|39th Leader of the Opposition (SA)|
12 April 2007 – 8 July 2009
|Deputy||Vickie Chapman (2007–2009),
Isobel Redmond (2009)
|Preceded by||Iain Evans|
|Succeeded by||Isobel Redmond|
|Deputy Leader of the Opposition (SA)|
30 March 2010 – 6 April 2010
|Preceded by||Steven Griffiths|
|Succeeded by||Mitch Williams|
|Minister for Tourism and Innovation|
4 December 2001 – 5 March 2002
|Preceded by||Rob Kerin (as Minister for Tourism)|
|Succeeded by||Jane Lomax-Smith (as Minister for Tourism, Science and the Information Economy)|
|Member of the South Australian Parliament
for Member for Waite
11 October 1997
|Preceded by||Stephen Baker|
|Born||Martin Leslie James Hamilton-Smith
1 September 1953
|Political party||Liberal Party|
Martin Leslie James Hamilton-Smith (born 1 September 1953) is the member for the electoral district of Waite in the South Australian House of Assembly since 1997. He was the parliamentary leader of the South Australian division of the Liberal Party of Australia and the Leader of the Opposition in South Australia from 2007 to 2009.
Early life 
Graduating from Royal Military College, Duntroon as an officer in the Australian Army, he then went on to begin a career in the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) for many years. He specialised in counter-terrorism and spent many years in the UK commanding one of the first counter-terrorism units. He toured in the Middle East while part of the SAS, serving as Commander of Australian Service Contingent Multinational Force and Observers Sinai during the period 1993-1994. He then took command of the 1st Commando Regiment until his retirement with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1994.
Hamilton-Smith first won Waite in the 1997 election by six percent against the Democrats on a two party preferred (2PP) basis. Hailing from the conservative faction, his preselection win in Waite over Robert Lawson from the moderate faction was marred by controversy. Previous Waite MP Stephen Baker, from the moderate faction, resigned two months prior to the election which was seen as a result of losing the deputy leadership after the coup of leader Dean Brown from the moderate faction, by John Olsen from the conservative faction. The preselection victory of Hamilton-Smith prompted Brown to complain of interference by federal conservative MPs Nick Minchin, Grant Chapman and Andrew Southcott.
At the 2002 election when Rann Labor came to power, Hamilton-Smith retained his seat by twelve percent against Labor on 2PP, and by four percent at the 2006 election. Hamilton-Smith was the Innovation and Tourism minister in the Kerin Liberal government from December 2001 to March 2002.
Liberal leader 
In October 2005, he moved to challenge then Liberal leader Rob Kerin, but later withdrew his challenge. On 11 April 2007, Hamilton-Smith formally challenged then Liberal leader Iain Evans, and was successful with 13 votes to 10 for the Liberal leadership. On 19 April 2007, he announced a re-shuffle of the opposition front bench.
Under his leadership, polling by Newspoll has seen the Liberals go from 29 to 40 per cent on the primary vote, and from 39 to 50 per cent on the two party preferred vote. The Preferred Premier rating saw Hamilton-Smith start on 21 per cent, seven points higher than his predecessor, to a high of 30 per cent, with Rann falling from a high of 64, to 48 per cent. However, Newspoll saw Labor back in a winning position on 54 to 46 in late 2008, and then 56 to 44 in early 2009 along with a widening gap in the Preferred Premier rating. During the 50-50 polling, The Sunday Mail polling suggested that whilst there had been large swings away from the government in country areas, support was holding relatively firm at 2006 election levels in the metropolitan areas. However, this did not play out at the 2009 Frome state by-election, which saw a rare two-party swing to an incumbent government, and was the first time an opposition had lost a seat at a by-election in South Australia. In addition, Hamilton-Smith prematurely claimed victory.
2009 leadership spill 
The "Dodgygate" affair which saw Hamilton-Smith falsely accuse Labor of accepting split donations from the Church of Scientology, coupled with the Frome by-election and continued poor polling, had seen Liberal MPs openly talk of a leadership change, with a high chance of a leadership spill likely, prior to the next South Australian state election. Opposition Frontbencher Mitch Williams quit the Hamilton-Smith Shadow Cabinet in protest of his leadership on 28 July 2009, after The Sunday Mail revealed Labor was leading 64–36 in metropolitan Adelaide. Two days later, Hamilton-Smith announced a spill of the leadership and deputy leadership, with a ballot taking place on Saturday 4 July 2009. Williams, Isobel Redmond, and Iain Evans ruled out contesting the ballot, with Hamilton-Smith and moderate Vickie Chapman the only contenders. Hamilton-Smith defeated Chapman in the leadership spill, 11 votes to 10, with one MP abstaining. At first, Hamilton-Smith immediately announced he would stand down, which would have delivered the leadership to Chapman, but he was convinced by conservative senior Liberal MPs Ivan Venning and Graham Gunn to continue. Hamilton-Smith announced a second leadership ballot to be held on Wednesday 8 July. Speculation centred around whether Hamilton-Smith would contest the second leadership ballot. He responded to journalist questions with:
We'll just have to wait and see. Do not believe anything anyone is telling you other than what you hear from my mouth, because people have been feeding you (the media) a whole lot of shit for several weeks to suit their own factional agenda.
On Monday 6 July, Hamilton-Smith confirmed he would not be running for the leadership. Contenders for the leadership were Chapman, Redmond, and Williams. Previous Hamilton-Smith supporters appeared to be backing Redmond. Redmond won the leadership spill on 8 July 2009, 13 votes to 9 against Chapman.
Deputy Leader 
On Tuesday 30 March 2010, Hamilton-Smith was elected deputy leader of SA Liberals to replace Steven Griffiths in a party-room vote, defeating Iain Evans 10 votes to 8. He once again defeated Evans in a leadership position in a rematch between the two former leaders. Hamilton-Smith got to be in the reverse position being deputy to Isobel Redmond as Redmond had briefly served as Hamilton-Smith's deputy before his leadership demise. However Redmond had made it known that Hamilton-Smith was not her preferred deputy and he stood aside when a party room meeting was called for 6 April to reconsider the deputy's job and Mitch Williams was elected unopposed to replace Hamilton-Smith.
Remarkably just as Redmond had served as Hamilton-Smith's deputy for a few days in July 2009, Hamilton-Smith in turn served as Redmond's deputy for a few days from 30 March to 6 April 2010.
2012 leadership spill 
For the third time, Hamilton-Smith nominated for the position of South Australian Liberal Party parliamentary leader, with Steven Marshall as deputy leader after Hamilton-Smith declared a leadership spill against Isobel Redmond and Mitch Williams. A partyroom ballot occurred on 23 October 2012, Redmond retained the leadership by one vote, however Marshall was elected to the deputy leadership. Hamilton-Smith moved to the backbench and would not rule out challenging again.
Redmond resigned on 31 January 2013 but Hamilton-Smith did not make a leadership comeback and Marshall became leader instead.
- Abraham, Matthew (10 September 1997). "Moderates pressure Olsen over seat snub". The Australian. p. 6.
- Why Martin Hamilton-Smith wanted to fight for the British Army: AdelaideNow 31 December 2011
- Parkin, Andrew (June 1998). "Australian Political Chronicle: July–December 1997". Australian Journal of Politics and History 44 (2): 286–287. ISSN 0004-9522.
- "The Poll Bludger – electoral district of Waite". Pollbludger.com. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Simon Royal (14 October 2005), Has Rob Kerin saved his leadership but lost the election?, ABC.net.au, retrieved 29 May 2007
- 11 April 2007, SA Liberals elect new leader, ABC News Online, retrieved 29 May 2007
- 19 April 2007, SA Opposition reshuffle 'matches' Govt portfolios, ABC News Online, retrieved 29 May 2007
- "Poll boost for Rann in key seats:". The Advertiser. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- 5 Minutes 10 Minutes (20 June 2009). "'Lame duck' Lib leader Martin Hamilton-Smith to face spill". The Australian. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- "SA Liberals in crisis". The Independent Weekly. 20 June 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Libs fail to settle doubts on leader Martin Hamilton-Smith. The Australian 23 June 2009[dead link]
- We're a team, but who will be leader. The Advertiser 23 June 2009[dead link]
- Emmerson, Russell (28 June 2009). "Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith faces spill". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Kelton, Greg (28 June 2009). "Mitch Williams quits cabinet in Liberal leadership chaos". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- 5 Minutes 10 Minutes (29 June 2009). "Spill looms as Lib quits front bench". The Australian. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Kelton, Greg (30 June 2009). "Martin Hamilton-Smith facing leadership challenge this week". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Emmerson, Russell (3 July 2009). "Martin Hamilton-Smith refuses to quit Liberal leadership". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- 5 Minutes 10 Minutes (30 June 2009). "Martin Hamilton-Smith announces South Australian opposition leadership spill". The Australian. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- "Leadership spill for SA Liberals". Australia: ABC. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Kelton, Greg (4 July 2009). "Martin Hamilton-Smith quits as SA Liberals leader". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- 5 Minutes 10 Minutes (6 July 2009). "Martin Hamilton-Smith to stand down after second leadership spill". The Australian. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Kelton, Greg (8 July 2009). "Redmond knocks off Chapman". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Wills, Daniel (30 March 2010). "SA Liberals elect Martin Hamilton-Smith as new deputy-leade". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Ex SA Liberal leader wants top job back: ABC 19 October 2012
- Daniel Wills analysis - Isobel Redmond wins battle against Martin Hamilton-Smith, but at what price?: AdelaideNow 23 October 2012
|Leader of the Opposition in South Australia
2007 – 2009
|Deputy Leader of the Opposition in South Australia
|Party political offices|
|Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia (SA division)
2007 – 2009