1997 South Australian state election

State elections were held in South Australia on 11 October 1997. All 47 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Premier of South Australia John Olsen defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Mike Rann, forming a minority government with the SA Nationals and independent MPs.

South Australian state election, 1997

11 October 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
  John Olsen (1) Mike Rann (smiling)
Leader John Olsen Mike Rann
Party Liberal Labor
Leader since 28 November 1996 5 November 1994
Leader's seat Kavel Ramsay
Seats before 36 seats 11 seats
Seats won 23 seats 21 seats
Seat change Decrease13 Increase10
Percentage 51.5% 48.5%
Swing Decrease9.4% Increase9.4%

Premier before election

John Olsen

Resulting Premier

John Olsen


Following the 1993 landslide to the Liberals, ending 11 years of Labor government, Labor now led by Mike Rann held just 11 seats in the House of Assembly. The Liberals held 36 seats and there were no independent or minor party members in the House of Assembly. They had held a record 37, but lost one at the 1994 Torrens by-election. However the Liberals were suffering from heightened internal tensions. Premier Dean Brown had been toppled by Industry Minister and factional rival John Olsen in a 1996 party-room coup. Olsen had been in office for just over 10 months on election day.


House of Assembly

South Australian state election, 11 October 1997[1]
House of Assembly
<< 19932002 >>

Enrolled voters 1,010,753
Votes cast 927,344 Turnout 91.75 -1.82
Informal votes 37,430 Informal 4.04 +0.94
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal 359,509 40.40 -12.41 23 - 13
  Labor 312,929 35.16 +4.79 21 + 10
  Democrats 146,347 16.45 +7.35 0 0
  National 15,488 1.74 +0.63 1 + 1
  United Australia 13,569 1.52 +1.52 0 0
  Independent 27,870 3.13 +0.01 1 + 1
  Independent Liberal 6,970 0.78 +0.78 1 + 1
  Other 7,232 0.81 * 0 0
Total 889,914     47  
  Liberal 458,399 51.51 –9.40
  Labor 431,515 48.49 +9.40

Labor needed a 13-seat swing to make Rann premier, a deficit thought insurmountable before the election. However, to the surprise of most observers, Olsen lost the massive majority he'd inherited from Brown. Labor polled exceptionally well, regaining much of what it had lost in its severe defeat of four years earlier. Indeed, on election night many Liberal observers feared that Labor had managed the swing it needed to regain government. Ultimately, Labor picked up 10 seats, three seats short of victory. The Liberals lost a massive 13 seats: 10 to Labor, 1 to the Nationals, and 2 to conservative independents. Labor received a record two-party swing of 9.4 percent, as opposed to the previous record of 8.9 percent to the Liberals at the last election. Olsen was forced to seek the support of the Nationals and the independents to stay in office at the helm of a minority government.

The Liberals briefly regained a majority when Mitch Williams rejoined the Liberal Party in 1999, but lost it again in 2000 when it expelled Peter Lewis from the party in 2000, and Bob Such resigned from the Liberal Party later in 2000. However they continued to govern with the support of the Nationals and independents until the 2002 election.

Legislative Council

South Australian state election, 11 October 1997[2]
Legislative Council
<< 19932002 >>

Enrolled voters 1,010,753
Votes cast 937,026 Turnout 92.71 –0.91
Informal votes 40,523 Informal 4.32 +0.78
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats
  Liberal 339,064 37.82 –13.99 4 10
  Labor 274,098 30.57 +3.17 4 8
  Democrats 149,660 16.69 +8.65 2 3
  No Pokies 25,630 2.86 +2.86 1 1
  HEMP 15,432 1.72 –0.08 0 0
  Greens 15,377 1.72 –0.02 0 0
  Grey Power 14,261 1.59 –0.01 0 0
  United Australia 11,920 1.33 +1.33 0 0
  National 9,233 1.03 +0.31 0 0
  Australia First 9,150 1.02 +1.02 0 0
  Recreation and Fishing 7,048 0.79 +0.79 0 0
  Overtaxed Motorists 6,024 0.67 +0.67 0 0
  Other 19,606 2.18 * 0 0
Total 896,503     11 22

In the Legislative Council, the Australian Democrats won two seats for the first time. Elected were 4 Liberal, 4 Labor, 2 Australian Democrats, and No Pokies candidate Nick Xenophon. Carrying over from the 1993 election were 6 Liberal, 4 Labor, 1 Democrat; leaving the numbers at: 10 Liberal, 8 Labor, 3 Democrats, 1 No Pokies.

The election was notable for the Australian Democrats' strongest performance in South Australia, winning two Legislative Council two seats at an election for the only time in their history. (Though their predecessors, the Liberal Movement (LM), won two Legislative Council seats on a higher primary vote in 1975 state election). The Democrats also finished second after preferences in seven seats lower house seats (compared to three for the LM in 1975). However, it marked the peak for Democrats' influence in South Australia. From here on they would slowly lose numbers and influence, winning only one more seat (in 2002), and losing their remaining parliamentary representation as of the 2010 election.

Labor upper house members Terry Cameron and Trevor Crothers would resign from the party in 1998 and 1999 respectively, in order to support the Liberals over the Privatisation of ETSA. This also meant the Democrats lost sole balance of power for the first time since 1985.

Post-election Pendulum

Gordon Rory McEwen IND 0.1% v LIB
Hartley Joe Scalzi LIB 0.7%
Stuart Graham Gunn LIB 1.5%
Heysen David Wotton LIB 1.9% v AD
Chaffey Karlene Maywald NAT 2.6% v LIB
Frome Rob Kerin LIB 2.9%
Colton Steve Condous LIB 4.0%
Davenport Iain Evans LIB 4.3% v AD
Unley Mark Brindal LIB 4.5%
Mawson Robert Brokenshire LIB 4.7%
Adelaide Michael Armitage LIB 5.4%
Waite Martin Hamilton-Smith LIB 5.9% v AD
Fairly safe
Bright Wayne Matthew LIB 6.2%
Light Malcolm Buckby LIB 6.3%
Kavel John Olsen LIB 6.3% v AD
Finniss Dean Brown LIB 7.3% v AD
Coles Joan Hall LIB 7.8%
MacKillop Mitch Williams IND 7.9% v LIB
Newland Dorothy Kotz LIB 8.0%
Schubert Ivan Venning LIB 8.7% v AD
Fisher Bob Such LIB 9.8%
Flinders Liz Penfold LIB 10.0% v NAT
Morphett John Oswald LIB 13.0%
Hammond Peter Lewis LIB 14.7%
Goyder John Meier LIB 17.2%
Bragg Graham Ingerson LIB 18.8%
Norwood Vini Ciccarello ALP 0.8%
Mitchell Kris Hanna ALP 0.9%
Florey Frances Bedford ALP 1.3%
Elder Pat Conlon ALP 2.6%
Wright Jennifer Rankine ALP 3.1%
Reynell Gay Thompson ALP 3.7%
Hanson Steph Key ALP 5.6%
Kaurna John Hill ALP 5.8%
Fairly safe
Peake Tom Koutsantonis ALP 7.0%
Lee Michael Wright ALP 7.1%
Napier Annette Hurley ALP 9.5% v AD
Torrens Robyn Geraghty ALP 10.1%
Giles Lyn Breuer ALP 11.4%
Playford Jack Snelling ALP 12.9%
Elizabeth Lea Stevens ALP 14.3%
Ross Smith Ralph Clarke ALP 14.8%
Ramsay Mike Rann ALP 18.2%
Taylor Trish White ALP 22.2%
Hart Kevin Foley ALP 22.7%
Spence Michael Atkinson ALP 23.3%
Price Murray De Laine ALP 24.4%
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, Independents in white, Nationals in green. These boundaries are based on the 2006 electoral redistribution.


The 1997 result put Labor within striking distance of winning government at the next election in 2002. John Olsen was left with internal disquiet over the leadership challenge and poor election result while his opponent, Mike Rann, was seen to have 'won' the campaign despite losing the election.

On 6 February 2007, Mike Rann told parliament that some in the Liberal party had leaked information to him before and during the election campaign. The following quote by Rann is from Hansard on 6/2/2007 [1]:

"You asked me a question and I will give you a 55-minute answer, because you will remember one day when I came into this place and I had, I think, 880 pages of cabinet and other documents... I remember being telephoned and told to go to a certain cafe, not in a white car but in a taxi, and then to walk in a zigzag fashion through the streets of a suburb, where I was to be handed cabinet documents. So much for their cabinet solidarity and cabinet confidentiality! There was a queue on the telephone telling us what had happened the day before. It was the same during the 1997 election campaign. People thought, `How does this guy (the leader of the opposition at the time) know intuitively exactly what John Olsen is doing the next day?' It was because I was being phoned and told! So, do not talk to me about cabinet solidarity lest I come in here and start naming names, which will set off another generation of disputation on the other side of the house. Anyway, cabinet approved, among other things, on 20 December 2006 minister Lomax-Smith's proposed statement and approved her to announce publicly that she opposed the proposal in cabinet. She did so because we agreed that she should be able to do so. Somehow I do not think that John Olsen agreed to what happened when I was getting the phone call at 6 o'clock in the morning and at midnight, and walking in a zigzag pattern through suburbs to be handed a cabinet bag and cabinet documents. We have a different approach. We agreed to it. It was a cabinet decision to agree to it. So, please, ask me some more questions, because there were two different camps involved in this leaking to the then poor unpopular leader of the opposition, and I am more than happy to name names."

See also


  • 1997 election maps and results: Antony Green ABC archive
  • History of South Australian elections 1857-2006, volume 1: ECSA
  • "Background leading up to the election/Liberals in power". Crikey. Archived from the original on 26 October 2001.
Political Parties
  1. ^ "Details of SA 1997 Election". Australian Politics and Elections Database.
  2. ^ Green, Antony. "1997 South Australian Election" (PDF). ABC Election Archives. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
Candidates of the 1997 South Australian state election

This article provides information on candidates who stood for the 1997 South Australian state election, held on 11 October 1997.

Centre Alliance

Centre Alliance is a centrist Australian political party based in the state of South Australia. It was named Nick Xenophon Team until April 2018. It presently holds two seats in the Australian Senate and one seat in the House of Representatives.

Since it was founded in July 2013, the party has twice changed names. At the time of the 2016 federal election it was known as Nick Xenophon Team (NXT). After the creation of SA-BEST, an affiliated state-based party created by Nick Xenophon, NXT sought to change its name to SA-BEST (Federal), but withdrew its application prior to Australian Electoral Commission approval and changed its name to Centre Alliance due to the departure of Nick Xenophon from politics.In 2018, Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff made it clear that SA-BEST is "a separate entity, a separate association, a separate party" from Centre Alliance.The party's ideological focus is a combination of centrism, social liberalism and populism, drawing from the positions of Xenophon. Its present members have variously declared support for same-sex marriage, reform of the Australian Intelligence Community, action on climate change, support for veterans, affordable tax cuts, Australian made manufacturing, including defence industry spending and legalising euthanasia.

Grey Power

Grey Power was an Australian political party and lobby group, first registered in 1983. At the federal elections of 1984 and 1987 it ran candidates, but on both occasions these candidates (who included former Liberal cabinet minister Bill Wentworth) did poorly. The group was designed to represent the elderly vote, advocating issues dealing with aged care and a mature perspective on national policy; hence the name "grey power".

Grey Power ran in the 1989 Western Australian state election, garnering 5.2% of the total lower house vote. The last election which Grey Power contested was the 1997 South Australian state election, but then it only managed to receive 1.6% of the South Australian Legislative Council vote. Their preferences however significantly contributed to the election of Nick Xenophon.

The best result Grey Power ever achieved was at the 1994 Taylor state by-election in South Australia. Without a Liberal candidate in the running on this occasion, Grey Power took 13 percent of the primary vote and finished second after preferences had been distributed with a 27 percent two-candidate preferred vote.

List of elections in 1997

The following elections occurred in the year 1997.

Honduran general election, 1997

Indonesian legislative election, 1997

Iranian presidential election, 1997

Mexican legislative election, 1997

Papua New Guinean general election, 1997

Philippine barangay election, 1997

Salvadoran legislative election, 1997

Singaporean general election, 1997

South Korean presidential election, 1997

Yemeni parliamentary election, 1997

Results of the 1997 South Australian state election (House of Assembly)

This is a list of House of Assembly results for the 1997 South Australian state election.

Results of the 1997 South Australian state election (Legislative Council)

This is a list of results for the Legislative Council at the 1997 South Australian state election.

Slot machine

A slot machine (American English), known variously as a fruit machine (British English), puggy (Scottish English), the slots (Canadian and American English), poker machine/pokies (Australian English and New Zealand English), or simply slot (British English and American English), is a casino gambling machine with three or more reels which spin when a button is pushed. Slot machines are also known as one-armed bandits because they were originally operated by one lever on the side of the machine, as distinct from a button on the front panel, and because of their ability to leave the player impoverished or in debt, with bandit as a synonym for "thief". Many modern machines are still equipped with a legacy lever in addition to the button.

Slot machines include a currency detector that validates the money inserted to play. The machine pays off according to patterns of symbols visible on the front of the machine when it stops. Modern computer technology has resulted in variations on the slot machine concept. Slot machines are the most popular gambling method in casinos and constitute about 70 percent of the average US casino's income.

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