South Australia

Head of State: Governor

Leader of Government: Premier

Electoral Authority: Electoral Commission of South Australia
Parliaments and Local Councils Legislative Council House of Assembly Local Councils
Terms of Members of Parliament/Council

Members elected for 8-year terms with half the members (i.e. 11 of 22) elected at each state election (held quadrennially on 3rd Saturday in March)

Members elected for 4-year fixed terms at state elections (held quadrennially on 3rd Saturday in March.

Members elected for 4-year fixed terms. Council elections held quadrennially in October-November.

Number of Members

22 members (the state serves as a single constituency).

47 members elected from single-member electoral districts.

The number of elected representatives varies between Councils. In 2018 there were 689 elected representatives (mayor, area councillor, ward councillor) across 67 councils.

Electoral Legislation Electoral Act (1985). Local Government Act (1999).

Local Government (Elections) Act (1999) & Regulations.

City of Adelaide Act (1998).
Voting Systems


Proportional representation - single transferable vote. Optional preferential above the line, partial preferential below the line.

Full preferential.

Partial preferential voting (voters must number at least the number of vacancies). A proportional representation counting method is used.

Enrolment and Voting Eligibility

Largely the same as the Commonwealth enrolment eligibility provisions.

British subjects who are not Australian citizens are eligible to enrol if they were on the state roll or Commonwealth roll within the period 26 October 1983 and 25 January 1984 inclusive.

Voting is not compulsory.

House of Assembly electors are automatically eligible to vote and non-Australian citizens, business owners, occupiers of property, or non-resident owners of property can apply for council enrolment.
Redistribution Provisions and Frequency None. The Constitution Act (1934) requires that a redistribution occur after every general election.

The Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission (EDBC) conducts the redistributions and consists of the senior puisne judge of the the South Australian Supreme Court, the Electoral Commissioner and the Surveyor-General. The number of electors in each district should be approximately the same with a permitted variation of 10% from the district average.
All councils must conduct an elector representation review at least once every 8 years which the Electoral Commissioner must certify.

Council or public initiated submissions relating to

  1. alteration of council boundaries
  2. alteration to composition/structure of council including creation, alteration or abolition of wards are referred to the Minister of Local Government under the Local Government Act (1999).
Joint Rolls Arrangements between Commonwealth, States and Territories Since 1920. Local Government (Elections) Act (1999) specifies House of Assembly electors to comprise part of Councils' voters rolls. (The other part comprises electors with council specific entitlements.)
Funding, Donations and Disclosure Provisions


•             Special assistance funding is provided as a half yearly entitlement to eligible registered political parties. It may not be used for political expenditure.

•             The amount available is capped at $35,000 (indexed) for parties with 5 or fewer MPs, or $60,000 (indexed) for parties with 6 or more MPs.

•             Election funding is provided to candidates, groups and registered political parties.

•             Election funding eligibility is an opt-in funding scheme and will not be made unless a candidate achieves at least 2% of the total primary vote in a Legislative Council election or 4% of the total primary vote in a House of Assembly election.

•             The election funding entitlement is calculated on a dollar per vote figure or the actual political expenditure, whichever is the least and generally payable 120 days after the election.

•             Participation in the election funding scheme obliges candidates, groups and parties to cap their political expenditure and ensure that a State campaign account is used for all political expenditure and receipt of donations.



•             Donors are required to disclose gifts and loans to candidates and groups and gifts to registered political parties, associated entities and third parties.

•             Candidates and groups must disclose campaign donations.

•             It is unlawful for registered political parties, associated entities, third parties, candidates or groups to receive a gift of $200 or more or a loan of $1,000 or more, without knowing the name and address of the donor and conditions of the loan.

•             There are no prohibited donors.

•             Registered political parties, associated entities, third parties are required to disclose total amounts received and certain particulars of amounts received or debts beyond a certain monetary threshold.

•             Large gifts in excess of $25,000 must be reported within 7 days of receipt.

•             Registered political parties, candidates, groups and third parties must disclose annual political expenditure and political expenditure occurring during the capped expenditure period of an election.

•             Disclosure thresholds vary, but generally commence at $5,000 (indexed) for most entities.

•             Disclosure returns are required on a 6 monthly basis between elections. During the election period, returns are lodged on a higher frequency basis.

• Members of council and candidates cannot receive gifts less than $500 without the name and address of the donor.

• Candidates are required to disclose the total value of all gifts received for the election in a campaigns donations return.

• The campaign donations return contains prescribed particulars of the gift and the donor.

• Gift disclosure threshold is $500.

Interesting and Particular

  Electoral material must comply with the principle of 'truth in advertising'. The Electoral Act (1985) considers inaccurate and misleading advertising to a material extent to be an offence and gives the Electoral Commissioner powers to require offending material to be retracted or withdrawn.  

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