South Australian state election, 1944

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South Australian state election, 1944
South Australia
1941 ←
29 April 1944 (1944-04-29) → 1947

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 Robert Richards (Australia).gif
Leader Thomas Playford Robert Richards
Party Liberal and Country League Labor
Leader since 5 November 1938 1938
Leader's seat Gumeracha Wallaroo
Last election 20 seats 11 seats
Seats won 20 seats 16 seats
Seat change Steady0 Increase5
Percentage 46.7% 53.3%

Premier before election

Thomas Playford
Liberal and Country League

Elected Premier

Thomas Playford
Liberal and Country League

State elections were held in Australia on 29 April 1944. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League government led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the opposition Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Robert Richards.

House of Assembly (IRV) — Turnout 88.53% (CV) — Informal 3.22%
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal and Country League 113,536 45.84 +8.29 20 0
  Australian Labor Party 105,298 42.52 +9.27 16 +5
  Communist Party of Australia 5,136 2.07 * 0 *
  Independent 16,439 6.64 -17.97 3 -2
  Independent Labor 5,587 2.26 -0.76 0 -2
  Independent LCL 1,658 0.67 -0.91 0 -1
  Total 247,654     39
  Liberal and Country League WIN 46.70 * 20 0
  Australian Labor Party 53.30 * 16 +5
  • The primary vote was counted on seats contested, while the two-party vote was estimated for all seats.


Labor won an additional five seats totaling 16 seats − the highest number of seats won by Labor from the 1933 election through to the 1959 election, an effort not even outdone at the 1953 election where Labor won 53 percent of the state-wide two-party vote but the LCL retained government with the assistance of the Playmander.

Unusually a wartime opposition won a clear majority of the two-party vote.

Turnout crashed to 50 percent at the 1941 election, triggering the government to institute compulsory voting from this election.

Notably the Communist Party of Australia in South Australia recorded their highest vote at this election − 19.4 percent (2,500 votes) for candidate Alf Watt in the seat of Adelaide. The party contested one other seat at the election, Prospect, on 15.7 percent. The party only contested a select few seats at each election, the first at the 1930 election and the last at the 1977 election.

See also[edit]