South Australian state election, 1989

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South Australian state election, 1989
South Australia
← 1985 25 November 1989 (1989-11-25) 1993 →

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 John Olsen (1).jpg
Leader John Bannon John Olsen
Party Labor Liberal
Leader since 18 September 1979 10 November 1982
Leader's seat Ross Smith Custance
Last election 27 seats 16 seats
Seats won 22 seats 22 seats
Seat change Decrease5 Increase6
Percentage 48.1% 51.9%
Swing Decrease5.1 Increase5.1

Premier before election

John Bannon

Resulting Premier

John Bannon

State elections were held in South Australia on 25 November 1989. All 47 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Australian Labor Party led by Premier of South Australia John Bannon defeated the Liberal Party of Australia led by Leader of the Opposition John Olsen.

House of Assembly (IRV) — Turnout 94.43% (CV) — Informal 2.83%
Party Votes  % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal Party of Australia 381,834 44.21 +2.05 22 +6
  Australian Labor Party 346,268 40.09 -8.10 22 -5
  Australian Democrats 88,720 10.27 +6.02 0 0
  Independent Labor 13,094 1.52 -0.77 2 0
  Nationals SA 10,217 1.18 -0.54 1 0
  Independents 10,633 1.23 +0.57 0 0
  Other 12,985 1.50 0 0
  Total 863,751     47
  Australian Labor Party WIN 48.10 -5.10 24 -5
  Liberal Party of Australia 51.90 +5.10 23 +5

Independents: Martyn Evans, Norm Peterson (both Independent Labor).


Parliamentary elections for both houses of the Parliament of South Australia were held in South Australia in 1989, which saw John Bannon and the Australian Labor Party win a third successive term and 11 years in government. The John Olsen-led Liberal Party of Australia failed to win office despite gaining 51.9 percent of the two-party vote. Bannon's government had initially presided over an economic boom, but at the time of the election the economy had slowed due to the late 1980s recession. The Liberals' campaign blamed Bannon for the poor economic conditions.

The Liberals gained several seats, but Labor held power with of the support of the two "independent Labor" members.

It was only the second time that a Labor government in South Australia had been re-elected for a third term, however it would be the first eleven-year-incumbent Labor government.

Before the election, the Liberal Party made allegations of a Labor 'gerrymander', due to the perceived unfair state of the electoral boundaries. While Labor had not instituted any type of imbalanced electoral legislation, it had nonetheless not issued a redistribution since 1983. The electoral districts, with the correct 10 percent tolerances at the time, had not been updated, and due to population shifts, had changed beyond the tolerance allowed. Legislation made redistributions mandatory by the Electoral Commission of South Australia after each election, and included a 'fairness clause' where the commission should redraw boundaries with the objective that the party which receives over 50 percent of the statewide two-party vote at the forthcoming election should win the two-party vote in a majority of seats. One element of the Playmander remains to this day − the change from multi-member to single-member seats.

Olsen was replaced as Liberal leader by Dale Baker in 1990. He did not contest an election as leader, resigning the leadership to Dean Brown in 1992.

The 1990 Custance by-election, the 1992 Alexandra by-election and the 1992 Kavel by-election saw the Liberals retain each of the seats.

In the South Australian Legislative Council, the sole balance of power was held unbroken by the Australian Democrats from their inception in mid-1970s, until the late 1990s. Though the Democrats would exceed 16 percent of the vote at the 1997 election, during the following term the Democrats would lose the sole balance of power for the first time, sharing the balance of power with independent members, slowly losing numbers and influence, until they were eventually without parliamentary representation as of the 2010 election.

Post-election Pendulum[edit]

For previous pendulums and maps, see South Australian state elections.
Florey Bob Gregory ALP 1.8%
Unley Kym Mayes ALP 2.3%
Norwood Greg Crafter ALP 2.5%
Todd John Klunder ALP 2.8%
Henley Beach Don Ferguson ALP 4.0%
Mitchell Paul Holloway ALP 4.3%
Hartley Terry Groom ALP 4.5%
Baudin Don Hopgood ALP 5.1%
Fairly safe
Walsh John Trainer ALP 6.3%
Gilles Colin McKee ALP 6.6%
Mawson Susan Lenehan ALP 7.3%
Albert Park Kevin Hamilton ALP 8.1%
Playford John Quirke ALP 9.1%
Peake Vic Heron ALP 10.0%
Whyalla Frank Blevins ALP 10.9%
Briggs Mike Rann ALP 11.8%
Semaphore Norm Peterson IND 12.8% v ALP
Spence Michael Atkinson ALP 14.0%
Ross Smith John Bannon ALP 14.1%
Price Murray De Laine ALP 16.3%
Ramsay Lynn Arnold ALP 16.7%
Elizabeth Martyn Evans IND 17.1% v ALP
Napier Terry Hemmings ALP 17.2%
Stuart Colleen Hutchison ALP 18.0%
Newland Dorothy Kotz LIB 0.1%
Hayward Mark Brindal LIB 0.9%
Bright Wayne Matthew LIB 1.0%
Fisher Bob Such LIB 3.1%
Adelaide Michael Armitage LIB 3.3%
Fairly safe
Hanson Heini Becker LIB 6.1%
Morphett John Oswald LIB 10.0%
Flinders Peter Blacker NAT 10.9% v LIB
Mitcham Stephen Baker LIB 11.0%
Light Bruce Eastick LIB 12.9%
Coles Jennifer Cashmore LIB 13.1%
Heysen David Wotton LIB 15.1%
Kavel Roger Goldsworthy LIB 15.5%
Davenport Stan Evans LIB 15.9%
Alexandra Ted Chapman LIB 16.0%
Goyder John Meier LIB 16.4%
Eyre Graham Gunn LIB 18.6%
Bragg Graham Ingerson LIB 20.0%
Custance John Olsen LIB 20.1%
Chaffey Peter Arnold LIB 20.7%
Mount Gambier Harold Allison LIB 22.5%
Murray-Mallee Peter Lewis LIB 22.6%
Victoria Dale Baker LIB 23.2%

Legislative Council Results[edit]

1989 Legislative Council Result (STV GV)
Party Seats
  Liberal Party of Australia 41.1% 5
  Australian Labor Party 39.7% 5
  Australian Democrats 10.7% 1
  Nationals SA 0.8%
1989-1993 Legislative Council
Party Seats
  Australian Labor Party 10
  Liberal Party of Australia 10
  Australian Democrats 2

See also[edit]


External links[edit]