1989 South Australian state election

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. Labor won 22 out of 47 seats, and secured a majority of 24 with the support of two Independent Labor members.

South Australian state election, 1989

25 November 1989

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
  John Charles Bannon 1943-2015 John Olsen (1)
Leader John Bannon John Olsen
Party Labor Liberal
Leader since 18 September 1979 10 November 1982
Leader's seat Ross Smith Custance
Seats before 27 seats 17 seats
Seats won 22 seats 22 seats
Seat change Decrease5 Increase5
Percentage 48.0% 52.0%
Swing Decrease5.2 Increase5.2

Premier before election

John Bannon

Resulting Premier

John Bannon


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 52 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, capitalising on the fact that he was national president of Australian Labor Party at the time.


The Liberals gained five seats (Adelaide, Bright, Fisher, Hayward and Newland), 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 (which it was not required to do, because redistributions were only required after every third election). So while the electoral districts were equal within the required 10 percent tolerances when they were drawn in 1983, population shifts had increased that imbalance substantially.[1] Because of this, a 1991 state referendum 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.

Olsen was replaced as Liberal leader by Dale Baker in 1990. Baker resigned as leader in 1992 without contesting an election, and the subsequent leadership ballot was won by Dean Brown, ahead of Olsen and Jennifer Cashmore.

The parliament had three by-elections (1990 Custance by-election, the 1992 Alexandra by-election and the 1992 Kavel by-election), but all were retained by the Liberal party, so resulted in no change in the numbers in parliament.

Independent Labor Martyn Evans joined the ALP in 1993 and stood at the 1993 election as an endorsed ALP candidate.

In the South Australian Legislative Council, the sole balance of power was held by the Australian Democrats. They had held sole balance of power since 1985, and would continue to hold it until 1997.


House of Assembly

South Australian state election, 25 November 1989[2]
House of Assembly
<< 19851993 >>

Enrolled voters 941,368
Votes cast 888,918 Turnout 94.43 +0.97
Informal votes 25,167 Informal 2.83 +0.64
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal 381,834 44.21 +2.06 22 + 6
  Labor 346,268 40.09 –8.10 22 – 5
  Democrats 88,270 10.27 +6.02 0 ± 0
  Call to Australia 10,974 1.30 +1.30 0 ± 0
  National 10,217 1.18 –0.54 1 ± 0
  Independent Labor 13,094 1.52 –0.77 2 ± 0
  Independent 10,633 1.23 +0.57 0 ± 0
  Other 2,011 0.23 * 0 ± 0
Total 863,751     47  
  Labor 414,246 47.96 –5.21
  Liberal 449,505 52.04 +5.21

Legislative Council

South Australian state election, 25 November 1989[3]
Legislative Council
<< 19851993 >>

Enrolled voters 941,368
Votes cast 889,896 Turnout 94.5% +1.0%
Informal votes 34,612 Informal 3.9% +0.2%
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats
  Liberal 351,559 41.1% +1.8% 5 10
  Labor 339,961 39.7% –8.3% 5 10
  Democrats 91,456 10.7% +5.2% 1 2
  Call to Australia 21,658 2.5% –0.5% 0 0
  Grey Power 19,486 2.3% +2.3% 0 0
  Conservative 7,657 0.9% +0.9% 0 0
  National 6,700 0.8% –0.8% 0 0
  Independent 16,807 2.0% +0.9% 0 0
Total 855,284     11 22

Post-election Pendulum

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%

See also


  1. ^ Brooks, David; Gill, Zoe; Weste, John. "South Australian Referenda, 1896-1991" (PDF). Parliament of South Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Details of SA 1989 Election". Australian Politics and Elections Database.
  3. ^ "History of South Australian elections 1857-2006, volume 2 Legislative Council". ECSA. Retrieved 22 May 2016.

External links

Candidates of the 1989 South Australian state election

This article provides information on candidates who stood for the 1989 South Australian state election, held on 25 November 1989.

List of elections in 1989

The following elections occurred in the year 1989.

Results of the 1989 South Australian state election (House of Assembly)

This is a list of House of Assembly results for the 1989 South Australian state election.

Results of the 1989 South Australian state election (Legislative Council)

This is a list of results for the Legislative Council at the 1989 South Australian state election.

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