South Australian election live

Live commentary of the counting for the South Australian state election.

10.00pm. ABC now calling King for Labor; Nine now has Labor ahead in Dunstan but the ABC does not concur.

9.20pm. Since next to no attention has been paid to Labor-held seats, it’s worth noting that Leon Bignell has picked up a 13.4% swing in Mawson, and that this maintains an unblemished record of five successive swings since he entered politics in 2006.

9.08pm. Very early days yet with 2.2% counted, but One Nation and the Liberal Democrats look at least competitive for upper house seats. Assuming a starting point of four apiece for Liberal and Labor and one for the Greens, there’s two loose seats available, although presumably Labor will end up in the hunt for a fifth.

8.55pm. The ABC computer is only calling Adelaide, Davenport, Elder and Newland for Labor, but that doesn’t count Florey, so Labor gets to a bare majority on 24 by that reckoning. Labor is now also looking pretty good in King. Gibson is lineball; the Liberals appear to have a slight advantage in Dunstan, Heysen, King, Morialta and Waite.

8.53pm. The independent who by some lights is likely to win Finniss, Lou Nicholson, is actually coming third on the primary vote and will need preferences to run down Labor. Failing that, the Liberals will fairly comfortably win at the final count over Labor.

8.43pm. Labor’s lead in Elder has widened since that previous update, so you can probably call that the magic 24.

8.39pm. In spite of everything, the only Liberal-held seats I would say are nailed down for Labor are Adelaide, Newland and Davenport. Taken together with the easy gain of Florey, this means they need one further seat to close the deal. This could be provided by King, Unley, Elder or Gibson, where Labor is ahead but not it seems to me decisively so, or by Dunstan, Morialta (which I haven’t mentioned yet) and Heysen (where the Liberals’ situation has improved) where they are very slightly behind.

8.24pm. I haven’t mentioned Narungga yet — Liberal-turned-independent Fraser Ellis leads on the primary vote 35.1% to 31.9%, but the count here isn’t very far advanced.

8.16pm. Independent Airlie Keen will be in with a show in Hammond if she can come second, but it seems quite a bit more likely she’ll finish behind Labor.

8.14pm. I hadn’t yet given any thought to Colton, where the Liberals have their nose in front with still only 7.7% of the vote counted.

8.12pm. Labor leads about 55-45 on the raw TCP in King, but the projection has this at 51.6-48.4, which is too narrow to call with only five booths out of 12 in on primary and four in on TCP.

8.08pm. Both the ABC and Nine are calling the election for Labor. The ABC computer is now calling Finniss for the independent, to add to Labor’s four gains in Adelaide, Davenport, Elder and Newland. On top of those, Nine has Labor ahead in Dunstan, King and Unley, plus it seems Geoff Brock is going to win Stuart.

8.02pm. Something I haven’t heard mentioned: independent Lou Nicholson is looking highly competitive in Liberal-held Finniss.

8.01pm. The ABC now calling four seats for Labor: Adelaide, Davenport, Elder and Newland. Which is presumably why Antony is saying he’s almost near calling the election for Labor.

7.56pm. Nine has Labor ahead in the following Liberal-held seats: Unley, Elder, Adelaide, Davenport, Newland and now Black. However, King, one of the four especially marginal Liberal seats, is lineball.

7.53pm. I earlier made the caution there were only three booths in from Stuart and they were all from Geoff Brock’s stamping ground in Frome — now there are 13 booths from a wider sample, and Geoff Brock is still romping in with 42.4% of the primary vote to Dan van Holst Pellekaan’s 34.2%, with preferences sure to go heavily to Brock.

7.51pm. The ABC is no longer calling Dunstan for Labor, but it is calling Elder now, on top of Davenport and Elder.

7.48pm. Early numbers from Adelaide appear to bear out the consensus that Labor will win. King also looks encouraging for Labor, but too early to say. Frances Bedford coming third in Newland, Labor looking good. So while there’s a lot to juggle here, it’s pretty hard not to see Labor gaining four seats. ABC calling Adelaide, well and truly.

7.46pm. For what it’s worth, the ABC computer is calling Dunstan for Labor. But the Nine computer certainly doesn’t agree. It’s also calling Elder on the television, though not on the website — Antony announcing it’s going back and forth.

7.43pm. Overall primary vote swings: Labor up 6.7%, Liberal down 3.7%, Greens up 3.8%. There is a 14.7% SA Best vote that has largely vanished, but much of it has scattered evenly among minor parties (including the Greens, who were subdued last time due to SA-Best’s strength).

7.38pm. The only seat either Nine or the ABC is calling as changing hands is Davenport, called for Labor by the ABC. But the Liberals are at least in trouble in Dunstan, Hartley, Heysen, Elder, Newland and King, and there’s nothing yet from Adelaide which most have pencilled in as a Labor gain.

7.36pm. The view seems to be that Labor have won Elder, but the ABC’s projection looks a bit strange to my eye and is only pointing to a small two-party swing. But the primary swing to Labor is rather a lot bigger than that. Stuart is looking good for Geoff Brock, but I do believe we’re talking three booths and all of them were in Frome before, so this could look very different later in the night.

7.30pm. We’re starting to get advanced enough that I’m trusting what the Nine computer is telling me. Dunstan and Hartley are looking very close, and the Liberals absolutely have to win them both. The system isn’t actually calling any Labor gains, but it has Davenport, Newland and Unley as probable, with seats they will probably win like Adelaide too early.

7.28pm. Antony’s calling a swing of about 8% across the metropolitan area. You could still plot out a worst case scenario there where they get really unlucky and fall short, particularly if they can hold out in King which we don’t know about yet. Against that though, Davenport at least is looking very bleak for the Liberals further up the pendulum, and it’s not the only one.

7.24pm. The most advanced count is Heysen, which looks lineball with a swing of about 7%.

7.21pm. Though better news for the Liberals seemingly from Hartley. The first booth from Dunstan is a little bit less than what Labor would need on my reading.

7.16pm. Two booths in from Davenport — here too a big swing to Labor, around 13%, enough for Labor to win if it keeps up. So there’s definitely a trend emerging and it’s not good for the Liberals.

7.13pm. Three booths in from Unley and the Liberals look in trouble here too — a swing of around 10%, roughly enough to account for the margin. Waite looks complicated with two independents reporting solidly in third and fourth place.

7.07pm. Four booths in now on the primary vote from Elder, and so far at least there seems to be a big enough swing to reel it in.

7.04pm. So far I’ve made it look like a Liberal bloodbath, but the picture is more mixed than that — there are rogue Liberal swings I’m seeing in Enfield, Cheltenham and MacKillop, so overall it’s the usual early count confusion. What is interesting is that Dan van Holst Pellekaan is running third in the first booth in Stuart, which comes from Port Augusta. Again though, small numbers, too early to say.

6.56pm. 173 votes in at Ashbourne in Heysen swing nearly 9% to Labor.

6.49pm. Ottoway booth in from Cheltenham, which is right up near the boundary with (from memory) Port Adelaide. Here there is a 4% swing to the Liberals, who could potentially be above par here because Jay Weatherill was the candidate in 2018. Tom Koutsantonis on the ABC says a booth in Kavel suggests Dan Cregan should beat his Liberal opponent, and that there’s a big swing to Labor in a booth in Lee.

6.41pm. Robertstown booth in from Frome. 10% swing to Labor on the Nine preference estimate. ECSA’s two-candidate count here will be between Liberal and an independent, but the independent is a fairly distant fourth in this booth.

6.36pm. Now a tiny booth in Port Adelaide — Mawson Lakes, 77 votes, similar story in that this is redistributed area. Here too though there’s a huge swing to Labor of over 20% — and the Liberals have come fourth here, behind Family First and the Greens.

6.33pm. The first booth is not in the state is not in the country, as it usually is — it’s Glenunga in Unley, which has been transferred in the redistribution from Bragg. According to the Nine system, it’s swung by 14.5% to Labor — but we’re talking 254 votes here, and the redistribution may have muddied the waters.

6pm. With polls closed, I’m now at liberty to relate the curious decisions the Electoral Commission has made about the two-candidate preferred counts it will conduct this evening, which seem to have been made with a view to testing for surprise independent breakthroughs rather than picking who are objectively most likely to be the two leading candidates. They have been predictably chosen to throw between the Liberals and independent incumbents in Kavel (Dan Cregan), Mount Gambier (Troy Bell), Narungga (Fraser Ellis) and Stuart (Geoff Brock, who is attempting to move to the seat from Frome), but less expected is that they will do the same with non-incumbent independents in Finniss (Lou Nicholson), Frome (Cate Hunter), Hammond (Airlie Keen) and, especially, Heather Holmes-Ross in Waite. The latter will no doubt displease the seat’s actual Liberal-turned-independent member, Sam Duluk.

5.30pm. Half-an-hour until polls close. No exit polls this evening, it seems. I’m spending the evening in the back rooms at Nine, having helped put together the database that will be used for its results projections. As far as I can tell, you can only access Nine’s coverage if you’re in South Australia or able to game the geoblock. How much time I’ll have for commentary as the results come through remains to be seen.

To get the ball rolling, here’s something I wrote in comments on the previous thread regarding how much progress we’re likely to see in the count this evening. It seems to me it may be more than earlier assessments suggested – the increase in pre-poll voting compared with last time ended up being 73%, and not 100% as initially seemed possible.

If the turnout rate is the same as last time, there will be around 1,150,000 votes. There have been 170,081 postal vote applications — if the return rate is the same as last time, there will be around 120,000 of these. There have been 208,136 pre-polls. That leaves around 820,000 election day votes, of which around 85,000 should be absents. That leaves 64% of all votes cast available to be counted tonight, which is higher than some of the earlier estimates – I don’t think pre-polling increased in the final week as much as last time. However, ECSA are apparently pretty strict about ending counting at 11pm, so I’d suggest some of that 64% will remain unreported at the end of tonight.

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.

459 comments on “South Australian election live”

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  1. Diogenes says:
    Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 10:45 pm

    Malinauskas supported some of Marshall’s progressive policies. I’m still sure in his heart Marshall is more socially progressive than Malinauskas but both went the same way.
    I’m not all over this but didn’t Malinauskas demand amendments that required those seeking abortions to go through counseling first? I could be wrong but I seem to remember this happening.

  2. I will make this observation for the last time, but we have seen how smart Labor was in pre-selecting Hood, Savvas, Clancy and Pierce in the key marginals. The pre-selections were early and they have all campaigned hard over a long period. It has led to a change of Government. Well done SA Labor. Smart work. Other States: look and learn.

  3. Thanks everyone

    Diogenes, once the dust has cleared Malinauskas has two immediate priorities: COVID management and putting his money where his mouth is in regard to the Ambulance ramping and other health crises. It’s not going to be fixed over night, of course but, as long as he shows he’s doing something and we start seeing some progressive results, voters will be happy. Outside of that, the Government can tackle the overall economic direction of the state. But it’s important to remember that those first two issues were why the voters gave him the keys to the state.

  4. I am still keen to see the votes from the Kent Town and St Peters booths in Dunstan. No idea why these haven’t been added to ECSA’s count yet, but we could well see Dunstan in the “lean Labor” column.

  5. I met Albanese at when he was Young Labor leader at Sydney Uni, just briefly – I went and stayed a couple of nights at an occupation of part of the philosophy department which had schismatised into 2 departments at the time, in part because the concrete backyard was being redone at my mate’s parent’s Granny Flat where I lived so you had to walk along painters planks to get in. He came along there to try to convince us to use other means.

    Even at that age, he was very conciliatory and measured and I think underestimated for it . The Young Lib leader at the time had him bashed thinking it could be pinned on Tom Domican or such thuggery in the ALP, as Baldwin had recently been badly beaten. Thankfully he wasn’t injured to the extent that NSW MP was. He was able to finger the assailants and Young Lib leader Heyward from his hospital bed, who I would assume to be a federal minister now otherwise.(he used to get around in a 450SLC Mercedes convertible, scarf trailing from his neck) Quite the scoop for Honi Soit! (I used to contribute occasionally in the Union Recorder when a bunch of anarchist students for life were in charge)

  6. ”Half expect SfM to go full Trump, deny the result and cast doubts about the process and go full denial.”

    Me too, if the result is anything other than a thumping Labor win. I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if they invoke “election fraud” in the event if a Coalition loss. At the very least, Morrison will probably wait until the last postal vote has been counted before conceding. Federally, the “Liberals” have some strongly Trumpian attributes.

  7. “Outsidersays:
    Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 10:51 pm
    Also looks like a good night for the pollsters”…

    Key to avoid being confused by Liberal party stormtroopers using the “Ah but in 2019 the polls said…” gambit:

    During the last 4 weeks of the 2019 federal election campaign the polls shrunk to within the margin of error, but they remained outside the margin of error during this election in SA. Hence, look at the opinion polls during the last 4 weeks of the coming federal election campaign and see whether they will go down to within the margin of error, or favour the ALP outside the margin of error…. Then you can bet your house on the result… 🙂

  8. Well done SA voters, now for the big prize in May…..I think we can promise Boothby and maybe Sturt toward the good fight…..up to the rest of the country to find a few more to tip out Morrison….over to you guys now

  9. Nah – Morrison might bitch about it, but he’ll be forced to accept his loss, if it comes. Fraud etc is a very American talking point, it doesn’t fly here.

  10. Wat
    I’m hearing McGowan sacked as CEO SA Health and head of RAH taking over. Funnily I’ve got a friend meeting McGowan on Monday as part of the new Covid wave planning. He should cancel saying there’s no point meeting a dead man walking.

  11. The big difference in Aus to the US is we have an independent umpire/agency that runs a) the elections…..and b) sets the electoral boundaries……..not state party apparatus like the US.

  12. @jt1983

    Whatever happens SfM wont be gracious in his defeat, he was appointed by god remember, it will be the standard lines about the message not getting though to the great unwashed.

  13. Our electoral system is so trusted, which is an incredible asset. In SA we have had a major shake up of boundaries and seats, and not a single suggestion during the coverage that this was in anyway unfair …. great to see.

  14. Well a reasonably predictable win for Labor in SA which will not please Scomo despite only one SA Liberal federal seat being under threat {Boothby] atm. ;Bye bye Marshmallow: hello Greek Adonis.

    MORE important will be how close Newspoll came to predicting the outcome in terms of PV and 2PP. Will the credibility of Newspoll get a boost or take another hit ? Looking good at the moment.

  15. Puffy: “Morrison will be wearing out that carpet.”

    Indeed. Watch the way he walks for the next few days – he likely has very sore knees about now.

  16. Our electoral system is so trusted, which is an incredible asset.

    True, but the Federal “Liberals” and their allies would happily undermine that trust if it was to their advantage to do so.

  17. This election was won and lost primarily on one issue, health. In many ways Marshall and his government were not too bad but in health they failed, and not a small failure, it was a massive failure. Labor won because they promised to fix the health system, to stop ramping while on the news there was stories of people dying while ambulances did not turn up for far longer than needed. Labors TV ads were all about health.
    Labor made a commitment and it won them the election, but if they fail to do what they promised they too will be punished at the polls and become a one term government.

  18. Can’t wait to see what SA Senator Simon Birmingham does to spin his way out of the SA election thumping of the Mashmallow on Insiders tomorrow….nothing to do with the Federal Government, local issues.. yada yada.

  19. Dunstan is too close to call. It’s very difficult to know how prepolls and postal will behave, which will determine the outcome. It’s genuinely lineball. Given his speech tonight, I’m not sure Steven Marshall will be particularly fussed one way or another if he wins or loses. But I think this one will go right down to the wire.

  20. We will know more on Dunstan once the 2pp count is finished. There’s a lag between PVs and 2PP. I have a sneaky feeling that Labor will get over the line.

  21. There’s a lot of votes to be counted next week. So the position in all the doubtful seats could well be sorted out quite quickly – next week!

  22. ABC predicting ALP with 27 seats…..that can only be achieved with Dunstan……Anyway we are miles ahead there…..57 votes up…

    Edit: ALP ahead in Waite as well… 114

  23. Hard to gauge whether there are federal implications here, given how heavily the election seemed to have been fought on the failures in the state health system, but it certainly isn’t a great omen for Morrison.

    Probably the most worrying for his government are that incumbency during Covid no longer seems to be an electoral asset and that the new-and-improved Newspoll has once again shown itself to be quite accurate.

  24. Well done Crow Eaters now for the NT to hold Solomon & Lingiari! It’s all we can do to help get rid Of this rotten Morrison gov’t. Two good victories will Put in another nail in the CLP coffin.

  25. Good coverage William. And Ch 9 stuff seemed to go ok.
    Well done to all the ground troops for Labor, Greens and other progressive groups. Plenty of work ahead to get good policies in place.

  26. It’s a shame I wasn’t able to run results tonight because they would not have been redundant — nobody, including ECSA, is publishing the TCP booth results. The ABC is lagging a booth behind on its TCP results in Dunstan — the current result is Labor 5705 (50.4%), Liberal 5616 (49.6%). Nine’s system projects a 6.85% swing, which puts Marshall 0.65% ahead. There are another three booths with primary votes only, but they shouldn’t change the picture much.

  27. Asha @ #432 Saturday, March 19th, 2022 – 10:47 pm

    Hard to gauge whether there are federal implications here

    Yes, it’s pure coincidence that Labor made serious gains in Qld in 2020, WA in 2021, and SA in 2022. I see no trend there, and no correlation between the polling data. Besides, it’s all just state politics. Nothing at all to do with Federal. 🙂

  28. Congrats to SA Labor.

    Brilliant speech by Malinauskas.

    Thanks to Mr Bowe and all posters who contributed to help us foreigners (non-SAers) with the good oil.

    I also look forward to Simon the Gymnast tomorrow morning.

    I also want to see the journos acknowledging the accuracy of the pollsters – maybe the biggest Federal implication?

  29. ECSA’s TCP count in Waite is between Liberal and Heather Holmes-Ross, which is presumably redundant, so the only thing we know for sure is the primary votes — Labor 27.4%, Liberal 24.5%, Sam Duluk 18.9%, Holmes-Ross 15.3%, Greens 12.0%, Animal Justice 1.9%. The two-party numbers you’re seeing on the ABC site — 50.3-49.7 to Labor — are estimates based on speculative preference flows. Ours say 50.6-49.4 to Liberal. I presume we won’t know until ECSA conducts the final preference count, because it’s far from clear who the final two candidates are going to be.

  30. This election was won and lost primarily on one issue, health
    Jay helped win this election. Marshall asked us if we really wanted to go back to Labor and he got his answer.

    So look at how well Malinauskas performed but also how strongly Weatherill governed.

  31. With 30% of the LC vote counted, SA Best are on 1%, and coming ninth.

    Xenophon’s legacy is in ashes.

    While of course this will chnage a lot, Labor is on 4.4 quotas, the Libs barely above 4, and the Greens on 1.1.

    The last two seats could be won by any of Labor 5, Hanson, Lib Dems, Family First. Cannabis a very long shot.

  32. Thank you WB once again.

    I have always preferred ABC election coverage in the past but I have to say that tonight 9’s coverage was far superior.

  33. I wonder if the federal implecations will be for Labor to target MPs who spend money on sports clubs rather than health/ education etc…

  34. In the NSW byelections, the increased prepoll and postals still late vote favoured the LibNats. Unlikely to be different in SA. So the usual situation should apply, if the progressives aren’t in front by 1% or more at the end of the night they won’t win.

  35. All preferences now added for Dunstan. Marshall leads by 96 votes on the election day votes. I’m simply not going to make any prediction about how prepolls and postal will behave. Historically, you would have said Marshall would be a shoe in, but there is no guarantee this will happen, especially if the polls were actually tightening up to election day. But it’s a deeper issue than that. People who vote in prepolls reflect a different dynamic to traditional postal voters, and due to Covid, there may have been a shift in the traditional pro Lib profile of postal votes as well.

  36. The Kavel situation is one hell of a story and I hope it gets told in full one day.

    The likes of Cregan don’t come along very often.

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