Leader of the Opposition (South Australia)

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Leader of the Opposition
David Speirs

since 19 April 2022
Term lengthWhile leader of the largest political party not in government
Inaugural holderJohn Colton

The Leader of the Opposition in South Australia is the leader of the largest minority political party or coalition of parties, known as the Opposition, in the House of Assembly of the Parliament of South Australia. By convention, he or she is generally a member of the House of Assembly. He or she acts as the public face of the opposition, and act as a chief critic of the government and ultimately attempt to portray the opposition as a feasible alternate government. They are also given certain additional rights under parliamentary standing orders, such as extended time limits for speeches. Should the opposition win an election, the Leader of the Opposition will be nominated to become the Premier of South Australia.

Before the 1890s when there was no formal party system in South Australia, MPs tended to have historical liberal or conservative beliefs. The liberals dominated government from the 1893 election to 1905 election with Labor support, with the conservatives mostly in opposition. Labor took government with the support of eight dissident liberals in 1905 when Labor won the most seats for the first time. The rise of Labor saw non-Labor politics start to merge into various party incarnations. The two independent conservative parties, the Australasian National League (formerly National Defence League) and the Farmers and Producers Political Union merged with the Liberal and Democratic Union to become the Liberal Union in 1910. Labor formed South Australia's first majority government after winning the 1910 state election, triggering the merger. The 1910 election came two weeks after federal Labor formed Australia's first elected majority government at the 1910 federal election.

In an historical record, Steven Marshall was the fifth consecutive Liberal opposition leader during their 2002 to 2018 opposition period. In comparison, every former Labor opposition leader for over half a century would also proceed to serve as Premier.

List of Leaders of the Opposition in South Australia[edit]

The following is a list of Leaders of the Opposition in South Australia, from 1884 to present. According to the official parliament record, prior to the year 1884 "no definite evidence of the official holder of the office could be found".

No Leader Party Period in office
1 John Colton 1884
2 John Cox Bray 1884
3 John Downer 1885
4 Jenkin Coles 1886
5 Thomas Playford II 1887
- John Downer (2nd time) 1887–1889
6 John Cockburn 1889
- Thomas Playford II (2nd time) 1889–1890
7 Frederick Holder liberalism 1890–1892
- John Downer (3rd time) conservatism 1893–1895
8 William Copley conservatism 1896
- John Downer (4th time) conservatism 1897–1899
9 Vaiben Louis Solomon conservatism 1899
- Frederick Holder (2nd time) liberalism 1899
- Vaiben Louis Solomon (2nd time) conservatism 1899–1901
10 Robert Homburg conservatism 1901–1902
11 John Darling Jr. conservatism 1902–1904
12 Thomas Price United Labor 1904–1905
13 Richard Butler conservatism 1905–1909
14 John Verran United Labor 1909–1910
15 Archibald Peake Liberal Union 1910–1912
- John Verran (2nd time) United Labor 1912–1913
16 Crawford Vaughan United Labor 1913–1915
- Archibald Peake (2nd time) Liberal Union 1915–1917
- Crawford Vaughan (2nd time) National Labor 1917
17 Andrew Kirkpatrick Labor (SA) 1917–1918
18 John Gunn Labor 1918–1924
19 Henry Barwell Liberal Union 1924–1925
20 Richard L. Butler Liberal Federation 1925–1927
21 Lionel Hill Labor 1927–1930
- Richard L. Butler (2nd time) Liberal Federation/LCL 1930–1933
22 Andrew Lacey Labor 1933–1938
23 Robert Richards Labor 1938–1949
24 Mick O'Halloran Labor 1949–1960
25 Frank Walsh Labor 1960–1965
26 Thomas Playford IV LCL 1965–1966
27 Steele Hall LCL 1966–1968
28 Don Dunstan Labor 1968–1970
- Steele Hall (2nd time) LCL 1970–1972
29 Bruce Eastick LCL/Liberal (SA) 1972–1975
30 David Tonkin Liberal 1975–1979
31 Des Corcoran Labor 1979
32 John Bannon Labor 1979–1982
33 John Olsen Liberal 1982–1990
34 Dale Baker Liberal 1990–1992
35 Dean Brown Liberal 1992–1993
36 Lynn Arnold Labor 1993–1994
37 Mike Rann Labor 1994–2002
38 Rob Kerin Liberal 2002–2006
39 Iain Evans Liberal 2006–2007
40 Martin Hamilton-Smith Liberal 2007–2009
41 Isobel Redmond Liberal 2009–2013
42 Steven Marshall Liberal 2013–2018
43 Peter Malinauskas Labor 2018–2022
44 David Speirs Liberal 2022–present

See also[edit]