Electoral district of Adelaide

Adelaide is a single-member electoral district for the South Australian House of Assembly. The 22.8 km² state seat of Adelaide currently consists of the Adelaide city centre including North Adelaide and suburbs to the inner north and inner north east: Collinswood, Fitzroy, Gilberton, Medindie, Medindie Gardens, Ovingham, Thorngate, Walkerville, most of Prospect, and part of Nailsworth. The federal division of Adelaide covers the state seat of Adelaide and additional suburbs in each direction.

South AustraliaHouse of Assembly
Map of Adelaide, South Australia with electoral district of Adelaide highlighted
Electoral district of Adelaide (green) in the Greater Adelaide area
StateSouth Australia
MPRachel Sanderson
PartyLiberal Party of Australia (SA)
NamesakeAdelaide of Saxe-Meiningen
Electors24,928 (2018)
Area22.84 km2 (8.8 sq mi)
Coordinates34°54′28″S 138°36′5″E / 34.90778°S 138.60139°E / -34.90778; 138.60139Coordinates: 34°54′28″S 138°36′5″E / 34.90778°S 138.60139°E / -34.90778; 138.60139
Electorates around Adelaide:
Croydon Enfield Torrens
West Torrens Adelaide Dunstan
Badcoe Unley Unley
Electoral District map[1]

The electorate's name comes from the city which it encompasses, which is named after Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, the German born Queen consort of the King of England, King William IV.


The six-seat multi-member electoral district of City of Adelaide existed from 1857 to 1862.

The four-member electoral district of Adelaide was created by the Constitution Act Amendment Act, 1901 for the 1902 election from the districts of East Adelaide, West Adelaide and North Adelaide; together with the three-member Port Adelaide and five-member Torrens, the three districts with a total of 12-members covered the whole of the metropolitan area in the 42 member house.[2] The district had four members through to 1915.

Adelaide became a three-member district from the 1915 election, and then changed from a multi-member to single-member district upon the introduction of the Playmander from the 1938 election.[3]

For most of the next half-century, the electorate was comfortably safe for the Labor Party. A significant redistribution in 1983 saw the Labor two-party vote reduced from 66 percent to 47 percent, transforming it into a notional marginal Liberal electorate. However, Labor retained the seat at the 1985 election, albeit as the most marginal seat in parliament. Liberal Michael Armitage narrowly took the seat at the 1989 election – the first time that they or their predecessors, the Liberal and Country League, had won it in its single-member incarnation. The highest Liberal vote in Adelaide occurred at the landslide 1993 election, with the Liberal two-party vote rising to a safe 64.1 percent. However, it once again became a marginal Liberal seat at the 1997 election.

After the redistribution ahead of the 2002 election made the electorate even more marginal, Armitage tried to transfer to the safer Liberal electorate of Bragg, but lost a preselection battle to Vickie Chapman. Labor candidate Jane Lomax-Smith regained the seat for Labor at the 2002 election as a marginal seat, one of two gains that assisted Labor in forming government. It became a safe Labor seat at the landslide 2006 election on a 60.2 percent two-party vote, before the Liberals won Adelaide for the second time at the 2010 election on a two-party swing of over 14 percent, turning it from safe Labor to marginal Liberal. Despite a −1.8 percent two-party swing, the Liberals retained Adelaide at the 2014 election on a 52.4 percent two-party vote.

The 2016 electoral redistribution added the rest of Collinswood to the electorate, and moved the electorate's northern boundary from Regency Road to several blocks south of Regency Road, removing a significant amount of northern Prospect. This increased the Liberal margin from 2.4 percent to an estimated 3.0 percent. The draft of the 2016 Redistribution Report had proposed moving the Liberal-voting suburbs of Walkerville and Gilberton to a neighbouring electorate, but Liberal incumbent Rachel Sanderson proceeded with a concerted campaign, organising the mass letter-box distribution of a pro forma document in the two suburbs, which aimed for residents to use the pro forma document to submit their objection to the commission. Of a record 130 total submissions received in response to the overall draft redistribution, over three-quarters (about 100) were from the two letter-boxed suburbs, Walkerville and Gilberton, which resulted in the proposal not appearing in the final redistribution.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Although Sanderson suffered a further 2.0 percent two-party swing, she narrowly retained Adelaide at the 2018 election with a 51.0 percent two-party vote. With the Liberals winning government after 16 years in opposition, Adelaide became the government's second most marginal seat, behind only King. The Greens achieved their highest vote in an electorate at the 2018 election in Adelaide.[11]

Members for AdelaideEdit

Four-member electorate (1902–1915)
Member Party Term Member Party Term Member Party Term Member Party Term
  Lewis Cohen National League 1902–1906   Bill Denny Independent Liberal 1902–1905   Hugh Dixson 1902–1905   Theodor Scherk 1902–1905
  William David Ponder Labor 1905–1915   Ernest Roberts Labor 1905–1908   James Zimri Sellar Labor 1905–1906
  Bill Denny Labor 1906–1915
    Reginald Blundell Labor 1907–1915
    Edward Alfred Anstey Labor 1908–1915
Three-member electorate (1915–1938)
Member Party Term Member Party Term Member Party Term
  Bill Denny Labor 1915–1933   Reginald Blundell Labor 1915–1917   John Gunn Labor 1915–1917
  National 1917–1918   Bert Edwards Labor 1917–1931
  John Gunn Labor 1918–1926
  Herbert George Labor 1926–1933
  Parliamentary Labor 1931–1933     Martin Collaton Lang Labor 1931–1932
    Labor 1932–1933
  Doug Bardolph Lang Labor 1933–1934   Bob Dale Lang Labor 1933–1933   Tom Howard Lang Labor 1933–1933
  SA Lang Labor 1933–1934   SA Lang Labor 1933–1934
  Labor 1934–1935   Labor 1934–1938   Labor 1934–1938
  Independent 1935–1938
Member Party Term
  Doug Bardolph Independent 1938–1944
  Bob Dale Labor 1944–1947
  Herbert George Labor 1947–1950
  Sam Lawn Labor 1950–1971
  Jack Wright Labor 1971–1985
  Michael Duigan Labor 1985–1989
  Michael Armitage Liberal 1989–2002
  Jane Lomax-Smith Labor 2002–2010
  Rachel Sanderson Liberal 2010–present

Election resultsEdit

2018 South Australian state election: Adelaide[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Rachel Sanderson 10,226 47.2 −2.1
Labor Jo Chapley 7,750 35.8 +0.5
Greens Robert Simms 2,739 12.6 +0.7
Dignity Betty-Jean Price 946 4.4 +1.1
Total formal votes 21,661 97.8 −0.3
Informal votes 487 2.2 +0.3
Turnout 22,148 88.8 +2.4
Two-party-preferred result
Liberal Rachel Sanderson 11,043 51.0 −2.0
Labor Jo Chapley 10,618 49.0 +2.0
Liberal hold Swing −2.0


  1. ^ Electoral District of Adelaide (Map). Electoral Commission of South Australia. 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Parliamentary Electorates". The Adelaide Chronicle. 5 April 1902. p. 33 – via Trove.
  3. ^ "Statistical Record of the Legislature 1836 to 2009" (PDF). Parliament of South Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 March 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Submissions – (Downloadable list of all 130 submissions to the 2016 Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission)". Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission.
  5. ^ "Adelaide residents compared to 'Hyacinth Bucket' for lashing out at proposed electoral shift". Australia: ABC News. 22 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Patrician burghers of Adelaide lament: 'Won't someone think of the rotary clubs?'". InDaily. 22 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Libs' last-ditch bid for "electoral fairness"". InDaily. 28 September 2016.
  8. ^ "MPs make submissions into South Australian boundary changes". The Advertiser. 22 September 2016.
  9. ^ "2016 Draft Report" (PDF). Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission. 15 August 2016.
  10. ^ "2016 Final Report" (PDF). Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission. 8 December 2016.
  11. ^ Adelaide, 2018 SA election, Antony Green, ABC
  12. ^ State Election Results – District Results for Adelaide, ECSA.