Even though Labor won multiple elections on the two-party preferred vote against Thomas Playford IV and the Liberal and Country League (LCL), the electoral rural overweighting known as the Playmander did not ensure one vote one value. The 1965 election saw the Australian Labor Party obtain government for the first time since 1933. Frank Walsh, who had been leader of the opposition since 1960, became premier. Walsh's government was very weak on paper, with only a two-seat majority. This was despite the fact that the ALP had won one of the biggest victories at the state level in Australian history at the time, with 54.3 percent of the two-party vote.
Walsh’s term as Premier was marked by increased spending on public education and the implementation of far-reaching social welfare and Aboriginal Affairs legislation, although many of these changes were spearheaded by Dunstan, and the socially conservative Walsh may well have personally opposed some of these moves.
Walsh was never comfortable dealing with the media, particularly television, and his ascension to the job of Premier only exacerbated these problems. A master of malapropisms and using complex words in the wrong context, Walsh regularly had journalists, Hansard reporters, and political ally and foe alike bewildered by his statements. To give but one example, Walsh once said in parliament "In this manner, Mr Speaker, the government has acted as if this were a diseased estate. It's not sufficiently elasticated... The government is suffering from a complete lack of apathy in the case." His unease with the media was seen in stark contrast to his Attorney-General, Dunstan, who would prove to be a media relations master throughout his later terms as Premier.
Walsh's awkwardness with the media was further highlighted after 1966, when Playford retired as Opposition Leader and was succeeded by 37-year-old Steele Hall. Hall was not only younger, but considerably more progressive than Playford. A sagging economy and poor polling figures combined with Hall's advent to convince local ALP heavyweights that Labor could not win the next election with Walsh as Premier. Things came to a head in early 1967, when South Australian Labor power-broker Clyde Cameron publicly thanked Walsh for making the noble decision to retire to make way for a younger person. This was news to Walsh, who had made no such decision. After initially digging in his heels, Walsh eventually announced his retirement two weeks later, but not before attempting (without success) to manoeuvre his protégé Des Corcoran into the Premiership ahead of Dunstan.
Dunstan led the ALP into the 1968 election. Although the ALP scored 53.2 percent of the two-party vote, it lost two seats, resulting in a hung parliament with 19 seats for both parties. Independent Tom Stott announced his support for the LCL, installing Hall as premier even though the LCL had only won 46.8 percent of the two party preferred vote. Dunstan spearheaded a public outcry which led Hall to finally scrap the Playmander soon after taking office.
Rural overweighting known as the Playmander resulted in LCL lower house minority and majority governments for decades. Upper house elections since 1941 have held 16 LCL and 4 ALP; voting rights were limited to the wealthier classes; suffrage was dependent on certain property and wage requirements. The electoral districts were drawn to favour regional areas with a 2:1 bias in place.
In the 2006 election, metro Adelaide held 35 metro districts representing 1.1 million people, with 12 rural districts representing 0.4 million people. In the 1965 election, 13 metro districts represented 0.7 million people and 26 rural districts represented 0.4 million people.