Electoral district of Light

Light is a single-member electoral district for the South Australian House of Assembly. As its area overlaps or is adjacent to the south western portion of the Light Regional Council and the south bank of the Light River, it is indirectly named after Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor-General of South Australia. The electorate was created in 1857, abolished at the 1902 election and recreated at the 1938 election.[2] It is based on the semi-rural township of Gawler, and stretches southwards into the outermost northern suburbs of Adelaide.

South AustraliaHouse of Assembly
Electoral district of Light 2018.png
Electoral district of Light (green) in South Australia
StateSouth Australia
Dates current1857–1902, 1938–present
MPTony Piccolo
PartyAustralian Labor Party (SA)
NamesakeColonel William Light
Electors25,990 (2018)
Area62.36 km2 (24.1 sq mi)
Electorates around Light:
Schubert Schubert Schubert
Taylor Light King
Taylor Taylor Elizabeth
Electoral District map[1]

Covering a total area of 62.36 km², Light consists of the suburbs of Buchfelde, Evanston Gardens, Evanston Park, Evanston South, Gawler, Gawler East, Gawler South, Gawler West, Hewett, Hillier, Kudla, Munno Para, Munno Para Downs, Munno Para West, Reid, and Willaston. Although growing urbanisation in recent years has resulted in the Adelaide area spilling into Gawler, Light is classed as a rural electorate.

The electorate was held by the Liberal Party and its predecessor, the Liberal and Country League, for all but one term from its re-creation in 1938 until 2006. For most of that time, it was a fairly safe to safe LCL/Liberal seat.

A redistribution prior to the 2002 election pushed Light further into the outer Adelaide suburbs, paring back the margin from a fairly safe 6.3 percent to an extremely marginal 1.1 percent. At the 2002 election, Liberal incumbent Malcolm Buckby picked up a small swing in his favour and retained the electorate even as the Liberals lost government. In 2006 Tony Piccolo became the second Labor member to win the electorate, and the first Labor member for the electorate in 62 years. At the 2010 election he increased his margin against the statewide trend and decades of voting patterns in the seat, and became the first Labor member to be re-elected to Light. His victory was one of two that allowed Labor to hold onto a narrow majority despite losing the two-party vote.

A redistribution prior to the 2014 election reduced Labor's margin significantly from 5.3 percent to 2.8 percent, but Labor again retained the electorate with an unchanged margin. After a redistribution slightly increased the Labor margin to 54 percent, Piccolo retained the seat in 2018 with a healthy swing of almost six percent, enough to make Light a fairly safe Labor seat (and just on the edge of being safe). This came even as Labor lost government, marking only the second time that the conservatives have been in government without holding Light.

The electorate's first member in its current incarnation as a single-member seat was Premier and LCL founder Richard Layton Butler, who held the electorate for a few months in 1938 before making an unsuccessful attempt to transfer to federal politics. Other particularly notable members include Bruce Eastick, leader of the LCL/Liberals from 1972 to 1975 and Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly during the Tonkin government.


Two members (1857–1875)
Member Party Term Member Party Term
  J. T. Bagot 1857–1865   Carrington Smedley 1857–1857
  W. H. Maturin 1858–1858
  David Shannon 1858–1860
  Francis Dutton 1860–1862
  John Rowe 1862–1862
  Francis Dutton 1862–1865
  P. B. Coglin 1865–1868   John Rounsevell 1865–1868
  John Hart Sr. 1868–1870   William Lewis 1868–1870
  Edward Hamilton 1870–1871   James Pearce 1870–1875
  James White 1871–1871
  Mountifort Conner 1871–1873
  R. I. Stow 1873–1875
Three members (1875–1884)
Member Party Term Member Party Term Member Party Term
  James White 1875–1881   David Nock 1875–1878   Jenkin Coles 1875–1878
  James Shannon 1878–1881   F. S. Carroll 1878–1878
  David Moody 1878–1881
  Jenkin Coles 1881–1884   H. V. Moyle 1881–1884   Robert Dixson 1881–1884
Two members (1884–1902)
Member Party Term Member Party Term
  Jenkin Coles 1884–1891   David Moody 1884–1887
  Paddy Glynn 1887–1890
  J. W. White 1890–1891
  Defence League 1891–1896   Defence League 1891–1896
  1896–1902   David Moody 1896–1899
  F. W. Paech 1899–1902
Single-member (1938–present)
Member Party Term
  Richard Layton Butler Liberal and Country 1938–1938
  Herbert Michael Liberal and Country 1939–1941
  Sydney McHugh Labor 1941–1944
  Herbert Michael Liberal and Country 1944–1956
  George Hambour Liberal and Country 1956–1960
  Leslie Nicholson Liberal and Country 1960–1962
  John Freebairn Liberal and Country 1962–1970
  Bruce Eastick Liberal and Country 1970–1974
  Liberal 1974–1993
  Malcolm Buckby Liberal 1993–2006
  Tony Piccolo Labor 2006–present

Election resultsEdit

2018 South Australian state election: Light[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labor Tony Piccolo 11,906 52.8 +6.0
Liberal Karen McColl 7,527 33.4 −7.0
Greens Felicity Green 1,606 7.1 +1.3
Conservatives Carl Teusner 1,525 6.8 −0.3
Total formal votes 22,564 95.9 −1.2
Informal votes 953 4.1 +1.2
Turnout 23,517 90.5 +8.4
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Tony Piccolo 13,516 59.9 +5.9
Liberal Karen McColl 9,048 40.1 −5.9
Labor hold Swing +5.9


  1. ^ Electoral District of Light (Map). Electoral Commission of South Australia. 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Statistical Record of the Legislature 1836 to 2009" (PDF). Parliament of South Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 March 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  3. ^ State Election Results – District Results for Light, ECSA.