South Australian state election, 1962

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
South Australian state election, 1962
South Australia
1959 ←
3 March 1962 (1962-03-03) → 1965

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
Leader Thomas Playford Frank Walsh
Party Liberal and Country League Labor
Leader since 5 November 1938 1960
Leader's seat Gumeracha Edwardstown
Last election 20 seats 17 seats
Seats won 20 seats 19 seats
Seat change Steady0 Increase2
Percentage 45.7% 54.3%
Swing Decrease4.6 Increase4.6

Premier before election

Thomas Playford
Liberal and Country League

Resulting Premier

Thomas Playford
Liberal and Country League

State elections were held in Australia on 3 March 1962. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Frank Walsh.

House of Assembly (IRV) — Turnout 93.98% (CV) — Informal 2.46%
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Australian Labor Party 219,790 53.98 +4.63 19 +2
  Liberal and Country League 140,507 34.51 -2.44 18 -2
  Democratic Labor Party 31,543 7.75 +2.09 0 0
  Communist Party of Australia 2,528 0.62 -0.80 0 0
  Independent 12,827 3.15 -2.78 2 0
  Total 407,195     39
  Liberal and Country League WIN 45.70 -4.60 20 0
  Australian Labor Party 54.30 +4.60 19 +2

Independents: Tom Stott, Percy Quirke

  • The LCL did not contest nine seats, Labor did not contest ten seats. The primary vote was counted on seats contested, while the two-party vote was estimated for all seats.


The Playford government, in power since 1938, went into the 1962 elections in a precarious position. At the time the writs were issued, South Australia was dogged by a massive recession. This led observers to think that Labor would finally have a chance at power. Longtime opposition leader Mick O'Halloran had died suddenly in 1960, and Labor was led into the election by former deputy leader Frank Walsh.

The Labor opposition won in excess of 54 percent of the statewide two-party vote, however the LCL retained government with the assistance of the Playmander − an electoral malapportionment that also saw a clear majority of the statewide two-party vote won by Labor while failing to form government in 1944, 1953 and 1968.

Knowing that a statewide campaign was fruitless due to the Playmander that had kept the LCL in power for three decades, Walsh instead decided to target marginal LCL seats. In the election, Labor scored 54.3 percent of the two-party vote to only 45.7 percent for the LCL, a 4.6 percent swing to Labor. In most other states, this would have made Walsh premier with a landslide majority. However, due to the Playmander, the election resulted in a hung parliament. Labor won 19 seats, one seat short of a majority, while the LCL won 18 seats, two seats short of a majority. Even with this to consider, speculation was rampant on election night that Playford's long tenure was finally over.

Labor took the seats of Chaffey and Unley (and later Glenelg and Barossa at the 1965 election). The LCL won only four metropolitan seats – Burnside, Glenelg, Mitcham and Torrens.

However, Playford refused to concede, instead saying he would wait to see how the chamber lined up once the legislature reassembled. Both crossbench independent MPs, Tom Stott and Percy Quirke, held the balance of power. They announced confidence and supply support for an LCL minority government with a bare one-seat parliamentary majority. Stott became Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly following the election, while Quirke joined the LCL and entered the ministry in 1963. Walsh lobbied Governor Edric Bastyan not to reappoint Playford, to no avail.

The furore over the 1962 election illustrated how distorted the Playmander had become. By this time some two-thirds of the state's population resided in and around Adelaide, but they only elected one-third of the members of the legislature − at the 1968 election the rural seat of Frome had 4,500 formal votes, while the metropolitan seat of Enfield had 42,000 formal votes.

Post-election pendulum[edit]

Glenelg Baden Pattinson LCL 3.3%
Flinders Glen Pearson LCL 3.5%
Victoria Leslie Harding LCL 3.7%
Torrens John Coumbe LCL 3.9%
Fairly Safe
Onkaparinga Howard Shannon LCL 6.4%
Burra Percy Quirke IND 6.5% v LCL
Ridley Tom Stott IND 7.3% v LCL
Light John Freebairn LCL 10.9%
Alexandra David Brookman LCL 13.5%
Burnside Joyce Steele LCL 14.2%
Stirling William Jenkins LCL 16.2% v IND
Mitcham Robin Millhouse LCL 18.8%
Gumeracha Thomas Playford LCL 31.1% v DLP
Barossa Condor Laucke LCL 35.9% v COM
Albert Bill Nankivell LCL unopposed
Angas Berthold Teusner LCL unopposed
Eyre George Bockelberg LCL unopposed
Gouger Steele Hall LCL unopposed
Rocky River James Heaslip LCL unopposed
Yorke Peninsula Cecil Hincks LCL unopposed
Chaffey Reg Curren ALP 0.1%
Millicent Des Corcoran ALP 3.3%
Unley Gil Langley ALP 3.6%
Fairly safe
Frome Tom Casey ALP 6.2%
West Torrens Fred Walsh ALP 8.1%
Norwood Don Dunstan ALP 8.8%
Wallaroo Lloyd Hughes ALP 12.9%
Gawler John Clark ALP 16.9%
Mount Gambier Ron Ralston ALP 18.7%
Murray Gabe Bywaters ALP 20.6%
Edwardstown Frank Walsh ALP 21.6% v DLP
Enfield Joe Jennings ALP 27.7% v DLP
Adelaide Sam Lawn ALP 30.3% v DLP
Port Adelaide John Ryan ALP 36.0% v DLP
Whyalla Ron Loveday ALP 37.3% v IND
Stuart Lindsay Riches ALP 38.0% v IND
Port Pirie Dave McKee ALP 40.8% v IND
Hindmarsh Cyril Hutchens ALP unopposed
Semaphore Harold Tapping ALP unopposed

See also[edit]