min read

2022 South Australian Election Results Summary

Published on
March 20, 2022
William Wright
for GovConnex Research
Before GovConnex Research is published here, it's sent exclusively to GovConnex Platform subscribers.

What you need to know now:

South Australia has a new Labor government.

  • South Australia has a new Premier, charismatic 41 year old Peter Malinaukas has been elected the 47th premier of the state.
  • While most predicted a Labor victory, the magnitude of the swing is unexpected.
  • At least 5 Liberal seats have been gained by Labor, with postal/early votes to come, this could extend to as many as 6.
  • Independents are expected to pick up a further 2 seats off the Liberal Party (Finniss and Stuart).
  • Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan lost his seat of Stuart to independent Geoff Brock (Brock previously held the seat of Frome).
  • Stephen Mulligan is likely to be the new treasurer
  • Former Liberal and current independent speaker Dan Cregan was re-elected in Kavel. On the night, he told Sky News that he was still ambitious to serve as speaker under Labor.
  • Nick Xenphon’s SA-BEST won 14% of the primary vote in 2018, failing to pick up any seats. SA-BEST did not contest this election, with many of their votes flowing to Labor.
  • The contemporary norm for South Australian politics returns. Labor held government from 2002-18, before losing to Marshall in 2018.
  • Likely final result: ALP 28 (+9) LIB 15 (-5) IND 4(-2).


Why This Matters:

  • This is the first post-Covid electoral casualty. Conventional wisdom that Covid leaders would be rewarded for their pandemic leadership has proven untrue in South Australia’s case.
  • The larger than expected swing is a warning for the federal Liberal party going into the May election.
  • This could be the beginning of a wave of Labor governments at a state and federal level.



Labor’s Major Promises:


  • $3.1 billion of spending.
  • Labor has pledged $120m to a new ambulance headquarters and an upheaval of the health system, this was the centrepiece of their campaign.
  • Bringing the Adelaide 500 Supercars race back to the state.
  • Scrapping the controversial $662 million “Riverbank Arena”, a 15,000 capacity stadium and redirecting that money to the health system.
  • Redeveloping the Adelaide Aquatic centre, pledging $80m.
  • Labor has promised universal preschool for three year olds by 2026, They have also committed to establishing a royal commission into the state's early learning system as well as $175m to build five technical colleges.

The New Premier Peter Malinauskas (Labor)

Charismatic, young, 41 year old Malinuaksas has served in the South Australian House of Assembly since 2018, following three years in the Legislative Council and a senior union career as South Australian Secretary of the SDA. Malinuaksas belongs to the Labor right faction and describes himself as “socially conservative” when asked about progressive politics in 2011 he stated:

"I didn't get involved in the Australian labour movement because of any of these issues. I believe in the fair go but I get frustrated with left-wing ideology that focuses more on imposing equality than providing for equality of opportunity”.

Malinuaksas is married with three kids and supports the Adelaide Crows (at 41, he still plays Australian rules for the Adelaide University Football Club). Malinauskas’ working class seat of Croydon is the safest seat in the state with a margin of 23.3%.


Victory speech summary:

“The Liberal party are not our enemies, they may be our adversaries but they are not our enemies”

“True satisfaction will come in realising our ambition”

Quoting former US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter “The highest office in any democracy, is the office of citizen”

Malinuaksas took the stage at the Adelaide Oval at 9:40 pm ACDT

  • He started by acknowledging the indigenous and noted an indigenous man would be leading the state's indigenous portfolio for the first time ever.
  • He acknowledged the Liberal party and the “class” of Steven Marshall, stating that the Liberal party is a “crucial component of federation”, this was met with a mixed response from his Labor party room.
  • He then acknowledged his colleagues and his family.
  • Spoke of a Syrian refugee family voting for the first time that he met on the morning of the election, and the beauty that his vote is worth the same as theirs.
  • Spoke with positivity to rebuilding the economy post Covid.
  • Finished by stating that we “must treat others better than we treat ourselves”.

Watch the full speech here:

Steven Marshall

“Thank you for your support, we have immeasurably changed South Australia, I have never felt more positive about the future of our state. It has been an honour and a privilege”


Just before 9 pm ACDT Steven Marshall conceded the election, his speech invoked:

  • South Australian patriotism, thanking the people of SA and expressing his love for the state.
  • Spoke about the difficult times of Covid, Bushfires, and Floods.
  • He touched on his government's achievements: Record full time employment, more young people coming to SA, record exports, and have “turned off the brain drain”. A reference to his focus on making SA a startup friendly state.
  • He thanked his team and family.
  • Spoke of his love of the Liberal party, his parents grew up voting Labor.

Watch the full speech here:

Changing Seats:

Newland (+6.6% swing ALP win)

King (+8.0% swing ALP win)

Adelaide (+6.8% swing ALP win)

Elder (+7.5% swing ALP win)

Stuart (+27.5% swing IND win) Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan’s seat, lost to popular independent and former member for Frome.

Davenport (+12.0% swing ALP win)

Too Close to Call

Dunstan Premier Steven Marshall’s seat - on current count Marshall should hold on, but the result will not be final for days.

Waite Liberal Alexander Hyde leads marginally.

Finniss Independent Lou Nicholson is likely to defeat David Basham, Finniss has the highest pre-poll vote in the state, so expect a wait for final results.

Gibson Labor candidate Sarah Andrews leads incumbent Sarah Andrews, this would be a 10% swing to Labor, a seat they did not predict to take.

New Members:

Ashton Hurn LIB (Schubert)

Rhiannon Pearce  ALP (King)

Olivia Savvas ALP (Newland)

John Fulbrook ALP (Fulbrook)

Nick Champion ALP (Taylor)

Penny Pratt LIB (Frome)

Media Reaction:

The Adelaide Advertiser: “It’s party time for Labor and their Mr Incredible”.

The Australian: “Marshall, Libs handed stunning wipeout poll”.

The Age/Sydney Morning Herald: “Labor secures stunning election win in South Australia”.

ABC News: “Labor pulls off stunning election victory in SA, ousting Liberals after one term”.

Subscribe to newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest insight, research and analysis to your inbox.

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
min read

2023 Federal Budget Summary

Everything you need to know about the 2023 Australian federal Budget.
min read

2023 Australian Federal Budget Announcement Tracker

Track all the key policy announcements in the lead up to the May 9 Australian federal budget.
min read

2023 NSW Election Preview: Webinar

The New South Wales election is coming up on Saturday 25th March 2023. Become an expert on the race and leave with tangible tips you can action as a public affairs professional.
min read

2023 New South Wales Election Power Rankings

2023 New South Wales Election Power Rankings

Want to explore more?

Sign up to see GovConnex in action

Join our newsletter to receive research, analysis and insight.
By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy and provide consent to receive updates from our company.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.