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1953 South Australian state election

State elections were held in South Australia on 7 March 1953. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Mick O'Halloran.[1][2]

1953 South Australian state election

← 1950 7 March 1953 (1953-03-07) 1956 →

All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly
20 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  ThomasPlayford1963crop.jpg Senator Mick O'Halloran.jpg
Leader Thomas Playford Mick O'Halloran
Party Liberal and Country League Labor
Leader since 5 November 1938 10 October 1949
Leader's seat Gumeracha Frome
Last election 23 seats 12 seats
Seats won 21 seats 14 seats
Seat change Decrease2 Increase2
Percentage 47.0% 53.0%
Swing Decrease4.3 Increase4.3

Premier before election

Thomas Playford
Liberal and Country League

Elected Premier

Thomas Playford
Liberal and Country League


Labor won three seats, metropolitan Norwood and Prospect and rural Victoria from the LCL.[3] The LCL won one seat, rural Murray from Labor.[4] Notably, neither major party contested the independent-held seat of Ridley.[1][2]

The Labor opposition won 53 percent of the statewide two-party vote however the LCL retained government with the assistance of the Playmander − an electoral malapportionment that also saw a clear majority of the statewide two-party vote won by Labor while failing to form government in 1944, 1962 and 1968.[1][2]


South Australian state election, 7 March 1953[5]
House of Assembly
<< 19501956 >>

Enrolled voters 354,273
Votes cast 336,592 Turnout 95.01% +1.86%
Informal votes 9,871 Informal 2.93% –0.40%
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 166,517 50.97% +2.88% 14 + 2
  Liberal and Country 119,106 36.45% –4.05% 21 – 2
  Communist 4,827 1.48% +0.14% 0 ± 0
  Independent 36,271 11.10% +1.03% 4 ± 0
Total 326,721     39  
  Liberal and Country 47.00% –4.30%
  Labor 53.00% +4.30%
  • The primary vote figures were from contested seats, while the state-wide two-party-preferred vote figures were estimated from all seats.

Post-election pendulumEdit

Unley Colin Dunnage LCL 0.3%
Murray Hector White LCL 0.5%
Glenelg Baden Pattinson LCL 0.7%
Torrens John Travers LCL 1.3%
Fairly Safe
Gouger Rufus Goldney LCL 6.1%
Onkaparinga Howard Shannon LCL 7.0%
Flinders Glen Pearson LCL 8.4%
Burra George Hawker LCL 9.4%
Light Herbert Michael LCL 9.5%
Newcastle George Jenkins LCL 13.7%
Burnside Geoffrey Clarke LCL 16.1%
Eyre Arthur Christian LCL 17.8% v IND
Angas Berthold Teusner LCL 18.1% v IND
Gumeracha Thomas Playford LCL 40.4% v COM
Albert Malcolm McIntosh LCL undistributed
Stirling William Jenkins LCL undistributed
Alexandra David Brookman LCL unopposed
Mitcham Henry Dunks LCL unopposed
Rocky River James Heaslip LCL unopposed
Yorke Peninsula Cecil Hincks LCL unopposed
Young Robert Nicholls LCL unopposed
Victoria Jim Corcoran ALP 0.8%
Prospect Joe Jennings ALP 3.4%
Fairly safe
Norwood Don Dunstan ALP 6.3%
Goodwood Frank Walsh ALP 13.1%
Gawler John Clark ALP 27.1% v IND
Semaphore Harold Tapping ALP 37.6% v IND
Adelaide Sam Lawn ALP 39.5% v COM
Stuart Lindsay Riches ALP 39.8% v COM
Port Adelaide James Stephens ALP 41.9% v COM
Port Pirie Charles Davis ALP undistributed
Frome Mick O'Halloran ALP unopposed
Hindmarsh Cyril Hutchens ALP unopposed
Thebarton Fred Walsh ALP unopposed
Wallaroo Hughie McAlees ALP unopposed
Mount Gambier John Fletcher IND 4.3% v ALP
Stanley Percy Quirke IND 11.9% v LCL
Chaffey William MacGillivray IND 19.1% v LCL
Ridley Tom Stott IND 27.8% v IND

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Jaensch, Dean (March 2007). "The 1953 General Election - Formed the 34th Parliament". History of South Australian elections 1857-2006: House of Assembly, Volume 1. State Electoral Office South Australia. pp. 270–273. ISBN 9780975048634. Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2015-07-27 – via Electoral Commission of South Australia.
  2. ^ a b c Tilby Stock, Jenny (1996). "The 'Playmander', Its origins, operation and effect on South Australia". In O'Neil, Bernard; Raftery, Judith; Round, Kerrie (eds.). Playford's South Australia: essays on the history of South Australia, 1933-1968. Association of Professional Historians. pp. 73–90. ISBN 9780646290928 – via Professional Historians Association (South Australia).
  3. ^ "Fate of Govern. in Doubt in Swing to Labor: LCL Appears Certain to Lose at least Three Seats". The Mail. 7 March 1953. Retrieved 13 January 2016 – via Trove.
  4. ^ "Absolute Majority for Government: L.C.L. Candidate Wins Murray Seat". The Advertiser. 14 March 1953. Retrieved 13 January 2016 – via Trove.
  5. ^ "Summary of 1953 Election". University of Western Australia. Retrieved 7 July 2015.

External linksEdit