1896 South Australian colonial election

Colonial elections were held in South Australia on 25 April 1896, excepting the Northern Territory, which voted on 2 May.[1] All 54 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent liberal government led by Premier of South Australia Charles Kingston in an informal coalition with the United Labor Party (ULP) led by John McPherson defeated the conservative opposition. Each district elected multiple members, with voters casting multiple votes.

1896 South Australian colonial election

← 1893 25 April 1896 (1896-04-25) 1899 →

All 54 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly
28 seats were needed for a majority
  Second party Third party
  John Abel McPherson.jpg No image.svg
Leader John McPherson unknown
Party United Labor National Defence League
Leader since 1891 -
Leader's seat East Adelaide -
Last election 10 seats 20 seats
Seats won 12 seats 18 seats
Seat change Increase2 Decrease2
Percentage 24.3% 30.6%

Premier before election

Charles Kingston

Elected Premier

Charles Kingston


The period after the 1893 election saw an increasing competition between the two new political parties – the ULP and the conservative National Defence League (NDL). It also reflected a trend for the conservative members to gravitate to the NDL, and the progressive members to support Kingston, a strong advocate of progressive social policy and reform of the Legislative Council. There was no "Liberal" or "Kingston" party, but there was a relatively cohesive Kingston group among both independent members and candidates. The Liberal and Democratic Union would not be formed until the 1906 election.

The election was held concurrently with the first referendum in Australia.[2]

Women's suffrage in Australia took a leap forward – enacted in 1895 and taking effect from this election, South Australia was the first in Australia and only the second in the world after New Zealand to allow women to vote, and the first in the world to allow women to stand for election.[3] However, the first female would not be elected to the Parliament of South Australia until the 1959 election when Jessie Cooper and Joyce Steele were elected for the Liberal and Country League, and the 1965 election for Labor with Molly Byrne.


House of Assembly (FPTP) — Turnout 66.3% (Non-CV) — Informal 1.6%
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  National Defence League 49,200 30.6 +8.4 18 –2
  United Labor Party 39,107 24.3 +5.5 12 +2
  Independent 72,676 45.2 –13.8 24 ±0
  Total 160,983     54
  Liberal/Labor coalition WIN
  National Defence League

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Statistical Record of the Legislature, 1836-2009" (PDF). Parliament of South Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  2. ^ "South Australian Referenda" (PDF). State Electoral Office - South Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Women's Suffrage Petition 1894: parliament.sa.gov.au" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2016.