Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch)
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Australian Labor Party South Australian Branch
Australian Labor Party
(South Australian Branch)
LeaderPeter Malinauskas
Deputy LeaderSusan Close
PresidentKatrine Hildyard
SecretaryReggie Martin [1]
Founded1891; 129 years ago (1891)
Headquarters141 Gilles Street, Adelaide
Youth wingSouth Australian Young Labor
National affiliationAustralian Labor Party
SA House of Assembly
SA Legislative Council
Australian House of Representatives
(SA seats)
Australian Senate
(SA seats)

The Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch), commonly known as South Australian Labor, is the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party, originally formed in 1891 as the United Labor Party of South Australia. It is one of two major parties in the bicameral Parliament of South Australia, the other being the Liberal Party of Australia (SA Division).

Since the 1970 election, marking the beginning of democratic proportional representation (one vote, one value) and ending decades of pro-rural electoral malapportionment known as the Playmander, Labor have won 11 of the 15 elections. Spanning 16 years and 4 terms, Labor was last in government from the 2002 election until the 2018 election. Jay Weatherill led the Labor government since a 2011 leadership change from Mike Rann. During 2013 it became the longest-serving state Labor government in South Australian history, and in addition went on to win a fourth four-year term at the 2014 election.

Labor's most notable historic Premiers of South Australia include Thomas Price in the 1900s, Don Dunstan in the 1970s and John Bannon in the 1980s.


ULP parliamentarians following the 1893 colonial election.

A United Trades and Labor Council meeting with the purpose of creating an elections committee was convened on 12 December 1890, and held on 7 January 1891. The elections committee was formed, officially named the United Labor Party of South Australia (unlike state Labor, prior to 1912 their federal counterparts included the 'u' in their spelling of Labour) with John McPherson the founding secretary. Four months later, Labor enjoyed immediate success, electing David Charleston, Robert Guthrie and Andrew Kirkpatrick to the South Australian Legislative Council. A week later, Richard Hooper won the 1891 Wallaroo by-election as an Independent Labor member in the South Australian House of Assembly. McPherson won the 1892 East Adelaide by-election on 23 January, becoming the first official Labor leader and member of the House of Assembly.

Prior to party creation, South Australian politics had lacked parties or solid groupings, although loose liberal and conservative blocs had begun to develop by the end of the 1880s. The 1893 election was the first general election Labor would stand at, resulting in liberal and conservative leaning MPs beginning to divide, additionally with unidentified groupings and independents, as well as the subsequent formation of the staunchly anti-Labor National Defence League. The voluntary turnout rate increased from 53 to 68 percent, with Labor on 19 percent of the vote, and 10 Labor candidates including McPherson and Hooper were elected to the 54-member House of Assembly which gave Labor the balance of power. The Kingston liberal government was formed with the support of Labor, ousting the Downer conservative government. Kingston served as Premier for a then-record of six and a half years, usually implementing legislation with Labor support.

Thomas Price formed the state's first Labor minority government and the world's first stable Labor Party government at the 1905 election with the support of several non-Labor MPs to form the Price-Peake administration, which was re-elected at the 1906 double dissolution election, with Labor falling just two seats short of a majority. So successful, John Verran led Labor to form the state's first of many majority governments at the 1910 election, just two weeks after the 1910 federal election where their federal counterparts formed Australia's first elected majority in either house in the Parliament of Australia, the world's first Labor Party majority government at a national level, and after the 1904 Chris Watson minority government the world's second Labor Party government at a national level.[2][3][4]

Known as the United Labor Party of South Australia until 1917, the Australian Labor Party at both a state/colony and federal level pre-dates, among others, both the British Labour Party and the New Zealand Labour Party in party formation, government, and policy implementation.[5]


Parliamentary Party Leader
Peter Malinauskas.jpg
Peter Malinauskas

since 9 April 2018
Inaugural holderJohn McPherson

Thirteen of the nineteen parliamentary Labor leaders have served as Premier of South Australia: Thomas Price (1905-1909), John Verran (1910-1912), Crawford Vaughan (1915-1917), John Gunn (1924-1926), Lionel Hill (1926-1927 and 1930-1931; expelled from party but continued as Premier until 1933), Frank Walsh (1965-1967), Don Dunstan (1967-1968 and 1970-1979), Des Corcoran (1979), John Bannon (1982-1992), Lynn Arnold (1992-1993), Mike Rann (2002-2011) and Jay Weatherill (2011-2018). Robert Richards was Premier in 1933 while leading the rebel Parliamentary Labor Party of MPs who had been expelled in the 1931 Labor split; he would later be readmitted and lead the party in opposition. Bannon is Labor's longest-serving Premier of South Australia, ahead of Rann and Dunstan by a matter of weeks. Every Labor leader for more than half a century has gone on to serve as Premier.

Deputy Premiers

Since the position's formal introduction in 1968, seven parliamentary Labor deputy leaders have served as Deputy Premier of South Australia: Des Corcoran (1968 and 1970-1979), Hugh Hudson (1979), Jack Wright (1982-1985), Don Hopgood (1985-1992), Frank Blevins (1992-1993), Kevin Foley (2002-2011) and John Rau (2011-18). Foley is the state's longest-serving Deputy Premier.

List of parliamentary leaders

Current federal parliamentarians



Historic party officials

State election results

Election Leader Seats won ± Total votes % Position
1893 John McPherson
Increase10 16,458 18.8% Third party
Increase2 39,107 24.3% Third party
1899 Lee Batchelor
Decrease1 40,756 25.4% Third party
1902 Thomas Price
Decrease6 48,515 19.9% Opposition
Increase10 148,550 41.3% Minority government
Increase5 143,577 44.8% Minority government
1910 John Verran
Increase2 197,935 49.1% Majority government
Decrease6 253,163 46.7% Opposition
1915 Crawford Vaughan
Increase10 153,034 45.9% Majority government
1918 Andrew Kirkpatrick
Decrease9 145,093 44.7% Opposition
1921 John Gunn
Decrease1 179,308 44.6% Opposition
Increase11 192,256 48.4% Majority government
1927 Lionel Hill
Decrease11 243,450 47.9% Opposition
Increase14 102,194 48.6% Majority government
1933 Edgar Dawes
Decrease24 48,273 27.8% Opposition
1938 Andrew Lacey
Increase3 57,124 26.1% Opposition
1941 Robert Richards
Increase2 56,062 33.3% Opposition
Increase5 105,298 42.5% Opposition
Decrease3 133,959 48.6% Opposition
1950 Mick O'Halloran
Decrease1 134,952 48.1% Opposition
Increase2 166,517 50.9% Opposition
Increase1 129,853 47.4% Opposition
Increase2 191,933 49.3% Opposition
1962 Frank Walsh
Increase2 219,790 53.9% Opposition
Increase2 274,432 55.0% Majority government
1968 Don Dunstan
Decrease2 292,445 51.9% Opposition
Increase8 305,478 51.6% Majority government
Decrease1 324,135 51.5% Majority government
Decrease3 321,481 46.3% Majority government
Increase4 383,831 51.6% Majority government
1979 Des Corcoran
Decrease7 300,277 40.8% Opposition
1982 John Bannon
Increase5 353,999 46.3% Majority government
Increase3 393,652 48.2% Majority government
Decrease5 346,268 40.1% Minority government
1993 Lynn Arnold
Decrease12 277,038 30.4% Opposition
1997 Mike Rann
Increase11 312,929 35.2% Opposition
Increase2 344,559 36.4% Minority government
Increase5 424,715 45.2% Majority government
Decrease2 367,480 37.5% Majority government
2014 Jay Weatherill
Decrease3 364,420 35.8% Minority government
Decrease4 343,896 32.8% Opposition

Note: Following the 2014 election, the Labor minority government won the 2014 Fisher by-election which took them to 24 of 47 seats and therefore majority government. Prior to the 2018 election, a Labor MP became an independent, reducing them back to a minority 23 seats.

See also


  1. ^ Owen, Michael (17 July 2015). "Labor's South Australian candidates line up for preselection". The Australian. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ "History of South Australian elections 1857-2006, volume 1 - ECSA". Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ Sound of Trumpets: History of the Labour Movement in South Australia - By Jim Moss
  4. ^ Why did a 'labour movement' emerge in South Australia in the 1880s? - By Nicholas Klar
  5. ^ "Australian Labor Party". 6 October 2013. Retrieved 2014.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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