Parliamentary Government since 1857
South Australia's first Parliament was elected under a constitution which was one of the most democratic in the world at the time.
But the Parliament of 1857 was very different from today. Some important changes took place over the next 140 years to extend democracy and to create the Parliamentary system that we have today.
Women have gained the right to vote and to stand as Parliamentary candidates.
Aboriginal men and women have lost and regained the right to vote.
The right to vote for the Legislative Council has been reformed.
Since 1887,Members of Parliament have been paid a salary.
The size and distribution of electoral districts has been changed to ensure they represent equal numbers of people.
There have been many adjustments to the size and structure of Parliament.
Many changes have been made to the method of voting. Compulsory, preferential, absentee and postal voting have been introduced.
Political parties have emerged - the United Labor Party in 1891, and a number of non-Labor parties in the city and later in the country.
In 1970, the age of voting was lowered from 21 to 18.
South Australia joined the other colonies in a Federation in 1901, and so became a State in the Commonwealth of Australia.
The South Australian Register, October 31 1840, p.2
Sources and Further Information