South Australia

Rob Manwaring, Mark Dean, Josh Holloway

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

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South Australia (SA) is something of a curious paradox within Australia’s federation. With a population of 1.67 million, it often remains peripheral to wider political debates in Australia. 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 SA. Economically, SA 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 SA 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 SA is, to quote a former premier of Victoria, a ‘backwater’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian politics and policy
Subtitle of host publicationSenior Version
EditorsPeter Chen, Nicholas Barry, John Butcher, David Clune, Ian Cook, Adele Garnier, Yvonne Haigh, Sara Motta, Marija Taflaga
Place of PublicationSydney
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic) 9781743326688
ISBN (Print)9781743326671
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access textbook licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence.


  • Australian Politics
  • South Australia
  • Australian Labor Party
  • bicameralism
  • Cabinet
  • Constitution Act 1934 (SA)
  • deliberative democracy
  • Don Dunstan
  • Liberal Party of South Australia,
  • malapportionment,
  • marginal seats
  • political parties
  • privatisation,
  • Thomas Playford


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