Finniss has been a very safe seat for the Liberal Party of Australia since its creation at the 1991 electoral redistribution, when it replaced the abolished Alexandra. It was contested for the first time at the 1993 election by newly elected Liberal leader Dean Brown, who had returned to parliament after a seven-year absence by winning the 1992 Alexandra state by-election. Brown had little difficulty winning Finniss, and subsequently became Premier after the election. Brown was later toppled as Premier by Liberal rival John Olsen in 1996, and was initially expected to retire, but remained in parliament as a senior member of consecutive Liberal ministries and shadow ministries. Brown retired at the 2006 election, and was succeeded by Liberal candidate Michael Pengilly, who held off a concerted attempt by the SA Nationals to take the seat.