State elections were held in South Australia on 6 November 1982. 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 David Tonkin was defeated by the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition John Bannon.
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
Parliamentary elections for both houses of the Parliament of South Australia were held in South Australia in 1982, which saw John Bannon and the Australian Labor Party defeat the incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by David Tonkin, after one term in power.
As Premier, Tonkin combined fiscal conservatism with socially progressive reforms. In the former, Tonkin made significant cuts to the public service, earning him the enmity of the unions, while an example of the latter was the passage of the land rights bill and the return to the Pitjantjatjara people of 10 per cent of South Australia's area.
Prior to the election, Tonkin removed Robin Millhouse (a former Liberal member who had defected to the Liberal Movement and then the Australian Democrats, and whose popularity enabled him to hold his seat of Mitcham) with an offer of a vacant seat in the Supreme Court. However the subsequent by-election saw the seat retained by Democrats candidate Heather Southcott.
One potential election factor was the copper and uranium mine at Olympic Dam, near Roxby Downs. Enabling legislation had been passed earlier in 1982, despite the opposition of the Labor Party, only when Norm Foster quit the Labor party to support it. Considered a controversial move in Labor circles, Bannon defused this as an election issue by promising that development would go ahead under a Labor government (a commitment which was honoured), despite having previously opposed it.
The Liberals also had to contend with the early 1980s recession.
Labor achieved a 5.9% swing, and won 4 seats from the Liberals (Brighton, Henley Beach, Mawson and Newland). The Liberals won the seat of Mitcham from the Democrats, so overall lost 3 seats. The House of Assembly numbers were Labor 24, Liberal 21, National Party 1 and Independent Labor 1, giving Labor a narrow majority.
In the Legislative Council, Liberal and Labor won 5 seats each, and the Democrats 1; giving a chamber of 11 Liberal, 9 Labor and 2 Democrats. Labor lost one seat to the Democrats, but regained the seat they had lost when Norm Foster resigned from the Labor party earlier that year. Foster stood as an Independent Labor member in the Legislative Council, but was not re-elected.
After the election loss, Tonkin resigned as Liberal leader and was succeeded by John Olsen, who won a leadership ballot against Dean Brown. A heart complaint caused Tonkin to leave parliament soon after at which a 1983 Bragg by-election was triggered, with the Liberals easily retaining the seat.
A 1984 Elizabeth by-election saw Independent Labor candidate Martyn Evans win the seat from Labor. This gave Labor a minority government (23 out of 47 seats), though it continued to govern with the support of Independent Labor members Evans and Norm Peterson.
- Issue of writ: 18 October 1982
- Close of nominations: 26 October 1982
- Polling day: 6 November 1982
- Return of writ: On or before 4 December 1982
House of AssemblyEdit
|Summary of votes by party|
Seats changing handsEdit
|Brighton||Liberal||Dick Glazbrook||4.7||5.5||0.8||June Appleby||Labor|
|Henley Beach||Liberal||Bob Randall||1.0||5.0||4.0||Don Ferguson||Labor|
|Mawson||Liberal||Ivar Schmidt||3.0||9.6||6.6||Susan Lenehan||Labor|
|Mitcham||Democrats||Heather Southcott||4.7||15.1||10.4||Stephen Baker||Liberal|
|Newland||Liberal||Brian Billard||6.2||9.8||3.6||John Klunder||Labor|
|Summary of votes by party|
|Labor seats (24)|
|Henley Beach||Don Ferguson||ALP||4.0%|
|Whyalla||Max Brown||ALP||4.1% v IND|
|Ascot Park||John Trainer||ALP||9.3%|
|Albert Park||Kevin Hamilton||ALP||11.1%|
|Ross Smith||John Bannon||ALP||25.7%|
|Liberal seats (21)|
|Mount Gambier||Harold Allison||LIB||2.2%|
|Rocky River||John Olsen||LIB||10.3%|
|Mitcham||Stephen Baker||LIB||10.4% v AD|
|Crossbench seats (2)|
|Semaphore||Norm Peterson||IND||10.3% v ALP|
|Flinders||Peter Blacker||NAT||23.7% v ALP|
- History of South Australian elections 1857–2006, volume 1: ECSA Archived 2 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Dean Jaensch
- John Trainer, Letters to the Editor, March 29, 2014, Adelaide Advertiser
- "Details of SA 1982 Election". Australian Politics and Elections Database.
- Dean Jaensch. "History of South Australian elections 1857–2006, volume 2 Legislative Council". ECSA. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.