State elections were held in South Australia on 17 September 1977. 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 Don Dunstan won a fourth term in government, defeating the Liberal Party of Australia led by Leader of the Opposition David Tonkin.
All 47 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly
24 seats were needed for a majority
Parliamentary elections for the lower house of the Parliament of South Australia were held in South Australia in 1977. There was no election for Legislative Council; and as of 2020, this is the most recent South Australian election which has not been for both houses.
The Labor Party led by Don Dunstan, which had won the previous three elections in 1970, 1973 and 1975, defeated the Liberal Party of Australia opposition led by David Tonkin. It was the first time that a Labor government in South Australia had been re-elected for a fourth term, and would be the first nine-year-incumbent Labor government. This would be Dunstan's last election before resigning due to ill health in 1979.
This was the first election after the end of Playmander seat weighting where one vote one value was introduced. At the previous election some metropolitan seats still saw more than three times the number of voters than in some rural seats, despite most of the Playmander being abolished nearly a decade ago. The redistribution was the reason Dunstan called an early election.
The Australian Democrats ran for the first time under a joint New LM-Australian Democrats ticket, winning an average 12.3 percent of the primary vote in the 12 electorates they contested, with former LCL MP Robin Millhouse retaining his seat of Mitcham, which he would hold until 1982.
- Issue of writ: 25 August 1977
- Close of nominations: 2 September 1977
- Polling day: 19 September 1977
- Return of writ: On or before 3 October 1977
Keith Russack stood as an Independent Liberal, but later joined the Liberal Party; giving the numbers: 27 Labor, 18 Liberal, 1 Country Party, 1 Australian Democrat.
A 1979 Norwood by-election was triggered as a result of Dunstan's resignation. Labor retained the seat on a considerably reduced majority.
|Summary of votes by party|
|National Country||11,855||1.59||-1.18||1||± 0|
|Independent Liberal||10,793||1.45||*||1||+ 1|
Seats changing party representationEdit
This table lists changes in party representation at the 1977 election.
|Seat||Incumbent member||Party||New member||Party|
|Baudin||New seat||Don Hopgood||Labor|
|Frome||Ernest Allen||Liberal||Seat abolished|
|Gouger||Keith Russack*||Liberal||Seat abolished|
|Goyder||David Boundy*||Liberal||Keith Russack||Independent|
|Hartley||New seat||Des Corcoran||Labor|
|Heysen||David Wotton*||Liberal||Seat abolished|
|Millicent||Murray Vandepeer||Liberal||Seat abolished|
|Mitcham||Robin Millhouse*||Liberal Movement||Robin Millhouse||Democrats|
|Morphett||New seat||Terry Groom||Labor|
|Napier||New seat||Terry Hemmings||Labor|
|Newland||New seat||John Klunder||Labor|
|Pirie||Ted Connelly*||Labor||Seat abolished|
|Tea Tree Gully||Molly Byrne*||Labor||Seat abolished|
|Todd||New seat||Molly Byrne||Labor|
- Members listed in italics did not recontest this election.
- Keith Russack was the sitting Liberal member for the abolished district of Gouger. He was not pre-selected for any seat in the redistribution, so he quit the party and ran as an Independent candidate for the seat of Goyder.
- David Boundy was elected as a Liberal Movement member for Goyder, but joined the Liberal party in 1976. He was defeated by Keith Russack, who re-joined the Liberal party after being elected.
- Sitting Liberal MP for the abolished district of Heysen, David Wotton was preselected for the district of Murray over incumbent MP Ivon Wardle. Wardle contested the election as an Independent, but was defeated by Wotton.
- Robin Millhouse was elected in 1975 as Liberal Movement member for Mitcham. He joined the Democrats in 1977 and won a second term to his seat.
- Ted Connelly was elected as an Independent MP for the abolished district of Pirie in 1975, but later joined the Labor party. He contested the seat of Rocky River and lost.
- Sitting Labor MP for the abolished seat of Tea Tree Gully, Molly Byrne instead contested the new seat of Todd and won.
|Labor seats (27)|
|Henley Beach||Glen Broomhill||ALP||9.3%|
|Ascot Park||Geoff Virgo||ALP||12.5%|
|Albert Park||Charles Harrison||ALP||14.1%|
|Ross Smith||John Bannon||ALP||22.2%|
|Liberal seats (17)|
|Mount Gambier||Harold Allison||LIB||1.4%|
|Rocky River||Howard Venning||LIB||8.2%|
|Crossbench seats (3)|
|Mitcham||Robin Millhouse||DEM||6.5% v LIB|
|Goyder||Keith Russack||IND||7.9% v LIB|
|Flinders||Peter Blacker||NCP||24.2% v LIB|
- Historical lower house results
- Historical upper house results
- State and federal election results Archived 18 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine in Australia since 1890
- History of South Australian elections 1857–2006, volume 1, Dean Jaensch, Electoral Commission of SA
- "Details of SA 1977 Election". Australian Politics and Elections Database.