Parliament of South Australia

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Parliament of South Australia
53rd Parliament
Coat of arms or logo
Houses House of Assembly
Legislative Council
Elizabeth II
Since 6 February 1952
Hieu Van Le
Since 1 September 2014
Michael Atkinson, Labor
Since 5 February 2013
Russell Wortley, Labor
Since 6 May 2014
Seats 69
47 MHA
22 MLC
SA House of Assembly Diagram.svg
House of Assembly political groups
     Labor (23)

     Liberal (19)

     Independent (5)
SA Legislative Council 2017.svg
Legislative Council political groups
     Labor (8)

     Liberal (8)

     Greens (2)
     Conservatives (2)
     Dignity (1)
     Independent (1)
Instant-runoff Vote
Single Transferable Vote
Last general election
15 March 2014
Next general election
17 March 2018
Meeting place
Adelaide parliament house.JPG
Parliament House,
Adelaide, South Australia,
Parliament House
Recreated lower and upper house booths, history, and voting procedures
SA Parliament Opening

The Parliament of South Australia at Parliament House, Adelaide is the bicameral legislature of the Australian state of South Australia. It consists of the 47-seat House of Assembly (lower house) and the 22-seat Legislative Council (upper house). All of the lower house and half of the upper house is filled at each election. It follows a Westminster system of parliamentary government. The fourth-term South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party has been in government since the 2002 election.

The Queen is represented in the State by the Governor of South Australia. According to the South Australian Constitution, unlike the Federal Parliament, and the parliaments of the other states and territories of Australia, neither the Sovereign or the Governor is considered to be a part of the South Australian Parliament. However, the same role and powers are granted to them.[1]


The Parliament of South Australia began in 1857, when the colony was granted self-government. Women gained the right to vote and stand for election in 1895, taking effect at the 1896 election.[2][3]

South Australia became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 following a vote to Federate with the other British colonies of Australia.

Elections were held every 3 years until 1985, when the parliament switched to 4 year terms, meaning 8 year terms for the upper house. Beginning in 2006, election dates have been fixed at the third Saturday in March of every fourth year.[4]

House of Assembly[edit]

The House of Assembly (or "lower house") is made up of 47 members who are each elected by the full-preference instant-runoff voting system in single-member electorates. Each of the 47 electoral districts (electorates) contains approximately the same number of voters.

Since 1975, the distribution of electoral boundaries has been set by the South Australian Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission.[4] Since 1991, boundaries have been redistributed after each election by the Electoral Commission of South Australia, an independent body. Previously they were redistributed after every third election.

Government is formed in the House of Assembly by the leader of the party or coalition who can demonstrate they have the support of the majority of the House, and is called upon by the Governor to form government. The leader of the government becomes the Premier.

While South Australia's total population is 1.7 million, Adelaide's population is 1.3 million − uniquely, over 75 percent of the state's population resides in the metropolitan area and has 72 percent of seats (34 of 47) alongside a lack of comparatively-sized rural population centres, therefore the metropolitan area tends to decide election outcomes. At the 2014 election for example, although the statewide 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.[5]

Legislative Council[edit]

The Legislative Council (or "upper house") is made up of 22 councillors (MLCs) who are elected for the entire state by the single transferable voting system (with optional preferential voting) to serve for a term of 8 years. Elections for the Legislative Council are staggered so that 11 seats are up for re-election every 4 years, at the same time as House of Assembly elections.

The primary function of the Legislative Council is to review legislation which has been passed by the House of Assembly. This can cause tensions between the government and the Legislative Council, which may be viewed by the former as obstructionist if it rejects key legislation, as can happen at times when the electoral makeup of the two houses are different.

Current parliament[edit]

The 47-seat lower house consists of 23 Labor, 19 Liberal and 5 independents. Following the 2014 election, the lower house consisted of 23 Labor, 22 Liberal and 2 independents, Geoff Brock and Bob Such. Martin Hamilton-Smith became an independent shortly after the election, reducing the Liberals to 21 seats. Both Hamilton-Smith and fellow independent Brock are in cabinet and provide confidence and supply while retaining the right to vote on conscience. Labor went from minority to majority government when Nat Cook won the 2014 Fisher by-election which was triggered by the death of Bob Such. Despite this, the Jay Weatherill Labor government kept crossbench MPs Brock and Hamilton-Smith in cabinet, giving the government a 26 to 21 parliamentary majority.[6] Frances Bedford resigned from Labor and became an independent on 28 March 2017 after Jack Snelling was endorsed for Florey pre-selection as a result of the major electoral redistribution ahead of the 2018 election. As with the rest of the crossbench, Bedford will continue to provide confidence and supply support to the incumbent Labor government.[7] Duncan McFetridge resigned from the Liberals and moved to the crossbench as an independent in May 2017 after losing party endorsement for Morphett pre-selection.[8] Troy Bell resigned from the Liberals and moved to the crossbench as an independent in August 2017 due to criminal financial allegations.[9]

The 22-seat upper house currently consists of members from the following parties: Labor (8), Liberal (8), Greens (2), Conservatives (2), Dignity (1) and independent John Darley (1).


The seat of the Parliament of South Australia is Parliament House in the state capital of Adelaide. Parliament House sits on the North-Western corner of the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace[10].

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Constitution Act 1934". South Australia: Parliament of the United Kingdom. 1934. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Women’s Suffrage Petition 1894:
  3. ^ "Women and Politics in South Australia". Parliament of South Australia. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  4. ^ a b History of Redistributions, South Australian Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission
  5. ^ 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, ECSA 2014 Heysen election and ABC 2014 Fisher by-election.
  6. ^ Fisher by-election win for Labor gives Weatherill Government majority in SA: ABC 13 December 2014
  7. ^ "Bedford bombshell "won't make much difference", Jay insists". InDaily. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  8. ^ "Duncan McFetridge quits Liberal Party after Morphett preselection loss". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
  9. ^ Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell resigns from Liberal Party, vows to fight theft charges: ABC 17 August 2017
  10. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 2017-10-03. 

Coordinates: 34°55′16″S 138°35′55″E / 34.92111°S 138.59861°E / -34.92111; 138.59861