South Australia

Mar 17, 2014

An SA gerrymander? Libs, short of government, test the boundaries

The Liberal Party won more support than Labor in South Australia, but it's still short of government. Does the system need fixing? Our electoral analyst considers the possibilities.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

Saturday’s state elections in South Australia and Tasmania were a study in contrasts: one a landslide and one a cliffhanger; a drubbing for Labor and an unexpected morale-booster.

In Tasmania, the Liberals secured a decisive majority of as many as 15 out of 25 seats, in the context of an electoral system faulted by its critics as a recipe for minority government and parliamentary gridlock. In South Australia, the single-member electoral system that privileges major parties will more likely than not find independents holding the balance of power.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

23 thoughts on “An SA gerrymander? Libs, short of government, test the boundaries

  1. wilful

    William, you miss the most obvious and simple electoral reform, which would be to have proportional representation in the lower house for the State, and preferential voting for electorates in the upper house (which would have to enlarge I bit I guess). Fair, but would often require coalitions.

  2. wilful

    erm, and then I could have read your later para before commenting…. my apologies

  3. klewso

    This was like Howard’s (incumbent government’s) “GST Referendum win”?

  4. shepherdmarilyn

    Like you said, the liberals vote for the liberals in the rural areas and steal oxygen from the idea of winning any extra seats. But the liberal party in SA has been hopeless for decades and this year more than most with the creepy unknown Steve Marshall at the helm after they chewed through several others.

    I suspect a number of liberal governments will fall down in the next 18 months though as the reality of Abbott’s lunacy wakes up the braindead voters.

  5. David Hand

    Well it’s definitely not a gerrymander in the Joh sense of the word.

    I think the major factor in this result is the huge bias towards state industry and state subsidies for Adelaide. There is a culture that favours big government and government intervention in the town. This of course is Labor’s natural home turf so it’s not surprising their support is holding up in Adelaide as people vote for state subsidised jobs.

    Tell me this, what fool decided to base Australia’s next generation maritime surveillance drones in Adelaide when the obvious location has to be Darwin? That’s the sort of decision Adelaide voters went for on Saturday.

  6. Electric Lardyland

    So, when’s the Victorian election due?

  7. tonysee

    Notwithstanding the remarks about pork-barreling and my reluctance to be seen to agree with the Mad Monk, the drones will be based in Adelaide where there is a depth of specialised surveillance infrastructure (Edinburgh Air Base and DSTO) you won’t find in Broom or even Darwin.

    Like the PC3 Orion’s these planes will do their job very effectively from Adelaide.

  8. Jimmy

    David Hand – I am no defence expert but I would assume you wouldn’t want your “next generation maritime surveillance drones” based in what would quickly become “the front” on any future war and therefore making it easier for them to be disabled or captured.

  9. Casey Briggs

    Of all jurisdictions, I would’ve thought South Australia could handle proportional representation better than most – look at the Legislative Council, where no single party has had control of the chamber in something like 40 years. Coalition and consensus building is, and always has been necessary to get legislation through the parliament.

  10. David Hand

    Ah yes, silly me.
    The decision to base the drones in Adelaide had nothing to do with jobs. Nothing to do with federal propping up of Adelaide employment. Not at all.

    It’s entirely about defence doctrine. Of course.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details