a third term in government, defeating the Liberal Party of Australia led by Leader of the Opposition Bruce Eastick.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1970 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 30 May 1970. All 47 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Steele Hall was defeated by the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Don Dunstan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1968 South Australian state election</span>

The 1968South AustralianState election was held in South Australia on 2 March 1968. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election; 38 of the 39 contests were won by candidates from Australia's two major political parties. The incumbent Australian Labor Party and the Liberal and Country League both won 19 seats. The sole independent candidate to win a race, Tom Stott of the Ridley electorate, joined with the LCL's 19 seats to form a coalition government that held a 20 to 19 majority, thus defeating the Dunstan Labor government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1965 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 6 March 1965. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV, in power since 1938, was defeated by the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Frank Walsh.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1962 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 3 March 1962. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Frank Walsh.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1959 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 7 March 1959. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Mick O'Halloran.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1956 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 3 March 1956. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Mick O'Halloran.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1953 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 7 March 1953. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Mick O'Halloran.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1938 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 19 March 1938. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League government led by Premier of South Australia Richard L. Butler defeated the opposition Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Andrew Lacey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1944 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 29 April 1944. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League government led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the opposition Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Robert Richards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1947 South Australian state election</span>

State elections were held in South Australia on 8 March 1947. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League government led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the opposition Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Robert Richards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2014 South Australian state election</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch)</span> Political party in Australia

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liberal Party of Australia (South Australian Division)</span> Political party in Australia

The Liberal Party of Australia , commonly known as the South Australian Liberals, is the South Australian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia. It was formed as the Liberal and Country League (LCL) in 1932 and became the South Australian Division of the Liberal Party when the Liberal Party was formed in 1945. It retained its Liberal and Country League name before changing to its current name in 1974. It is one of two major parties in the bicameral Parliament of South Australia, the other being the Australian Labor Party. The party has been led by Leader of the Opposition David Speirs since the 2022 state election after a one-term government.

References

  1. "Women's Suffrage Petition 1894: parliament.sa.gov.au" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  2. History of South Australia Elections, House of Assembly, volume 1
  3. Constitution (Independent Speaker) Amendment Act 2021
  4. Labor and Liberal Parties, SA, Dean Jaensch, "A 2:1 ratio of enrolments in favour of the rural areas was in force from 1936."
  5. 1 2 3 Jaensch, Dean (2002). "Community access to the electoral processes in South Australia since 1850". South Australian State Electoral Office. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016.
  6. Metropolitan 2PP correctly calculated by adding raw metro 2PP vote numbers from the 34 metro seats, both Labor and Liberal, then dividing Labor's raw metro 2PP vote from the total, which revealed a Labor metropolitan 2PP of 51.54%. Obtained raw metro 2PP vote numbers from ECSA 2014 election statistics Archived 7 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine , ECSA 2014 Heysen election Archived 11 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine and ABC 2014 Fisher by-election.

Further reading

Coordinates: 34°55′16″S138°35′55″E / 34.921096°S 138.598554°E / -34.921096; 138.598554