South Australian House of Assembly
|House of Assembly|
|House of Assembly Chamber,
Parliament House, Adelaide,
South Australia, Australia
|SA House of Assembly|
The House of Assembly, or lower house, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of South Australia. The other is the Legislative Council. It sits in Parliament House in the state capital, Adelaide.
Following the 2014 election, the lower house consisted of 23 Labor, 22 Liberal and 2 independents, Geoff Brock and Bob Such. Martin Hamilton-Smith became an independent shortly after the election, reducing the Liberals to 21 seats. Both Hamilton-Smith and fellow independent Geoff Brock are in cabinet and provide confidence and supply while retaining the right to vote on conscience. Labor went from minority to majority government when Nat Cook won the 2014 Fisher by-election which was triggered by the death of Bob Such. Despite this, the Jay Weatherill Labor government kept crossbench MPs Brock and Hamilton-Smith in cabinet, giving the government a 26 to 21 parliamentary majority.
The House of Assembly was created in 1857, when South Australia attained self-government. The development of an elected legislature — although only men could vote — marked a significant change from the prior system, where legislative power was in the hands of the Governor and the Legislative Council, which was appointed by the Governor.
In 1894, the House of Assembly granted women the right to vote – the second place in the world to do so after New Zealand in 1893 – and the first to allow women to stand for election.
The House of Assembly has had 47 members since the 1970 election, each coming from a single-member constituency: 34 in the Adelaide area and 13 in rural areas. These are commonly known as seats, and are intended to represent approximately the same population in each electorate. Voting is by preferential voting with complete preference allocation, as with the equivalent federal chamber, the Australian House of Representatives. All members face re-election approximately every four years. The most recent election was held on 15 March 2014.
Most legislation is initiated in the House of Assembly. The party or coalition with a majority of seats in the lower house is invited by the Governor to form government. The leader of that party becomes Premier of South Australia, and their senior colleagues become ministers responsible for various portfolios. As Australian MPs almost always vote along party lines, almost all legislation introduced by the governing party will pass through the House of Assembly.
As with the federal parliament and Australian other states and territories, voting in the Assembly is compulsory for all those over the age of 18. Voting in the House of Assembly had originally been voluntary, but this was changed in 1942.
Election result summaries
Current distribution of seats
|Australian Labor Party||24|
|Liberal Party of Australia||21|
- 24 votes as a majority are required to pass legislation.
- List of elections in South Australia
- List of South Australian state by-elections
- Members of the South Australian House of Assembly
- Parliaments of the Australian states and territories
- South Australian Electoral Districts (for the House of Assembly)