South Australian state election, 1982

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South Australian state election, 1982
South Australia
1979 ←
6 November 1982 (1982-11-06)
→ 1985

All 47 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly
24 seats were needed for a majority
11 (of the 22) seats in the South Australian Legislative Council
  First party Second party
John Bannon.jpg
No image.svg
Leader John Bannon David Tonkin
Party Labor Liberal
Leader since 18 September 1979 1975
Leader's seat Ross Smith Bragg
Last election 19 seats 25 seats
Seats won 24 seats 21 seats
Seat change Increase5 Decrease4
Percentage 50.9% 49.1%
Swing Increase5.9 Decrease5.9

Premier before election

David Tonkin

Elected Premier

John Bannon

State elections were held in Australia on 6 November 1982. All 47 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Premier of South Australia David Tonkin was defeated by the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition John Bannon.

House of Assembly (IRV) — Turnout 93.18% (CV) — Informal 5.78%
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Australian Labor Party 353,999 46.28 +5.43 24 +5
  Liberal Party of Australia 326,372 42.67 -5.27 21 -4
  Australian Democrats 54,457 7.12 -1.18 0 -1
  Nationals SA 17,782 2.32 +0.42 1 0
  Independent 12,252 1.60 +0.60 1 0
  Other 0 0.00 0 0
  Total 764,862     47
  Australian Labor Party WIN 50.90 +5.90 25 +5
  Liberal Party of Australia 49.10 -5.90 22 -5

Independent: Norm Peterson


Parliamentary elections for both houses of the Parliament of South Australia were held in South Australia in 1982, which saw John Bannon and the Australian Labor Party defeat the incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by David Tonkin, after one term in power.

As Premier, Tonkin combined fiscal conservatism with socially progressive reforms. In the former, Tonkin made significant cuts to the public service, earning him the enmity of the unions, while an example of the latter was the passage of the land rights bill and the return to the Pitjantjatjara people of 10 per cent of South Australia's area.

Prior to the election, Tonkin removed Robin Millhouse (a former Liberal member who had defected to the Liberal Movement and then the Australian Democrats, and whose popularity enabled him to hold his seat of Waite) with an offer of a vacant seat in the Supreme Court [1]. However the subsequent by-election saw the seat retained by Democrats candidate Heather Southcott, although the Liberals claimed the seat at the 1982 general election.

One potential election factor was the copper and uranium mine at Olympic Dam, near Roxby Downs. Enabling legislation had been passed earlier in 1982, despite the opposition of the Labor Party. In what was a controverisal move in Labor circles, Bannon defused this as an election issue by promising that development would go ahead under a Labor government (a commitment which was honoured), despite having previously opposed it.

The Liberals' chances were not made easier by the poor economic conditions prevalent in Australia in 1982.

After the election loss, Tonkin resigned as Liberal leader and was succeeded by John Olsen, who won a leadership ballot against Dean Brown. A heart complaint caused Tonkin to leave parliament soon after at which a 1983 Bragg by-election was triggered, the Liberals easily retained the seat.

A 1984 Elizabeth by-election saw Independent Labor candidate Martyn Evans win the seat.

Legislative Council Results[edit]

1982 Legislative Council Result (STV)
Party Seats
  Australian Labor Party 47.0% 5
  Liberal Party of Australia 42.1% 5
  Australian Democrats 5.5% 1
  Nationals SA 2.0%
1982-1985 Legislative Council
Party Seats
  Liberal Party of Australia 11
  Australian Labor Party 9
  Australian Democrats 2

See also[edit]