South Australian state election, 1962

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South Australian state election, 1962
South Australia
1959 ←
3 March 1962 (1962-03-03) → 1965

All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly
20 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Playford portrait 38.jpg FrankWalsh.jpg
Leader Thomas Playford Frank Walsh
Party Liberal and Country League Labor
Leader since 5 November 1938 1960
Leader's seat Gumeracha Edwardstown
Last election 20 seats 17 seats
Seats won 20 seats 19 seats
Seat change Steady0 Increase2
Percentage 45.7% 54.3%
Swing Decrease4.6 Increase4.6

Premier before election

Thomas Playford
Liberal and Country League

Resulting Premier

Thomas Playford
Liberal and Country League

State elections were held in 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.

House of Assembly (IRV) — Turnout 93.98% (CV) — Informal 2.46%
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Australian Labor Party 219,790 53.98 +4.63 19 +2
  Liberal and Country League 140,507 34.51 -2.44 18 -2
  Democratic Labor Party 31,543 7.75 +2.09 0 0
  Independent 12,827 3.15 -2.78 2 0
  Other 2,528 0.62 0 0
  Total 407,195     39
  Liberal and Country League WIN 45.70 -4.60 20 0
  Australian Labor Party 54.30 +4.60 19 +2
  • Six LCL and two ALP seats were won uncontested. The primary vote was counted on seats contested, while the two-party vote was estimated for all seats.


The Playford government, in power since 1938, went into the 1962 elections in a precarious position. At the time the writs were issued, South Australia was dogged by a massive recession. This led observers to think that Labor would finally have a chance at power. Longtime opposition leader Mick O'Halloran had died suddenly in 1960, and Labor was led into the election by former deputy leader Frank Walsh.

In the election, Labor scored 54.3 percent of the two-party vote to only 45.7 percent for the LCL. However, due to the Playmander -- the rural overweighting that had kept the LCL in power for three decades —- Labor won only 19 seats, one seat short of a majority. Even with this to consider, speculation was rampant on election night that Playford's long tenure was finally over.

However, Playford refused to concede, instead saying he would wait to see how the two independents in the chamber lined up once the legislature reassembled. They both declared their support for Playford, giving the LCL a bare one-seat majority. Walsh lobbied Governor Edric Bastyan not to reappoint Playford, to no avail.

The furor over the 1962 election illustrated how distorted the Playmander had become. By this time some two-thirds of the state's population resided in and around Adelaide, but they only elected one-third of the members of the legislature.

See also[edit]