South Australian state election, 1993

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South Australian state election, 1993
South Australia
← 1989 11 December 1993 (1993-12-11) 1997 →

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
  Liberal placeholder.png Labor placeholder-01.png
Leader Dean Brown Lynn Arnold
Party Liberal Labor
Leader since 11 May 1992 4 September 1992
Leader's seat Finniss Taylor
Last election 22 seats 22 seats
Seats won 37 seats 10 seats
Seat change Increase15 Decrease12
Percentage 61.0% 39.0%
Swing Increase9.1 Decrease9.1

Premier before election

Lynn Arnold

Elected Premier

Dean Brown

State elections were held in South Australia on 11 December 1993. 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 Lynn Arnold was defeated by the Liberal Party of Australia led by Leader of the Opposition Dean Brown. The Liberals won what is still the largest majority government in South Australian history.

House of Assembly (IRV) — Turnout 93.57% (CV) — Informal 3.10%
Party Votes  % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal Party of Australia 481,623 52.80 +8.60 37 +15
  Australian Labor Party 277,038 30.37 -9.72 10 -12
  Australian Democrats 82,942 9.09 -1.18 0 0
  Nationals SA 10,157 1.11 -0.07 0 -1
  Independent Labor 6,225 0.68 -0.83 0 -2
  Independents 28,498 3.12 +1.89 0 0
  Other 25,612 2.81 0 0
  Total 912,095     47
  Liberal Party of Australia WIN 61.00 +9.10 37 +14
  Australian Labor Party 39.00 -9.10 10 -14


The campaign was dominated by the issue of the collapse of the State Bank of South Australia in 1992. The State Bank's deposits were legally underwritten by the Government of South Australia, putting South Australia into billions of dollars of debt. Labor premier John Bannon had resigned over the issue, being replaced by Lynn Arnold just over a year before the election. Following the leadership change and by early 1993, Newspoll had recorded a total rise of 13 percent in the Labor primary vote.[1] However, the gains did not last. A warning sign of things to come came with the March 1993 federal election, which saw two of Labor's longest-held seats in South Australia, Hindmarsh and Grey, fall to the Liberals. Hindmarsh had been in Labor hands without interruption since 1919, while Grey had been in Labor hands for all but one term since 1943.

The Liberals under Dean Brown went into the election as unbackable favourites, and swept the 11-year Labor government from power in a massive landslide. They won 37 of 47 seats (78.7 percent of the available seats) in the South Australian House of Assembly from a 15-seat swing − in terms of seat count and percentage of seats won, the largest majority government in the state's history. The 15-seat swing is still the largest in South Australian state history. Adelaide, which had been Labor's power base in the state for decades, swung over dramatically to support the Liberals. Labor lost seats in several parts of Adelaide where it had not been seriously threatened in memory, and was cut down to only nine seats in the capital. Additionally, Labor suffered what proved to be permanent swings in much of country South Australia; it was cut down to only one seat outside of Adelaide, the Whyalla-based seat of Giles.

The Liberals won 61 percent of the two-party vote, the largest two-party preferred vote in South Australian state history (dating back to the first statewide two-party calculations from 1944). Labor fell to just 39 percent of the two-party vote from a two-party swing of 9.1 percent—at the time, the largest two-party swing in South Australian state history, and still the largest that resulted in a change of government.

Still, the Liberals were left one short of a majority in the South Australian Legislative Council with the balance of power remaining with the Australian Democrats, who had held sole balance of power since 1985. They would continue to hold the balance of power until after the 1997 election.

The stratospheric records for seat count and percentage of seats in the House led to predictions of a generation of Liberal government. However, the Liberal gains were short lived. Brown's factional rival, John Olsen, successfully challenged Brown for the Liberal leadership in 1996. In turn, the Liberals were reduced to a minority government as a result of the 1997 election, following another record two-party swing in the other direction of 9.5 percent.

A 1994 Torrens by-election saw Labor take the seat from the Liberals. The 1994 Elizabeth by-election and 1994 Taylor by-election saw Labor retain both seats.

Post-election pendulum[edit]

Lee Joe Rossi LIB 1.1%
Hanson Stewart Leggett LIB 1.2%
Reynell Julie Greig LIB 1.2%
Kaurna Lorraine Rosenberg LIB 2.8%
Elder David Wade LIB 3.4%
Wright Scott Ashenden LIB 4.0%
Peake Heini Becker LIB 5.6%
Frome Rob Kerin LIB 5.7%
Fairly safe
Chaffey Kent Andrew LIB 6.3% vs NAT
Eyre Graham Gunn LIB 6.5%
Torrens Joe Tiernan LIB 6.5%
Norwood John Cummins LIB 7.4%
Flinders Liz Penfold LIB 7.8% vs NAT
Mitchell Colin Caudell LIB 9.4%
Mawson Robert Brokenshire LIB 9.6%
Davenport Iain Evans LIB 10.2% vs AD
Florey Sam Bass LIB 10.4%
Colton Steve Condous LIB 10.5%
Unley Mark Brindal LIB 11.5%
Hartley Joe Scalzi LIB 13.2%
Adelaide Michael Armitage LIB 14.1%
Coles Joan Hall LIB 15.9%
Light Malcolm Buckby LIB 16.4%
Newland Dorothy Kotz LIB 17.4%
Bright Wayne Matthew LIB 19.0%
Fisher Bob Such LIB 20.7%
Morphett John Oswald LIB 21.9%
Gordon Harold Allison LIB 22.2%
Goyder John Meier LIB 23.3%
Waite Stephen Baker LIB 23.3% vs AD
Kavel John Olsen LIB 24.3%
Finniss Dean Brown LIB 24.4%
Heysen David Wotton LIB 24.5%
Custance Ivan Venning LIB 24.5%
Ridley Peter Lewis LIB 25.1%
MacKillop Dale Baker LIB 27.7%
Bragg Graham Ingerson LIB 28.7%
Napier Annette Hurley ALP 1.1%
Ross Smith Ralph Clarke ALP 2.1%
Giles Frank Blevins ALP 2.4%
Playford John Quirke ALP 2.7%
Fairly safe
Elizabeth Martyn Evans ALP 7.6%
Spence Michael Atkinson ALP 7.7%
Taylor Lynn Arnold ALP 8.0%
Hart Kevin Foley ALP 8.5%
Ramsay Mike Rann ALP 9.9%
Price Murray De Laine ALP 11.0%
Metro SA: ALP in red, Liberal in blue. These boundaries are based on the 2006 electoral redistribution.
Rural SA: ALP in red, Liberal in blue. These boundaries are based on the 2006 electoral redistribution.

Legislative Council results[edit]

1993 Legislative Council result (STV GV)
Party Seats
  Liberal Party of Australia 51.8% 6
  Australian Labor Party 27.4% 4
  Australian Democrats 8.0% 1
  SA Greens 1.7%
  Nationals SA 0.7%
1993-1997 Legislative Council
Party Seats
  Liberal Party of Australia 11
  Australian Labor Party 9
  Australian Democrats 2

In the Legislative Council, Liberal won 6 seats, Labor 4, and the Australian Democrats 1. This left the total upper house numbers at Liberals 11, Labor 9, Democrats 2.

See also[edit]



Political Parties