|State election major party leaders|
|Government of South Australia 2002 2006 next|
Parliament: 21 years
Leader since: 1994
Parliament: 13 years
Leader since: 2001
|Australian Labor Party||424,715||45.22||+8.88||28||+5|
|Liberal Party of Australia||319,041||33.97||−6.00||15||−5|
|Family First Party||55,192||5.88||+3.24||0||0|
|Australian Labor Party||WIN||56.80||+7.70||32||+8|
|Liberal Party of Australia||43.20||−7.70||15||−8|
In the 22-member Legislative Council (upper house), both major parties finished with a total of eight seats each, with Labor winning four and the Liberals winning three. No Pokies independent Nick Xenophon polled 20.5 percent, an unprecedented result for an independent or minor party which resulted in both Xenophon and his running mate, Ann Bressington being elected. Xenophon's third running mate, John Darley, was appointed to the vacancy created by Xenophon's later resignation. Family First had a second member elected, the Democrats vote collapsed leaving one remaining member, and the SA Greens won a seat for the first time.
South Australia is governed according to the principles of the Westminister system, a form of parliamentary government based on the model of the United Kingdom. Legislative power rests with the Parliament of South Australia, which consists of The Sovereign (represented by the Governor of South Australia), the House of Assembly (lower house) which forms government, and the Legislative Council (upper house) as a house of review. Forty-seven members of the lower house represent single-member electorates and are elected under the preferential Instant-runoff voting (IRV) system for fixed four-year terms. The independent State Electoral Office, which conducts elections, is responsible for a mandatory redistricting of boundaries before each election to ensure one vote one value. At each election, voters choose half of the 22 upper house members, each of whom serve eight-year terms in a single statewide electorate.
The Legislative Council is elected under the preferential Single Transferable Vote (STV) system through a means of Group voting tickets. Voters can choose to vote for a ticket by placing the number '1' in one of the ticket boxes "above the line" or can vote for individual candidates by numbering all the boxes "below the line" (54 in the 2006 election). In above the line voting, ticket votes are distributed according to the party or group voting ticket registered before the election with the election management body. As most ballot papers are above the line, this form of voting often leads to pre-election trading between parties on how each party will allocate later preferences to other parties and candidates.
Voting is compulsory once enrolled in South Australian elections, which results in turnout rates above 90 percent. Informal voting, which occurs when a voting slip is not valid, is at a rate of under five percent. Voting slips are informal when they are not filled out correctly, such examples are not numbering subsequent numbers, not filling out all the candidate boxes with numbers (except the last candidate), or in some other way that is verified by the State Electoral Office as illegible. South Australian elections have some features that are unique to the rest of Australia.
As elections have fixed four-year terms, the election date of 18 March 2006 was known well ahead of time. The Electoral Act stipulates that the election is to be held on the third Saturday in March every four years. The election campaign must run for a minimum of 25 days or a maximum of 55 days, therefore the Governor would have needed to issue writs for the election by 21 February 2006 at the latest. On 20 February, Premier Mike Rann invited Governor Marjorie Jackson-Nelson to issue writs for the election. In accordance with electoral regulations, the Electoral Commissioner then advertised key dates for the election of the House of Assembly and half of the Legislative Council — close of rolls on 27 February 2006 at noon, nominations to be received by 2 March 2006 at noon, polling day on 18 March 2006, and the return of writs on or before 28 April 2006.
Another facet of the Labor campaign was extensive negative campaigning against Liberal leader Rob Kerin, including an advertisement featuring an excerpt of an interview that Kerin had with FIVEaa presenter Keith Conlon where Conlon asked Kerin why he wanted to be leader of the Liberal Party. Kerin stammered for a few seconds and gave the impression that he was uncertain. The advertisement concluded with the question, "Does Rob Want The Job?". Conlon complained that the advertisement gave the false impression that he was endorsing Labor, but Labor campaign director David Feeney dismissed his concerns. Other negative advertisements run by Labor revolved around the actions of the previous Liberal government — one advertisement and leaflet reminded voters that while in power, the previous Liberal government closed 65 schools, closed hospital wards, and privatised the Electricity Trust of South Australia.
Considered "strapped for cash", the Liberal Party ran a very limited television and radio campaign. Businessman Robert Gerard was forced to resign from his Federal Liberal Party-appointed position on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia due to the party appointing him to the position despite the known fact that he had outstanding tax avoidance issues being dealt with by the Australian Taxation Office, and had thus subsequently pulled out of his traditional role of bankrolling the state division of the party, leaving the party with "only enough funds for the most basic campaign". Kerin indicated people would have to "wait and see" if there would be any campaign, even asking trade unions for donations, no matter how small. The advertisements that did run argued that Labor was wasting record tax receipts from the GST. A number of embarrassments for the Liberal Party surrounded their television advertisement — in an early version released to journalists, Labor was spelt "Labour" (Labor cabinet minister King O'Malley dropped the 'u' in 1912 to "modernise" it as per American English) and the advertisement alleged that South Australia's hospital waiting lists were the worst in the nation, which Labor successfully disputed to the Electoral Commissioner. During the election campaign, David Pisoni, the Liberal candidate for Unley, made allegations in his advertising that Labor and the Labor candidate Michael Keenan supported controversial urban infill programmes, which Labor flatly denied. Electoral Commissioner Kay Mousley investigated and ordered that the advertisements be withdrawn and corrections be run at Pisoni's expense.
The Labor minority government sought to win a majority in the House of Assembly. Opinion polls indicated that this was likely and ABC elections expert Antony Green said that the "Labor government looks set to be returned with an increased majority". Centrebet had Labor at $1.01 AUD and the Liberals at $12.00 AUD for a majority government.
Most commentators agreed that the Liberal Party had little chance of winning government, and that Kerin would step down from the leadership after the election, a suspicion confirmed in Kerin's concession speech. Martin Hamilton-Smith was considering mounting a leadership challenge, however, he withdrew on 14 October 2005 (probably for the sake of the impression of party unity) and subsequently resigned or was pushed from the opposition frontbench.
One of the most publicised issues prior to the election was the tram extension from Victoria Square to the Adelaide Railway Station which the Liberals, despite having proposed the idea in their previous transport plan, now opposed. Construction began in April 2007 and was operational as of October 2007. The Adelaide Airport expansion suffered fuel delivery related delays that Labor was criticised for. Continued delays by Labor to improve the safety of the Britannia roundabout were focused on by the Norwood Liberal candidate. Land and payroll tax cuts worth $1.5 billion were announced by Labor, the largest in the state's history. The tax cuts coincided with South Australia achieving an economic "Triple A" rating under the current Labor government.
The construction of two bridges over Port River as part of the Port Expressway project had come under criticism, which the Government promised would be open-span to allow passage of tugboats and tall ships, thereby preserving the inner harbour's dwindling port functions. Despite criticism coming from the electorate, the media, federal Labor, and road organisations including the RAA, The Advertiser revealed details of "the biggest project of its kind in South Australia's history", a $1.5 billion redevelopment on the western bank of the inner harbour. The development will include 2000 new homes on government-owned land and new buildings as high as 12 storeys. This followed the awarding of a $6 billion air warfare destroyer contract to the Australian Submarine Corporation, based in the electorate at Osborne.
The future of the River Murray has come under threat due to falling water levels, and in an unprecedented move, Nationals MP Karlene Maywald was given a cabinet position as Minister for the River Murray in 2004. Possible nuclear waste dumps were of concern to many Adelaide residents; Premier Rann successfully lobbied against any federal government proposals.
Law and order was another key issue, with Labor promising extra police. Tough drink and drug driving laws had also been introduced which included zero tolerance roadside testing for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Methamphetamine, and later Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Labor introduced speed limit reduction legislation which took effect in March 2003 which saw non-arterial non-main roads and most Adelaide CBD roads reduce from 60km/h to 50km/h. The Liberals proposed to increase the speed limit back to 60km/h for several roads, concentrated mainly around the Adelaide Park Lands.
Allegations were made over the condition of the state's health system and the capacity to deal with mental health issues. Labor pledged to buy back Modbury Hospital located in the district of Florey, privatised under the Liberal government to alleviate the effect of the State Bank collapse.
The need for homosexual law reform was acknowledged by both major parties; however, there was disquiet within the Labor Party over delays. December 2006 saw the Domestic Partners bill pass which provides greater recognition to same sex relationships on a range of issues such as superannuation. The bill was supported by all parties after much negotiation, but in the end was voted against by both members of Family First, as well as Liberal Terry Stephens.
Electoral reform policies received little attention, as has the 2010 referendum proposed by the Rann Government to abolish or reform the Legislative Council. WorkCover underfunded liability increases have also received little attention, despite the fact that the liability has climbed from a disputed $67 to $85 million to $700 million since Labor came in to government in 2002 due to a more generous compensation scheme. Labor have since looked in to reform for the scheme including cutting payments to injured workers.
|Jan – Mar 2007||64%||*14%|
|Oct – Dec 2006||61%||*14%|
|15–16 Mar 2006||63%||21%|
|Jan – Feb 2006||59%||19%|
|Oct – Dec 2005||60%||16%|
|Jul – Sep 2005||60%||16%|
|Apr – Jun 2005||60%||17%|
|Jan – Mar 2005||61%||15%|
|Pre 2002 election||30%||50%|
|Source: Newspoll/The Australian|
^ Remainder were "uncommitted"
to either leader. *Iain Evans
|Political parties||Two party preferred|
|March 2006 ¹||50.5%||30.5%||2%||2%||8%||0.5%||6.5%||61.5%||38.5%|
|February 2006 ²||50.5%||31.5%||5%||3.5%||4%||0%||5.5%||61.5%||38.5%|
|Source: Roy Morgan Research - ¹ Post-election announcement - ² Pre-election announcement|
|Political parties||Two party preferred|
|Jan – Mar 2007||48%||29%||1%||4%||2%||6%||0%||10%||61%||39%|
|Oct – Dec 2006||47%||33%||1%||2%||3%||4%||0%||10%||58%||42%|
|15–16 Mar 2006||46%||33%||1.5%||1.5%||3%||4%||0%||11%||57%||43%|
|Jan – Feb 2006||44%||37%||2%||2%||2%||3%||0%||10%||54%||46%|
|Oct – Dec 2005||46%||35%||2%||1%||2%||4%||0%||10%||56%||44%|
|Jul – Sep 2005||45%||38%||2%||1%||1%||4%||0%||10%||54%||46%|
|Source: Newspoll/The Australian|
2006 House of Assembly Results
|Informal Votes||35,029||Informal %||3.6||+0.5|
|Party||First Preference||%||Change %||Seats||Change|
|Australian Labor Party||424,715||45.2||+8.9||28||+5|
|Liberal Party of Australia||319,041||34.0||−6.0||15||−5|
|Family First Party||55,192||5.9||+3.3||0||0|
|Dignity for Disabled||3,974||0.4||+0.4||0||0|
|One Nation Party||2,591||0.3||−2.1||0||0|
|Australian Labor Party||533,290||56.8||+7.7||32||+8|
|Liberal Party of Australia||405,871||43.2||−7.7||15||−8|
The final results for the House of Assembly seats were 28 Labor, 15 Liberal, three independents and one National. First preference and two party preferred statistics for each district are available through the South Australian House of Assembly electoral districts article.
Labor won six of eight key seats, the Liberals one of three key seats. Labor's wins included the previously marginal Liberal seats of Hartley, Light, Morialta, Mawson, Bright and Newland. The Liberals regained Peter Lewis' seat of Hammond.
National Karlene Maywald and Independents Bob Such, Rory McEwen and Kris Hanna were all re-elected. Hanna was elected at the 2002 election as a Labor candidate; this counted as a loss for Labor, giving Labor a net gain of five seats.
Labor, the Liberals and the Greens ran in all 47 seats, the Democrats ran in all but Giles which resulted in a contested seat vote of three percent, Family First ran in all but Ramsay and Croydon with a contested seat vote of 6.1 percent, with the Nationals running in Chaffey, Flinders, Finniss, and MacKillop, with a subsequent contested seat vote of 24.8 percent. Dignity for Disabled ran in ten seats, No Rodeo in seven seats, and One Nation in six seats.
The other outer suburbs district that fell to Labor was Bright, which was held since 1989 by former Liberal energy minister Wayne Matthew. Matthew decided to retire at this election; subsequently the seat was contested for the Liberals by Legislative Council member Angus Redford. Redford faced a tougher fight than expected and was defeated by Labor candidate Chloe Fox who received a huge 14.4 percent swing on a two party preferred basis, the largest in the state.
The inner southern suburbs district of Unley was won in 2002 by outspoken Liberal Mark Brindal who failed to win Liberal preselection for the seat in the lead up to the 2006 election and attempted to gain backing to contest the marginal Labor seat of Adelaide, but was shrouded in a controversy concerning a sexual relationship that Brindal had with a mentally ill man. The Liberal candidate was businessman David Pisoni, while the Labor candidate was Unley Mayor Michael Keenan, who received a 7.9 percent two party preferred swing, narrowly missing out on picking up the seat by 1.1 percent.
The inner north eastern suburbs district of Hartley had been won by Joe Scalzi in 1993 and held by a very narrow margin in each election since. The district has a very high proportion of Italian migrants and the ability to speak Italian is considered by many commentators as vital to win the seat and was a factor in Labor's preselection of political staffer Grace Portolesi. Portolesi defeated Scalzi with a 5.9 percent two party preferred swing.
The neighbouring district of Morialta was held before this election by former Liberal Tourism Minister Joan Hall since 1993. She was defeated by Labor candidate Lindsay Simmons. Simmons received a 12 percent two party preferred swing, with Labor winning the seat for the first time since 1975.
In the outer north-east, the district of Newland had been won by Liberal Dorothy Kotz since 1989, but after her decision to retire, the Liberal Party preselected police officer and local councillor Mark Osterstock. He was defeated by Labor candidate Tom Kenyon, who won the seat with a 12.5 percent two party preferred swing.
In Light, which contains Gawler and the outer northern suburbs, was recontested by sitting Liberal member and former Education Minister Malcolm Buckby. He was defeated by Labor candidate and Gawler Mayor Tony Piccolo, who received a 4.9 percent two party preferred swing. This seat fell to Labor for the first time since 1944.
The rural and outback district of Stuart was first won in 1997 by Liberal Graham Gunn, a former Speaker and Australia's longest currently serving parliamentarian (the longest being Billy Hughes at 51 years). As in 2002, he was challenged by Labor ministerial adviser Justin Jarvis. Unlike the Adelaide metropolitan area and the neighbouring seat of Giles, there was only a small swing of 0.7 percent to Labor, subsequently Gunn managed to hang on with a margin of 0.6 percent.
The inner eastern suburbs district of Norwood, held for Labor by former Norwood mayor Vini Ciccarello, was expected to be a tough contest, particularly after the Liberal preselection of former Adelaide Crows footballer Nigel Smart. Ciccarello retained the seat picking up a 3.7 percent swing on the two party preferred vote.
The other Labor seat considered under possible threat was the neighbouring inner city district of Adelaide where high profile Education Minister and former Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith was challenged by Liberal Diana Carroll. Lomax-Smith comprehensively defeated Carroll with a 9.2 percent swing to Labor on the two-party preferred vote.
The southern suburbs district of Mitchell was won at the 2002 election by Kris Hanna, who was a Labor member. After the election, Hanna left Labor to join the Greens and subsequently left the Greens to become an independent on 8 February 2006. Hanna faced a tough contest to hold his seat against a challenge by Labor's Rosemary Clancy. Despite expectations before the election of a safe Labor win, Hanna defeated the Labor candidate by 0.6 percent of the vote with the aid of Liberal preferences.
The district of Fisher, located in Adelaide's south, was held by independent MP Dr Bob Such. Late in the campaign, there was some speculation that Fisher may have been a closer contest than commentators initially expected, but Such comfortably defeated both Labor candidate Amanda Rishworth and Liberal candidate Andy Minnis with an independent candidate election best 45.2 percent of the primary vote, picking up a 4.6 percent two party preferred swing. The election outcome saw Such facing the Labor candidate on the two party preferred vote as opposed to the Liberal candidate in 2002.
The Riverland based district of Chaffey is the only seat in South Australia held by a Nationals SA member. River Murray Minister Karlene Maywald won comfortably against a challenge by Liberal Anna Baric. Maywald received a 3.2 percent swing on the two party preferred vote.
The Murray Bridge based district of Hammond was won in 2002 by independent MP Peter Lewis who cut a deal after the 2002 election which delivered government to Labor. Facing almost certain defeat in Hammond, he declined to recontest the district and failed in his attempt to win a seat in the Legislative Council.
Hammond was won comfortably by Liberal Adrian Pederick.
The district of Mount Gambier (which also includes much of South Australia's south east) was a close contest between independent and Agriculture Minister Rory McEwen and Liberal Peter Gandolfi. McEwen prevailed despite a 20.4 percent swing against him on the two party preferred vote.
|LABOR SEATS (32)|
|Mitchell||Kris Hanna||IND||0.6% v ALP|
|Mt Gambier||Rory McEwen||IND||6.2% v LIB|
|Fisher||Bob Such||IND||16.7% v ALP|
|Little Para||Lea Stevens||ALP||16.7%|
|Chaffey||Karlene Maywald||NAT||17.2% v LIB|
|West Torrens||Tom Koutsantonis||ALP||18.3%|
|Port Adelaide||Kevin Foley||ALP||25.7%|
|LIBERAL SEATS (15)|
|Flinders||Liz Penfold||LIB||10.1% v NAT|
2006 Legislative Council Results
|Informal Votes||50,789||Informal %||5.2||−0.2|
|Party||First Preference||%||Change %||Seats Won (qta)||Seats Held|
|Australian Labor Party||340,632||36.6||+3.7||4 (4.39)||8|
|Liberal Party of Australia||241,740||26.0||−14.1||3 (3.12)||8|
|No Pokies||190,958||20.5||+19.2||2 (2.46)||2|
|Family First Party||46,328||5.0||+1.0||1 (0.60)||2|
|SA Greens||39,852||4.3||+1.5||1 (0.51)||1|
|One Nation Party||7,559||0.8||−1.0||0||0|
|HEMP Legalise Marijuana||6,617||0.7||−0.2||0||0|
|Dignity for Disabled||5,615||0.6||+0.6||0||0|
|Ban Live Animal Exports||2,754||0.3||+0.3||0||0|
|No Battery Hens||2,334||0.3||+0.3||0||0|
|Stormy Summers Reform Party||2,106||0.2||+0.0||0||0|
Labor received a 3.7 percent swing, electing four councillors as in the previous election. Carmel Zollo, Bob Sneath, Russell Wortley and Ian Hunter were all elected, with 4.39 quotas Bob Sneath was elected president of the Legislative Council.
On the other hand, the Liberal vote collapsed with a 14.1 percent swing against the Liberal Party. Having received five councillors in 2002, at this election the Liberal Party had just three councillors elected. Rob Lucas, John Dawkins and Michelle Lensink were elected on 3.12 quotas.
Before the election, No Pokies member Nick Xenophon was popular with the media and in opinion polls, but he faced a tough campaign as a result of both major parties preferencing in favour of other independents and the minor parties. No Pokies received 20.5 percent of the vote, yielding 2.46 quotas, which translated into seats for both Xenophon and his running mate Ann Bressington. Having been elected at the 1997 election with 2.9 percent of the vote and other independent candidates at the 2002 election on 1.3 percent of the vote (Xenophon being a sitting member at that election), the No Pokies ticket received a swing of 19.2 percent.
The Family First Party's first member, Andrew Evans MLC, was elected in 2002. Family First won 5 percent of the upper house vote with only a small swing of 0.98 percent, with candidate Dennis Hood being elected on preferences.
The SA Greens won 4.3 percent of the upper house vote meaning a swing of 1.5 percent, narrowly securing Mark Parnell for the last upper house seat on preferences. This is the first time The Greens have won a seat in South Australia. Having secured second spot on the ticket at this election, Sarah Hanson-Young was successful in gaining the first spot on the ticket at the 2007 federal election, which saw the Greens secure their first federal upper house seat in South Australia.
The Australian Democrats fell to just one seat in the Legislative Council held by Sandra Kanck, after Kate Reynolds was defeated in her bid for re-election after being appointed in 2003. The Democrats gained only 1.8 percent of the upper house vote after a 5.5 percent swing against them. Kanck has since announced that she will not recontest her seat at the next election, placing serious clouds over the future of the party in the state.
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party gained 0.8 percent of the upper house vote and won none of the six lower house seats they contested. Their highest vote was 4.1 percent in the district of Hammond, followed by 2.7 percent in Goyder, and the other four hovering around 1 percent.
Dignity for Disabled ran for the first time and won 0.6 percent of the upper house vote; they won none of the 10 lower house seats they contested. Their best results were Wright as well as Bright, with 2.4 percent in each (506 and 492 votes respectively).
Previously unknown quantity Ann Bressington, elected on the back of Nick Xenophon's No Pokies popularity, has proposed mainly conservative policies such as raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21, zero tolerance of illicit drugs, mandatory twice-annual drug tests of every South Australian school student over the age of 14 regardless of whether parents give their consent, and making the sale of "drug-taking equipment" illegal. However, she remains undecided on voluntary euthanasia, calling it "a personal struggle".
Setting a precedent, Sandra Kanck's pro-euthanasia speech which contained suicide methods was censored from the internet version of Hansard in August 2006 as a result of an upper house motion, with Labor, Family First, Nick Xenophon and Ann Bressington voting for, and the Liberals and SA Greens member Mark Parnell voting against. Despite this, the speech was published on a non-Australian website.
The state's budget was released on 21 September 2006. It included 1,600 public service job axings despite an election pledge of only 400, however none of the redundancies will be forced. It also included increases in some fees and charges such as victims of crime levies and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) charges. There were increases in funding for health, schools, police and prisons, and the Department of Public Prosecutions. The 2007–2008 budget released on 13 June 2007 saw additional spending on Transport, Energy and Infrastructure, Health, Families and Communities, and Justice portfolios such as transport initiatives including revitalisation of the rail network, commencement of the $1.7 billion Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Hospital to replace the Royal Adelaide Hospital, funding for mental health reform including the delivery of health services, and funding for new commitments to law and order policies.
No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon resigned from parliament in early October 2007 in a successful attempt to win a seat in the Australian Senate at the 2007 federal election, which according to the South Australian result, he retained 72 percent of his 2006 vote, on 14.78 percent. His replacement is his third candidate on the 2006 ticket, former Valuer-General John Darley, and was appointed by a joint sitting on 21 November 2007, where second candidate and upper house MP Ann Bressington also took the opportunity to slam Nick Xenophon, accusing him of lacking integrity and suitability for federal parliament. Xenophon was successful in being elected.
A record-breaking 13-hour Parnell-Bressington filibuster occurred in May 2008 in crossbench opposition to WorkCover cuts being passed by the major parties due to the increasing underfunded liability in the workers' compensation scheme.