ID 0406

Parliament of South Australia, Assembly election

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General election for the Assembly South Australia 
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day) 15 September 1979

Government in office and parliamentary support before and after the election

Government in office at election

Premier in office at date of election. (check notes to see if change of Premier since previous election) James Desmond Corcoran
Premier's party affiliation Australian Labor Party 
Assembly support for government at election Majority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. David Oliver Tonkin
Premier's party affiliation Liberal Party
Assembly support for government after election Majority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll 826,586 
Number of Assembly seats 47 
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats  
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 826,586 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 769,080 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 93.04% 
Total valid votes 734,976 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 4.43%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system Not applicable
Electoral system Universal franchise (at 18 years from 1973), single member districts, preferential voting (AV), compulsory preferences, compulsory voting 


South Australia, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 15 September 1979
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

Party Name First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won n Uncontested seats held n Seat share %
Liberal Party 352,343  47.94  +6.73     25  53.19 
Australian Labor Party 300,277  40.86  -10.78     19  40.43 
Australian Democrats 60,979  8.30  +4.82     2.13 
National Country Party 14,013  1.91  +0.31     2.13 
Independents 7,364  1.00  +0.61     2.13 
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  -0.23          
Totals 734,976  100.00    47  100.00 

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Premier in office at election: Corcoran replaced Dunstan as premier on 15 February 1979.

References: For comment on the decline of the Australian Labor Party vote at this election, see Blair Baldock, 'Was the South Australian Labor Party Struck Down by a Bus?', Politics, 17(1) May 1982: 77-83


Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, Rushcutters Bay, NSW: Australian National University Press, 1986 (ISBN 0 08 033038 X).

There are small discrepancies in calculating the total valid vote given by Hughes (1986), and differences between these figures and those given by Jaensch (1986).