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The 2022 South Australian state election was held on 19 March 2022 to elect members to the 55th Parliament of South Australia. All 47 seats in the House of Assembly (the lower house, whose members were elected at the 2018 election), and half the seats in the Legislative Council (the upper house, last filled at the 2014 election) were up for re-election.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The one-term incumbent minority Liberal government, led by Premier Steven Marshall, was defeated by the opposition Labor Party, led by Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas, in a landslide. Marshall conceded to Malinauskas about three hours after the polls closed. It is the first time since 1982, and only the fourth time since 1933, that a sitting government in South Australia has been defeated after a single term.
Labor won 27 seats in the lower house, while the Liberals retained 16 seats—with the remaining four seats won by independents. The new ministry was sworn in two days after the election, and Malinauskas became the state’s 47th Premier.
In the 22-seat upper house where 11 seats were up for election, the result was five Labor, four Liberal, one Green, and one One Nation, for a total of nine Labor government seats, eight Liberal opposition seats, with five crossbenchers—two Green, two SA-Best, and one One Nation. Consequently, the new Labor government would require an additional three non-government votes to pass legislation; however, the Liberal upper house President was unexpectedly re-elected to the Presidency, which gave the Labor government nine of 21 seats during votes on the floor, meaning that only an additional two non-government votes are required to pass legislation.
Like federal elections, South Australia has compulsory voting, uses full-preference instant-runoff voting for single-member electorates in the lower house, and optional preference single transferable voting in the proportionally represented upper house. The election was conducted by the Electoral Commission of South Australia (ECSA), an independent body answerable to Parliament.
The Liberal Party’s already slender majority was further reduced when in, February 2020, Sam Duluk, the member for Waite, had his Liberal membership suspended due to his personal conduct at a 2019 Christmas party, which led to him being charged with assault by police. Duluk was found not guilty in the Adelaide Magistrates Court in August 2021, though he remained on the crossbench as an independent.
In February 2021, Fraser Ellis, the Liberal member for Narungga, was charged by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) with 23 counts of deception, relating to 78 fraudulent claims over the alleged misuse of a travel allowance totalling more than $18,000. The ICAC charges led to Ellis resigning from the Liberal Party and moving to the crossbench as an independent, which officially transitioned the Liberals into a minority government. Later that year, Dan Cregan, the Liberal member for Kavel, resigned from the party to sit as an independent, citing the government’s failure to manage population growth in the Adelaide Hills. Several days after his resignation from the party, Cregan was elected as Speaker of the House of Assembly after a ballot, as the government’s preferred candidate lacked sufficient support in the Assembly.
Though in minority, the government did not fall, as it never lost a vote on confidence or supply; in any event, Ellis and other independents had stated they would support the Marshall government on such matters.