|Term due to expire 2022||Term due to expire 2025|
|Simon Birmingham (Liberal)||Alex Antic (Liberal)|
|Don Farrell (Labor)||David Fawcett (Liberal)|
|Stirling Griff (Centre Alliance)||Alex Gallacher (Labor)|
|Andrew McLachlan (Liberal)1||Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens)|
|Rex Patrick (Rex Patrick Team)2||Anne Ruston (Liberal)|
|Penny Wong (Labor)||Marielle Smith (Labor)|
1Andrew McLachlan replaced Cory Bernardi on 6 February 2020 following Bernardi’s resignation.
2Rex Patrick resigned from the Centre Alliance on 9 August 2020 to become an independent.
South Australia was represented by five Labor senators and five Liberal senators from 1951 until the 1961 election, when the ALP managed to gain a 6-4 majority. A 5-5 balance was restored in 1967.
Former Liberal premier Steele Hall was elected in 1974 on the ticket of the Liberal Movement, taking a seat away from the Liberal Party. Hall was re-elected in 1975, while the Liberals regained their fifth seat at the expense of the ALP. Hall retired in 1977 and was replaced by Janine Haines of the Democrats. The 1977 election saw the Democrats lose the seat, with the Liberals winning six seats to the ALP’s four.
Haines was returned to the Senate for the Democrats in 1980, alongside five Liberals and four ALP senators. The 1983 double dissolution saw the ALP win a fifth seat off the Liberals. In 1984, the Democrats won a second seat while each major party held five seats. This pattern continued until 1993, when the Liberals won a sixth seat off the ALP, producing a 6-4-2 pattern which was maintained until the 2004 election.
The 2004 election saw the former Democrats seat (belonging to Meg Lees) lost to the ALP, producing a 6-5-1 split. In 2007, Natasha Stott Despoja’s seat was lost. The Liberal Party also lost one of their six seats. The ALP and Liberals each now hold five Senate seats, along with independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Sarah Hanson-Young of the Greens.
In 2010, the ALP lost one of their three seats to the Greens’ Penny Wright, producing an overall split of 5 Liberals, 4 Labor, 2 Greens and one independent.
2013 was a low-point for Labor, falling into third place behind the Nick Xenophon group. Sarah Hanson-Young, Nick Xenophon and the two Liberal senators were re-elected, but Labor only retained one of their two seats, with the final seat falling to Family First’s Bob Day.
The Liberal Party and the Greens both lost seats in 2016. The Greens lost one of their two seats, while the Liberal Party dropped from five seats to four. Both of these seats went to the Nick Xenophon Team, who won a second and third seat.
Family First senator Bob Day was forced to resign from the Senate in 2016 due to ineligibility. He was replaced by Lucy Gichuhi, who went on to join the Liberal Party.
Nick Xenophon resigned from the Senate in 2017 to unsuccessfully contest the 2018 South Australian state election, and was replaced by Rex Patrick. Fellow NXT senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore was forced to resign due to citizenship issues, and she was replaced by Tim Storer, who had stood in 2016 for the Nick Xenophon Team but sat in the Senate as an independent. Xenophon withdrew from politics in 2018 and his party was renamed “Centre Alliance”.
Storer retired in 2019, and Kakoschke-Moore stood unsuccessfully. The third NXT seat, along with the Family First seat, were absorbed by the Labor and Liberal parties, who each gained one seat. The Greens retained their one seat, while the two Centre Alliance senators were not up for election.
|United Australia Party||33,191||3.0||+3.0||0.2122|
|Help End Marijuana Prohibition||23,265||2.1||+2.1||0.1487|
|Great Australian Party||12,698||1.2||+1.2||0.0812|
|Shooters, Fishers and Farmers||12,003||1.1||+0.4||0.0767|
|Conservative National Party||7,829||0.7||+0.7||0.0501|
Four seats were won on primary votes: two each for the Liberal and Labor parties.
Fast forward to the last nine candidates for the last two seats:
- Sarah Hanson-Young (GRN) – 0.8062 quotas
- Alex Antic (LIB) – 0.6736
- Jennifer Game (ON) – 0.4119
- Kristian Rees (UAP) – 0.2409
- Skye Kakoschke-Moore (CA) – 0.2240
- Angela Adams (HEMP) – 0.1837
- Louise Pfeiffer (AJP) – 0.1565
- Emily Gore (ALP) – 0.1517
- Rikki Lambert (CON) – 0.1349
Conservatives preferences strongly favoured the Liberal Party, with some going to One Nation and the UAP:
- Hanson-Young (GRN) – 0.8115
- Antic (LIB) – 0.7334
- Game (ON) – 0.4346
- Rees (UAP) – 0.2642
- Kakoschke-Moore (CA) – 0.2302
- Adams (HEMP) – 0.1869
- Pfeiffer (AJP) – 0.1614
- Gore (ALP) – 0.1581
About half of the Labor preferences went to the Greens, with others going to Animal Justice and Liberal:
- Hanson-Young (GRN) – 0.8873
- Antic (LIB) – 0.7538
- Game (ON) – 0.4441
- Rees (UAP) – 0.2753
- Kakoschke-Moore (CA) – 0.2367
- Adams (HEMP) – 0.1960
- Pfeiffer (AJP) – 0.1820
Animal Justice preferences pushed the Greens close to a quota:
- Hanson-Young (GRN) – 0.9682
- Antic (LIB) – 0.7715
- Game (ON) – 0.4583
- Rees (UAP) – 0.2923
- Kakoschke-Moore (CA) – 0.2454
- Adams (HEMP) – 0.2300
HEMP preferences flowed strongly to the Greens, electing Sarah Hanson-Young to the fifth seat:
- Hanson-Young (GRN) – 1.0601
- Antic (LIB) – 0.8018
- Game (ON) – 0.4988
- Rees (UAP) – 0.3176
- Kakoschke-Moore (CA) – 0.2628
The Greens surplus favoured Kakoschke-Moore, but not enough to save her from being eliminated in the next round:
- Antic (LIB) – 0.8018
- Game (ON) – 0.5027
- Rees (UAP) – 0.3230
- Kakoschke-Moore (CA) – 0.2866
Centre Alliance preferences had a high exhaustion rate, but the remainder favoured the Liberal candidate:
- Antic (LIB) – 0.9245
- Game (ON) – 0.5633
- Rees (UAP) – 0.3530
UAP preferences split roughly evenly, with a slight lean towards the Liberal candidate, which was enough to push Antic over quota for the final seat:
- Antic (LIB) – 1.0648
- Game (ON) – 0.6889
- A – Ian Markos (Liberal Democrats)
- B – Louise Pfeiffer (Animal Justice)
- C – Liberal
- D – Labor
- E – Bob Day (Independent)
- F – Jo-Anne Eason (Great Australian Party)
- G – Lisa Blandford (Nationals)
- H – Elise Michie (Sustainable Australia)
- I – Julie-Ann Finney (Local Party)
- J – Cathy Byrne (Federation)
- K – Roger Yazbek (Democrats)
- L – Adila Yarmuhammad (Democratic Alliance)
- M – Harmeet Kaur (Independent)
- N – Drew Wolfendale (Fusion)
- O – Independent
- P – Barbara Pocock (Greens)
- Q – Raina Cruise (Informed Medical Options)
- R – Rex Patrick (Rex Patrick Team)
- S – Jennifer Game (One Nation)
- T – Tyler Green (Legalise Cannabis)
- U – Michael Arbon (United Australia)
- V – Russell Francis (Citizens Party)
- Michael Hopper (Independent)
The Labor and Liberal parties should be able to retain their two seats each, with the two seats won by the Nick Xenophon Team in 2016 in play.
It seems likely that Nick Xenophon will at least regain his former seat, but whether he has enough strength after four years out of politics to challenge for a second seat is not clear. He polled almost 25% in 2013, which would probably be enough to win a second seat under the current system, but he polled around 19-21% in his most recent races, which may not.
The Greens will have a good chance at winning a seat. They have won a seat at every half-Senate election since 2007, but lost a seat in 2016 when they failed to retain two seats at the double dissolution.
The chances for a third Liberal seat were probably eliminated when Nick Xenophon announced he would run. In current circumstances, a single Xenophon seat would likely come from the right, leaving the left with three, but if Xenophon wins two the second seat would most likely defeat the Greens.