South Australia

Rob Manwaring, Mark Dean, Josh Holloway

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


South Australia is something of a curious paradox within Australia’s federation. With a population of 1.67 million, it often remains peripheral. In 2018, due to lack of population growth in proportion to the rest of the country, it had its overall number of federal MPs in the House of Representatives reduced from 11 to 10, thus further diminishing its voice on the national stage. Federal elections tend not to be decided by outcomes in South Australia. Economically, South Australia has been perceived to be a ‘rust-bucket’ state – economically backward with a critical skills shortage, and an ageing population. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it comprises just over 6 per cent of the nation’s economy. In 1991, the collapse of the State Bank was a significant blow to the state’s economy. It has often taken South Australia longer to recover from national economic downturns and usually ranks just above Tasmania in terms of many economic metrics. More recently, with the closure of the Holden car plant in 2017 – and the de facto end of car manufacturing in Australia – there remain ongoing concerns about the future and vitality of the state. There is a lingering perception that South Australia is, to quote a former Premier of Victoria, a ‘backwater’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian Politics and Public Policy
EditorsPeter Chen, Nick Barry, John Butcher, David Clune OAM, Ian Cook, Adele Garnier, Yvonne Haigh, Sarah Motta, Marija Taflaga
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Australian Labor Party
  • Bicameralism
  • Cabinet
  • Constitution Act 1934
  • Liberal Party of South Australia
  • Malapportionment
  • Marginal seats
  • Political parties


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