South Australian election minus one week

With a week to go until polling day, further intelligence to the effect that it’s not looking good for Steven Marshall’s Liberal government.

John Ferguson of The Australian has the following to relate:

The most senior members of the government have been warned that unless there is a dramatic turnaround in sentiment in the next week Mr Marshall will lose on March 19, with community anger over the way the state was reopened late last year and ongoing virus anxiety still driving the backlash. Ominously for the federal government, Scott Morrison is seen privately as a significant drag for a section of voters in SA, who will refuse to vote for Mr Marshall simply because of their distaste for the Prime Minister, sources said.

In other developments, the electoral process has also had a hiccough with the Electoral Commission having to withdraw 80 votes cast in the first hour of business at the Christies Beach pre-poll centre, owing to the fact that an old version of the electoral roll was being used. The commission now has the task of chasing down the 80 voters and getting them to vote again.

For my part, I have now added a Legislative Council guide to my election guide, although I don’t regard it as being in a fully complete state, as it’s lacking in such features as candidate photos and proper proof-reading. Those will hopefully follow at some point over the weekend.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

48 comments on “South Australian election minus one week”

  1. Well, that quote from John Ferguson should shake quite a few in the Federal Liberal party, who may be still self-deludedly believe that “state and federal politics don’t mix up”…. Here in Queensland that would mean the loss of quite a few seats, including Dutton’s, hence the desperate effort of the 100% pro-Liberal media here to damage Anna Palaszczuk in the lead up to the federal election…. But the cunning plan doesn’t seem to be working at all….

  2. We, the hoi polloi, are starved of polling information which would enable us to make sensible judgements. My mates are gung-ho. I’m cautiously hopeful.

    All we have is an aging Newspoll (53-47 in favour of Labor), four Mickey Mouse individual seat polls with wide margins of error, and betting odds.

    One vulnerable Liberal seat has passed under the radar, with, I think, just one passing reference on this site.

  3. @The Toorak Toff – is that either Davenport or Dunstan you cite as the vulnerable Liberal seat? Both have long term Labor female candidates who both seem to have alot of community support….Davenport probably more so.

  4. Holdenhillbilly at 11.20am

    I wish there was a thing where the ACL was the Australian “Christian” Lobby, and the parties were “Christian” parties.

    If that lot are Christian, I must not be.

  5. I have just put a grand on a couple of seats. Not the biggest expert on SA politics but some nice easy money up for grabs with some of the odds on safe seats.

  6. MOFOS,



  7. William Bowe quoted part of an article written by the Australian’s John Ferguson concerning the views of campaign insiders [both Liberal and Labor] on the SA election. It seems Premier Marshall is in big trouble if the journalistic anecdote can be believed. If the comments had been accompanied by a Newspoll to support such a view [and reinforce the SA poll of a fortnight ago], then I would say it’s all over. But I can’t, at least not yet. Maybe there will be a poll on the Friday prior to Election Day that removes any doubt and supports the anti-government sentiment that seems to be around SA.

    If the Liberal government is defeated, then it confirms in my mind that in this case, voters have not followed the political tenet of distinguishing between state and federal issues. The management of the pandemic [ie. quarantine, vaccine roll-outs] has changed all that. They’ve conflated Marshall’s performance with that of Morrison’s, tarring Marshall the same brush laced with the perceived [maybe real] incompetence of the Morrison government on several fronts, ranging from bushfires, the pandemic to floods.

    Had Premier Marshall been permitted to call an early election [as did Tasmanian Premier Gutwein], he probably would have won hands down. As was seen with the NSW by-elections, voters have moved from outright fear and concern [where they trusted their government[s]] to irritation and anger [where they don’t]. Timing is everything in politics.

    It is becoming highly likely that Morrison and Perrettot are going to feel that irritation and anger. One of them in about 2 months. McGowan and Palaszczuk must be thanking their lucky stars that the voters’ verdicts on them are in.

  8. It is worth noting that there are four Liberal held seats with margins of two percent or under compared with just one for the labor party, so it seems that it will be an uphill battle for the liberal party.

  9. One thing that has flown largely under the Radar is the disunity at the heart of the S.A Liberals. The Deputy, and on again-off-again Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, has hardly been sighted, 2 (is it?) ex Lib. M.P.’s are running as Independents and I have lost count of the number still under investigation for alleged rorting of travel allowances and other matters. Definitely a ‘Team Divided’. And of course, turning Covid into a free-for-all and the Morrison factor, very big here, if S.A. Federal polling is anywhere near the mark, all combine to make it ‘difficult’ for Marshall. (Who will be watching his own seat!)

  10. My guess is the liberals will give up, they are hoping for a hung parliament scenario with only losing 1-2 seats, and labor hopeful they can get 2-3 seats and gain a independent to form government

  11. SA Election 2022: Former prime minister John Howard enters state campaign.

    That’s right folks, little Johnny is going to Adelaide on Tuesday and Wednesday next week to save the Marshmallow from humiliating one term defeat.

    Meanwhile the Tiser reports that –

    Sixty thousand people have voted ahead of next week’s state election – double the total for the same period in the 2018 poll.A further 140,000 eligible voters have far applied to have their say via postal vote – well past the 80,000 postal votes lodged during the last poll. The cut-off for applications ends at 5pm on March 17.

    The high voting numbers are expected to continue to surge in the lead-up to the
    March 19 election and delay the results of the poll – which is expected to be too close to call in the first 24 hours – by up to a week. Under South Australian law, postal and pre-poll votes, known as declaration votes, can only be counted from 9am Monday, and postal votes can be received up to a seven-days following election day.

    This election in SA is the next water mark Scomo will get to remind him that the Liberal brand in Australia is drowning in it’s own ineptitude.

  12. Antony Green is progressively tracking SA pre-poll and postal voting rates here:

    He also makes this comment, suggesting that it could be difficult to pick a winner on election night due to the pre-poll factor (and I’d think the likelihood given the current SA electoral map that there will only be 1 or 2 seats in it either way):

    ‘Unlike every other Australian jurisdiction, Pre-Poll and Postal votes cannot be counted on election night in South Australia. The higher the rate of pre-poll and postal voting, the fewer the votes available for counting on election night and the lower the likelihood we will know the winners on election night.”

    My impression – but it’s no more than that – is that there is no consistent way of predicting how pre-polls and postals will behave relative to the Election Day vote, to enable more informed predictions on election night.. The patterns seem to be patchy and localised – especially given the increase in postals in the COVID era.

  13. As the number of prepolls and postals gets higher and higher, the greater the statistical likelihood that the voting patterns will more closely resemble those of the population at large. Of course, in a close electoral battle, any small differences may still be important.

    Will this election be that close? I’m not convinced.

  14. I agree with Toorak Toff – why is there such a lack of information on this election, now only one week away?

    How do we know Marshall needs a miracle if we don’t know what that is based on?

    The Liberals bringing John Howard to Adelaide shows they know Morrison is now a liability.

  15. Support for Syksie’s view can be found with results from the NSW by election.

    There won’t be any definite outcome on Saturday night, unless there is a very significant swing to one side or the other and good leads in a clear majority of seats. More likely is that key marginals will be sitting on election night 51/49 or 52/48 type margins, and close enough to be overtaken by differences in prepoll votes. But I think we will have a pretty good idea about whether Labor can form a majority government.

    It will be an interesting night. I’m looking forward to it!

  16. If anger at opening up to Covid and virus anxiety is a factor at the SA election, then as per other elections, over 65’s should swing big.

    According to enrolment data, 49% of Finniss voters are over 65.

    The seat may have a big swing on election night if covid is still a factor.

    It might also be vulnerable to a minor party indie challenge. Finniss has had a history of strong minor party challenges in the past;

    – 2nd highest SA Best TCP % in 2018 (45.4%).
    – Nationals polled 17.5% primary with no sitting incumbent in 2006.
    – Democrats polled 23.5% primary and made the final count in 1997.

    There is a Teal-like indie, Lou Nicholson and a Nationals candidate, Joe Ienco running.

    One Nation, Family First and the Greens are the other minor parties contesting.

    The HTVs are OK for the Indie and the Nat, with Labor, FF and One Nation placing both above the sitting Lib, David Basham. Interestingly, FF and ON HTVs are placing Labor above Liberal.

    But the Nicholson is running an open ticket and the Nat, Ienco’s HTV is putting the Libs second. So it seems that either Nicholson or Ienco need to do very well and the other flops for a minor party to succeed in Finniss.

  17. Joe Ienco … that takes me back. He has been around the block a few times in SA politics. Ienco was the Labor candidate for Colton in the 1993 state election. Not a great election to be the Labor candidate …

    He then ran as an independent at least once (probably more, can’t remember), including this:

    Ienco would certainly poll well in the moustache of the year awards.

  18. I love when they trot out Howard to campaign. Nothing says a government for the 2020s than an octogenarian who was last relevant 15 years ago.

    I suppose Labor can’t really talk. They did like to make use of Hawke back in the day.

  19. Also, I am glad that regardless of how long it will take to know who is the winner, there is no way that somebody can “stop the count” if they are in a lead they are scared of losing as postals and pre-polls are counted. Some idiots can yell it if they want but they have no legal way of doing it. It’s good to have good, clear and strong electoral laws and an independent electoral commission carrying it out.

    That said, in the next term, parliament needs to change the laws to be in line with everywhere else and enable pre-polls and postals to be counted on the night.

  20. I think the Marshall Government, like the Morrison Government, wouldn’t sit Parliament to pass this legislation, Wat. It sat for what, a few days, this last year. You wonder why they would want to ‘Govern’, the Libs. What is the point of them?

  21. Rolling out Howard says to me that the SA Liberals have a real problem with older voters.

    Anyone under 35 will not have much interest in John Howard, and he’s not there to try and get their support.

    Hawkie was a bit different. He had a common man appeal that spanned generations in a way that few politicians can ever hope to achieve.

    If Labor wins, I wonder what Marshall will have to say about Morrison, especially given the latter’s appalling behaviour at Lot 14 towards the former. (Especially if Marshall loses his own seat and is out of politics)

  22. Who says it would be the Marshall Government introducing it? If the general consensus prediction is correct, it will be the Malinauskas Government who will be responsible.

  23. Matt Abraham in the Sunday Mail notes that Malinauskas has put quite a bit of effort in Kavel and Mount Gambier – seats which the sitting members won as Liberals but now seem ensconced as independents.

    A bit of insurance for Mali in case the ALP falls short?

  24. How many independents…seems likely 3 liberal independents .. and excellent chance for Mr Brock as long as he polls well in Port Pirie…Frances Bedford has also a chance but it is hard for an independent to win in.a ultra marginal. Seat

  25. I meant the fact that it hasn’t been legislated before now, when Labor urged the Government to do it before the Election, Wat.

  26. Honestly, the South Australian Liberals don’t really have a chance. Ever since Labor got over the Playmander years, the SA Libs have one gotten 1 term wonders every decade. The only time that they got more than one term was in the 90s where they won a 14 seat majority, and even when they got re-elected in 1997, they plunged down to a minority government.

  27. @Mick Quinlivan – I think it will be independents in Mt Gambier, Kavel and Narungga.

    Potentially Brock may secure Stuart however it is a much different electorate to his former heartland of Frome. The only other outliers as independents may be Finniss based on what @Isle of Rocks mentioned and potentially Hammond as again this is electorate has changed substantially in area and Airlie Keen is affiliated with Dan Cregan (was his office manager I think and she is an elected member on Murray Bridge Council) from what I gather. Not sure how much support the Incumbent Liberals have in Finniss and Hammond?

  28. Modbury Man: according to the ABC site, Keen was electorate officer for John Olsen and Mark Goldsworthy (the two members for Kavel before Cregan). Similar background to Rebekha Sharkie, and she won Mayo, so Hammond’s worth keeping an eye on.

    Marko: I doubt it. The Nats seem to be pretty moribund in SA – even when they held Chaffey or Flinders, they didn’t come near winning any other seats, and they sat the last two elections out completely. They seem to be making a play for the former SA Best vote, by running some of their former candidates.

  29. Wat Tyler at 11.34am

    I’ve been to a few cricket Tests at the SCG. Until recent years, both Howard and Hawke (10 years older than Howard, so stopped several years ago) would attend a day or two.

    The TV cameras would pan across the crowd and pause on…John Howard! Chorus of boos followed.

    Later, the cameras might find…Bob Hawke! Chorus of rousing cheers, Hawke raises his glass to the crowd. You bet Labor involved Hawke in campaigning post-PMship.

  30. As an outsider, I can’t help not remarking that I think SA is the best run gov in oz, whether it’s lnp or alp. I’ve lived there for a time 10 years or so, ago and loved the place. But as far as the things that need to get sorted by the gov, the energy transformation started by the ALP and continued by the LNP is unlikely to change regardless of who wins. They started that transformation, and every other state is playing catch up.

  31. Q: I think SA is the best run gov in oz

    I moved here from Sydney 4.5 years ago…..I think SA does well because unike the other states its slower growth has allowed it to keep on top of infrastructure (roads, rail, urban amenity, schools, parks etc) better than the other states. In Adelaide and its regional cities. My friends often say everything looks gold plated here…..
    Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth by comparison are straining under the weight of tear away growth….of course Adelaide only having 1.5 mllion people helps.

  32. @torchbearer I think SA does well because unike the other states its slower growth has allowed it to keep on top of infrastructure (roads, rail)

    Wow, I must live in a different city. Our roads and rail have gone backwards over the last 4yrs.

    Infrastructure has slowed to a minimum. The projects that have been completed, Darlington and Torrens to Torrens, Flinders Train, Oakland’s Train station were started by pervious Gov. The current gov has dropped the ball when it comes to building.

  33. Q: Our roads and rail have gone backwards over the last 4yrs.

    Totally agree…I meant over a longer time frame…the rail is looking graffiti strewn and run-down since Marshalls moronic privatisation.
    All the completed projects over the last few years were Labor projects the Liberals opposed.

  34. SA Voter, no offence, but it sounds like you are only noticing the stuff in your local area. Adelaide’s roads have been continuously being dug up and rebuilt over the last 4 years, e.g. the bottom end of the freeway, the destruction of half of Norwood and Maylands to widen Portrush Road, the works now underway at various points along Fullarton Rd, the endless works down near Flinders and along South Road. If anything I would argue we have an idiotic amount of roadworks for a small state and the money that goes into them should be going into public transport.

  35. Patrick in short LOL.

    The work at Flinders was already being done by Labor. The Libs did nothing around that project besides cutting the ribbon. Same with the Northern Expressway.

    The flinders rail line extension was a Lib/lab promise, again by pervious Gov not current.

    The SE freeway, oh wow, they resurfaced it, they have widen a few intersections.

    No offence mate, but the last four years has seen this mini projects stated or completed but nothing major.

    Nothing to complete the South Road from Torrens to Darlington. It’s been four years of meetings, design, redesign and announcements, which has resulted in nothing built.

    The Libs election has even mentioned the South Road Build! You would think it would have made a mention.

    The roads you have mentioned are all eastern suburb, blue weather seats, around Norwood. Travel to the western suburbs and it’s a joke, Brighton road has more pot holes, than sand castles on the beach.

  36. BH @ #44 Monday, March 14th, 2022 – 1:48 pm

    Will Nick Champion be successful switching from Fed to State?

    Yes. The seat he is running for is an extremely safe Labor seat.

    On that topic, I am amused by recent efforts to paint him as a carpetbagger because he doesn’t live in the area. While, normally, that charge might stick, I can’t think of a worse politician to levy that charge against. Regardless of what you think of the guy, he has been ubiquitous to Northern Suburbs politics for over a decade now.

  37. Thanks Wat. I have friends in that area who are die hard Libs.

    My rellies (numerous) and other friends all live on the other side of Anzac Highway. Ancestors arrived in Holdfast Bay early and most descendants stayed in the area – such stick in the muds! I love the place but our annual trips are over as OH can no longer travel.

    Hope the good guys win on Saturday.

  38. They should make it mandatory to have ALL the booths with how to vote info for every party. I have been to venues 3 times for voting where only liberal slips where given out and some unheard of parties.
    Bit unfair!

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