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Premier of South Australia
Flag of South Australia.svg
South Australian Coat of Arms.svg
Peter Malinauskas (cropped).png
Incumbent
Peter Malinauskas

since 21 March 2022
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
Government of South Australia
Style
Member of
Reports to Parliament
Seat State Administration Centre
200 Victoria Square, Adelaide
Appointer Governor of South Australia
by convention, based on appointee's ability to command confidence in the House of Assembly
Term length At the Governor's pleasure
contingent on the premier's ability to command confidence in the House of Assembly
Constituting instrument None (constitutional convention)
Formation 24 October 1856
First holder Boyle Finniss
Deputy Deputy Premier of South Australia
Salary $374,648 (AUD)
Website www.premier.sa.gov.au

The premier of South Australia is the head of government in the state of South Australia, Australia. The Government of South Australia follows the Westminster system, with a Parliament of South Australia acting as the legislature. The premier is appointed by the Governor of South Australia, and by modern convention holds office by virtue of his or her ability to command the support of a majority of members of the lower house of Parliament, the House of Assembly.

Peter Malinauskas is the current premier, having served since 21 March 2022.

History

The office of Premier of South Australia was established upon the commencement of responsible government with the passage of the Constitution Act 1856. The role was based upon that of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, with the Premier requiring the support of a majority of the members of the lower house to remain head of government.

No parties or solid groupings would be formed until after the 1890 election, which resulted in frequent changes of the Premier of South Australia. If for any reason the incumbent Premier lost sufficient support through a successful motion of no confidence at any time on the floor of the house, he would tender his resignation to the Governor of South Australia, which would result in another member deemed to have the support of the House of Assembly being sworn in by the Governor as the next Premier.

Informal groupings began and increased government stability occurred from the 1887 election. The United Labor Party would be formed in 1891, while the National Defence League would be formed later in the same year.

Before the 1890s when there was no formal party system in South Australia, MPs tended to have historical liberal or conservative beliefs. The liberals dominated government from the 1893 election to 1905 election with the support of the South Australian United Labor Party, with the conservatives mostly in opposition. Labor took government with the support of eight dissident liberals in 1905 when Labor won the most seats for the first time. The rise of Labor saw non-Labor politics start to merge into various party incarnations.

The two independent conservative parties, the Australasian National League (formerly National Defence League) and the Farmers and Producers Political Union merged with the Liberal and Democratic Union to become the Liberal Union in 1910. Labor formed South Australia's first majority government after winning the 1910 state election, triggering the merger. The 1910 election came two weeks after federal Labor formed Australia's first elected majority government at the 1910 federal election.

No "Country" or rural conservative parties emerged as serious long-term forces in South Australian state politics, often folding into the main non-Labor party.

List of premiers of South Australia

The first six Governors of South Australia oversaw governance from proclamation in 1836 until self-government and an elected Parliament of South Australia was enacted in the year prior to the inaugural 1857 election.

Colour key
(for political parties)

     Independent      Liberalism      Conservatism      Liberal Federation/Union      Liberal & Country      Liberal      Labor

No. Portrait Name

Constituency (Birth–Death)

Election

(Parliament)

Term of office Political party Ministry
Took office Left office Time in office
Colonial Government (1856–1901)
1 B. T. Finniss 2.jpeg Boyle Finniss
(1807–1893)
MHA for Adelaide
1857 (1st) 24 October 1856 21 August 1857 301 days Independent Finniss
2 John Baker SA.jpg John Baker
(1813–1872)
Councillor
— (1st) 21 August 1857 1 September 1857 11 days Independent Baker
3 Robert Richard Torrens.jpg Robert Richard Torrens
(1814–1884)
MHA for Adelaide
— (1st) 1 September 1857 30 September 1857 29 days Independent Torrens
4 Richard Hanson (Australia).jpg Richard Hanson
(1805–1876)
MHA for Adelaide
— (1st) 30 September 1857 9 May 1860 2 years, 222 days Independent Hanson
5 Thomas Reynolds (Australian politician).jpg Thomas Reynolds
(1818–1875)
MHA for Adelaide
1860 (2nd) 9 May 1860 8 October 1861 1 year, 152 days Independent Reynolds (1st)
Reynolds (2nd)
6 George Marsden Waterhouse.jpg George Waterhouse
(1824–1906)
Councillor
— (2nd)
1862 (3rd)
8 October 1861 4 July 1863 1 year, 269 days Independent Waterhouse (1st)
Waterhouse (2nd)
7 Francis Dutton.jpg Francis Dutton
(1818–1877)
MHA for Light
— (3rd) 4 July 1863 15 July 1863 11 days Independent Dutton (1st)
8 Henry Ayers.jpg Henry Ayers
(1821–1897)
Councillor
— (3rd) 15 July 1863 4 August 1864 1 year, 20 days Independent Ayers (1st)
Ayers (2nd)
9 ArthurBlyth.jpg Arthur Blyth
(1823–1890)
MHA for Gumeracha
— (3rd) 4 August 1864 22 March 1865 230 days Independent Blyth (1st)
(7) Francis Dutton.jpg Francis Dutton 1865 (4th) 22 March 1865 20 September 1865 182 days Independent Dutton (2nd)
(8) Henry Ayers.jpg Henry Ayers — (4th) 20 September 1865 23 October 1865 33 days Independent Ayers (3rd)
10 John Hart 2.jpeg John Hart
(1809–1873)
MHA for Port Adelaide
— (4th) 23 October 1865 28 March 1866 156 days Independent Hart (1st)
11 Boucat.jpg James Boucaut
(1831–1916)
MHA for Encounter Bay
— (4th) 28 March 1866 3 May 1867 1 year, 36 days Independent Boucaut (1st)
(8) Henry Ayers.jpg Henry Ayers — (4th)
1868 (5th)
3 May 1867 24 September 1868 1 year, 144 days Independent Ayers (4th)
(10) John Hart 2.jpeg John Hart
MHA for Light
— (5th) 24 September 1868 13 October 1868 19 days Independent Hart (2nd)
(8) Henry Ayers.jpg Henry Ayers — (5th) 13 October 1868 3 November 1868 21 days Independent Ayers (5th)
12 Henry Strangways.jpg Henry Strangways
(1832–1920)
MHA for West Torrens
— (5th)
1870 (6th)
3 November 1868 30 May 1870 1 year, 208 days Independent Strangways (1st)
Strangways (2nd)
(10) John Hart 2.jpeg John Hart
MHA for The Burra
— (6th) 30 May 1870 10 November 1871 1 year, 164 days Independent Hart (3rd)
(9) ArthurBlyth.jpg Arthur Blyth — (6th)
1871 (7th)
10 November 1871 22 January 1872 73 days Independent Blyth (2nd)
(8) Henry Ayers.jpg Henry Ayers — (7th) 22 January 1872 22 July 1873 1 year, 151 days Independent Ayers (6th)
Ayers (7th)
(9) ArthurBlyth.jpg Arthur Blyth — (7th)
1875 (8th)
22 July 1873 3 June 1875 1 year, 316 days Independent Blyth (3rd)
(11) Boucat.jpg James Boucaut — (8th) 3 June 1875 6 June 1876 1 year, 3 days Independent Boucaut (2nd)
Boucaut (3rd)
13 John colton.jpg John Colton
(1823–1902)
MHA for Noarlunga
— (8th) 6 June 1876 26 October 1877 1 year, 142 days Independent Colton (1st)
(11) Boucat.jpg James Boucaut — (8th)
1878 (9th)
26 October 1877 27 September 1878 336 days Independent Boucaut (4th)
14 William Morgan (Australian politician).jpg William Morgan
(1828–1883)
Councillor
— (9th)
1881 (10th)
27 September 1878 24 June 1881 2 years, 270 days Independent Morgan
15 John Cox Bray.jpg John Bray
(1842–1894)
MHA for East Adelaide
— (10th)
1884 (11th)
24 June 1881 16 June 1884 2 years, 358 days Independent Bray
(13) John colton.jpg John Colton — (11th) 16 June 1884 16 June 1885 1 year, 0 days Independent Colton (2nd)
16 John Downer (Australian politician).jpg John Downer
(1843–1915)
MHA for Barossa
— (11th)
1887 (12th)
16 June 1885 11 June 1887 1 year, 360 days Independent Downer (1st)
17 Thomas playford II.jpg Thomas Playford (II)
(1837–1915)
MHA for Newcastle
— (12th) 11 June 1887 27 June 1889 2 years, 16 days Independent Playford II (1st)
18 John Cockburn (Australian politician).jpg John Cockburn
(1850–1929)
MHA for Mount Barker
— (12th)
1890 (13th)
27 June 1889 19 August 1890 1 year, 53 days Liberalism Cockburn
(17) Thomas playford II.jpg Thomas Playford (II)
MHA for East Torrens
— (13th) 19 August 1890 21 June 1892 1 year, 307 days Conservatism Playford II (2nd)
19 Frederick Holder1.jpg Frederick Holder
(1850–1909)
MHA for Burra
— (13th) 21 June 1892 15 October 1892 116 days Liberalism Holder (1st)
(16) John Downer (Australian politician).jpg John Downer — (13th) 15 October 1892 16 June 1893 244 days Conservatism Downer (2nd)
20 Charles Kingston.jpg Charles Kingston
(1850–1908)
MHA for West Adelaide
1893 (14th)
1896 (15th)
1899 (16th)
16 June 1893 1 December 1899 6 years, 168 days Liberalism Kingston
21 Vaiben Solomon1.jpg Vaiben Solomon
(1853–1908)
MHA for Northern Territory
— (16th) 1 December 1899 8 December 1899 7 days Conservatism Solomon
(19) Frederick Holder1.jpg Frederick Holder — (16th) 8 December 1899 15 May 1901 1 year, 158 days Liberalism Holder (2nd)
State Government (1901–present)
22 JohnJenkins.jpg John Jenkins
(1851–1923)
MHA for Torrens
— (16th)
1902 (17th)
15 May 1901 1 March 1905 3 years, 290 days Liberalism Jenkins
23 Sir Richard Butler (Australia).jpg Richard Butler
(1850–1925)
MHA for Barossa
— (17th) 1 March 1905 26 July 1905 147 days Conservatism Butler I
24 Thomas Price.jpeg Thomas Price
(1852–1909)
MHA for Torrens
1905 (18th)
1906 (19th)
26 July 1905 5 June 1909 3 years, 314 days United Labor Price
25 Archibald Peake.jpg Archibald Peake
(1859–1920)
MHA for Victoria & Albert
— (19th) 5 June 1909 3 June 1910 363 days Liberal &
Democratic Union
Peake (1st)
26 JohnVerran.jpg John Verran
(1856–1932)
MHA for Wallaroo
1910 (20th) 3 June 1910 17 February 1912 1 year, 259 days United Labor Verran
(25) Archibald Peake.jpg Archibald Peake
(1859–1920)
1912 (21st) 17 February 1912 3 April 1915 3 years, 45 days Liberal Union Peake (2nd)
27 CrawfordVaughan.jpg Crawford Vaughan
(1874–1947)
MHA for Sturt
1915 (22nd) 3 April 1915 14 July 1917 2 years, 102 days United Labor Vaughan
(25) Archibald Peake.jpg Archibald Peake
(1859–1920)
— (22nd)
1918 (23rd)
14 July 1917 8 April 1920 2 years, 269 days Liberal Union Peake (3rd)
28 Henry Barwell.jpg Henry Barwell
(1877–1959)
MHA for Stanley
— (23rd)
1921 (24th)
8 April 1920 16 April 1924 4 years, 8 days Liberal Union
(until 1923)
Liberal Federation
(from 1923)
Barwell
29 JohnGunn.jpg John Gunn
(1884–1959)
MHA for Adelaide
1924 (25th) 16 April 1924 28 August 1926 2 years, 134 days Labor Gunn
30 Lionel Hill1.JPG Lionel Hill
(1881–1963)
MHA for Port Pirie
— (25th) 28 August 1926 8 April 1927 223 days Labor Hill (1st)
31 Richard Layton Butler.jpg Richard L. Butler
(1885–1966)
MHA for Wooroora
1927 (26th) 8 April 1927 17 April 1930 3 years, 9 days Liberal Federation Butler II (1st)
(30) Lionel Hill1.JPG Lionel Hill
(1881–1963)
1930 (27th) 17 April 1930 13 February 1933 2 years, 302 days Labor Hill (2nd)
32 Robert Richards (Australia).gif Robert Richards
(1885–1967)
MHA for Wallaroo
— (27th) 13 February 1933 18 April 1933 64 days Labor Richards
(31) Richard Layton Butler.jpg Richard L. Butler
(1885–1966)
1933 (28th)
1938 (29th)
18 April 1933 5 November 1938 5 years, 201 days Liberal and
Country League
Butler II (2nd)
33 Playford portrait 38.jpg Thomas Playford (IV)
(1896–1981)
MHA for Gumeracha
— (29th)
1941 (30th)
1944 (31st)
1947 (32nd)
1950 (33rd)
1953 (34th)
1956 (35th)
1959 (36th)
1962 (37th)
5 November 1938 10 March 1965 26 years, 125 days Liberal and
Country League
Playford IV (1st)
Playford IV (2nd)
34 FrankWalsh1963.jpg Frank Walsh
(1897–1968)
MHA for Edwardstown
1965 (38th) 10 March 1965 1 June 1967 2 years, 83 days Labor Walsh
35 Don Dunstan 1968 crop.jpg Don Dunstan
(1926–1999)
MHA for Norwood
— (38th) 1 June 1967 17 April 1968 321 days Labor Dunstan (1st)
36 SteeleHall1968crop.jpg Steele Hall
(born 1928)
MHA for Gouger
1968 (39th) 17 April 1968 2 June 1970 2 years, 46 days Liberal and
Country League
Hall
(35) Don Dunstan 1968 crop.jpg Don Dunstan 1970 (40th)
1973 (41st)
1975 (42nd)
1977 (43rd)
2 June 1970 15 February 1979 8 years, 258 days Labor Dunstan (2nd)
37 Des Corcoran.jpg Des Corcoran
(1928–2004)
MHA for Hartley
— (43rd) 15 February 1979 18 September 1979 215 days Labor Corcoran
38 David Tonkin.jpg David Tonkin
(1929–2000)
MHA for Bragg
1979 (44th) 18 September 1979 10 November 1982 3 years, 53 days Liberal Tonkin
39 John Charles Bannon 1943-2015.jpg John Bannon
(1943–2015)
MHA for Ross Smith
1982 (45th)
1985 (46th)
1989 (47th)
10 November 1982 4 September 1992 9 years, 299 days Labor Bannon
40 Lynn Arnold
(born 1949)
MHA for Ramsay
— (47th) 4 September 1992 14 December 1993 1 year, 101 days Labor Arnold
41 Dean Brown
(born 1943)
MHA for Finniss
1993 (48th) 14 December 1993 28 November 1996 2 years, 350 days Liberal Brown
42 John Olsen (1).jpg John Olsen
(born 1945)
MHA for Kavel
— (48th)
1997 (49th)
28 November 1996 22 October 2001 4 years, 328 days Liberal Olsen
43 Rob Kerin
(born 1954)
MHA for Frome
— (49th) 22 October 2001 5 March 2002 165 days Liberal Kerin
44 Mike Rann (smiling).jpg Mike Rann
(born 1953)
MHA for Ramsay
2002 (50th)
2006 (51st)
2010 (52nd)
5 March 2002 21 October 2011 9 years, 230 days Labor Rann
45 Jay Weatherill crop.jpg Jay Weatherill
(born 1964)
MHA for Cheltenham
— (52nd)
2014 (53rd)
21 October 2011 19 March 2018 6 years, 149 days Labor Weatherill
46 PremierMarshall2018.jpg Steven Marshall
(born 1968)
MHA for Dunstan
2018 (54th) 19 March 2018 21 March 2022 4 years, 2 days Liberal Marshall
47 Peter Malinauskas (cropped).png Peter Malinauskas
(born 1980)
MHA for Croydon
2022 (55th) 21 March 2022 315 days Labor Malinauskas

Living former premiers

South Australian premiers
Former South Australian premiers (from left) Robert Richards, Richard L. Butler, Lionel Hill and Henry Barwell meet with then Premier Tom Playford in 1940

There are eight living former premiers, the oldest being Steele Hall (1968–70, born 1928). The most recent premier to die was John Bannon (Premier 1982–1992) on 13 December 2015.

Name Term as premier Date of birth
Steele Hall 1968–1970 (1928-11-30) 30 November 1928 (age 94)
Lynn Arnold 1992–1993 (1949-01-27) 27 January 1949 (age 74)
Dean Brown 1993–1996 (1943-04-05) 5 April 1943 (age 79)
John Olsen 1996–2001 (1945-06-07) 7 June 1945 (age 77)
Rob Kerin 2001–2002 (1954-01-04) 4 January 1954 (age 69)
Mike Rann 2002–2011 (1953-01-05) 5 January 1953 (age 70)
Jay Weatherill 2011–2018 (1964-04-03) 3 April 1964 (age 58)
Steven Marshall 2018–2022 (1968-01-21) 21 January 1968 (age 55)

See also

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