Government of South Australia
Government of the State of South Australia
The logo that identifies the executive government specifically. The Coat of Arms of South Australia represents the state as a whole.
State South Australia
Country Australia
LeaderPremier of South Australia (Peter Malinauskas)
Appointed byGovernor of South Australia (Frances Adamson) on behalf of the King (Charles III)
Main organ
Ministries15 government departments
Responsible toParliament of South Australia
Annual budgetIncrease $27.5 billion (2023–24)[1]
HeadquartersState Administration Centre, 200 Victoria Square, Adelaide

The Government of South Australia, also referred to as the South Australian Government or the SA Government, is the executive branch of the state of South Australia. It is modelled on the Westminster system, meaning that the highest ranking members of the executive are drawn from an elected state parliament. Specifically the party or coalition which holds a majority of the House of Assembly (the lower chamber of the South Australian Parliament).[2]


Further information: British colonisation of South Australia and History of South Australia

South Australia was established via letters patent by King William IV in February of 1836, pursuant to the South Australian Colonisation Act 1834. Governance in the colony was organised according to the principles developed by Edward Wakefield, where settlement would be conducted by free settlers rather than convicts.[3] Therefore governance would be divided between the Governor who was responsible to the British Crown and tasked with the authority to make laws,[4][5] and Colonisation Commissioners who were responsible for the sale of land to settlers to fund the colony.[3] This structure was found to be troublesome as the commission had control of the funds rather than the Governor, and as a result in 1838, the Governor was appointed Resident Commissioner to resolve conflict.[6]

In 1842 the British Parliament reorganised the structure of South Australia's governance by abolishing the Colonisation Commission and creating a Legislative Council of eight people (including the Governor) to exercise the legislative power of the colony.[7] In 1850 the British Parliament passed the Australian Constitutions Act 1850, which empowered the Legislative Council to alter its own composition. The Legislative Council responded by passing the Constitution Act 1856, which created a bicameral parliament and an executive responsible to it.[6] Boyle Finniss was appointed the first Premier of South Australia as part of an interrim executive until elections to the new Parliament could be held in 1857.[8][9]

The executive comprised ministers selected from the Parliament and the Governor was no longer able to unilaterally make most decisions. The new Parliament and Executive took over almost all of the powers held by the Secretary of State for the Colonies regarding the appointment to official positions in the colony, immigration, and customs matters.[4]

When federation occurred in 1901, South Australia became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia under the Constitution of Australia, which regulates the South Australia's relationship with the Commonwealth.[10] The state ceded certain executive powers (such as defence and customs),[11] but retained powers in all matters not withdrawn from them or in conflict with the Commonwealth.[12][13]

In 1934, the Constitution Act 1856 was repealed and replaced with the Constitution Act 1934,[14] which remains in force today with amendments.[15]


South Australia is governed according to the principles of the Westminster system, a form of parliamentary government based on the model of the United Kingdom.[2]

Executive power rests formally with the Executive Council, which consists of the governor and senior ministers.[2] The Governor plays an important practical role under the state's constitution and fulfils a symbolic role as local head of state. The Governor is appointed by the King and, for most practical purposes, exercises His Majesty's powers in the state. These include the fundamental powers to dissolve Parliament, call elections and appoint and dismiss ministers. The Governor in Executive Council is the formal mechanism for administration of the state. Many of the decisions made by Cabinet do not have legal effect until they are signed by the Governor in Executive Council. All items for the approval of the Governor in Executive Council must first be considered by Cabinet, with the exception of the assent to Acts. When exercising a statutory power, the Governor must act with the advice and consent of Executive Council. All ministers are ex officio members of Executive Council.[16]

In practice, executive power is exercised by the premier of South Australia and the Cabinet of South Australia, who advise the Governor. The Cabinet comprises 15 ministers, headed by the Premier, who are either members of the House of Assembly or the Legislative Council. Cabinet is responsible for determining policies which are submitted to Parliament.[2]

Current ministry

Main articles: Malinauskas ministry and Cabinet of South Australia

As of 15 April 2024, the ministry of the South Australian Government comprised the following 14 Labor Party members and 1 Independent member:[17]

Minister Portfolio Party affiliation
Peter Malinauskas MP Labor
Susan Close MP
  • Deputy Premier
  • Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
  • Minister for Climate, Environment and Water
  • Minister for Workforce and Population Strategy
Kyam Maher MLC
  • Attorney-General
  • Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
  • Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector
Tom Koutsantonis MP Labor
Stephen Mullighan MP
  • Treasurer
  • Minister for Defence and Space Industries
Zoe Bettison MP
  • Minister for Tourism
  • Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Chris Picton MP
  • Minister for Health and Wellbeing
Katrine Hildyard MP
  • Minister for Child Protection
  • Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
  • Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing
Nat Cook MP
  • Minister for Human Services
  • Minister for Ageing Well
Clare Scriven MLC
  • Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development
  • Minister for Forest Industries
Blair Boyer MP
  • Minister for Education, Training and Skills
Andrea Michaels MP
  • Minister for Small and Family Business
  • Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs
  • Minister for Arts
Joe Szakacs MP
  • Minister for Trade and Investment
  • Minister for Local Government
  • Minister for Veterans Affairs
Nick Champion MP
  • Minister for Housing and Urban Development
  • Minister for Housing Infrastructure
  • Minister for Planning
Dan Cregan MP
  • Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services
  • Special Minister of State

Government agencies

Main article: List of South Australian government agencies

The South Australian Government delivers services, determines policy and regulations, including legal interpretation, by a number of agencies grouped under areas of portfolio responsibility. Each portfolio is led by a government minister who is a member of the Parliament. As of March 2020 there were 15 government departments and 13 agencies listed on, being:[18]

A range of other agencies support the functions of these departments.

Government business enterprises

See also


  1. ^ South Australian Government (June 2024). "State Budget 2024-25: Budget Statement" (PDF).
  2. ^ a b c d "The Government of South Australia". Parliament of South Australia. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b Museum of Australia Democracy. "South Australia Act, or Foundation Act, of 1834 (UK)". Documenting Democracy: Australia's Story. Museum of Australian Democracy. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  4. ^ a b "South Australia Achieves Self Government in 1857". Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  5. ^ "History". Parliament of South Australia. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b Selway, Bradley (1997). The Constitution of South Australia. Leichhardt, New South Wales: Federation Press. p. 1-9. ISBN 9781862872516.
  7. ^ Museum of Australian Democracy. "South Australia Act 1842 (UK)". Documenting Democracy. Museum of Australian Democracy. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  8. ^ Parliament of South Australia. "South Australia Achieves Self-Government in 1857". The First Parliament. Parliament of South Australia. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  9. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography. "Boyle Travers Finniss (1807–1893)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  10. ^ "Australian system of government". Parliamentary Education Office. Australian Government. 8 November 2021. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  11. ^ Australian Constitution (Cth) s 69
  12. ^ Australian Constitution (Cth) s 107
  13. ^ Australian Constitution (Cth) s 109
  14. ^ "Constitution Act 1934 - Notes". Retrieved 9 March 2022 – via Austlii.
  15. ^ "Constitution Act 1934". Government of South Australia. Retrieved 9 March 2022 – via Austlii.
  16. ^ "Executive Council". Department of the Premier and Cabinet (SA). Retrieved 17 December 2023. Text has been copied from this source, which is available under a Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence.
  17. ^ "Governor's Instruments (27)" (PDF). South Australian Government Gazette. Government of South Australia. 15 March 2025. p. 682. Retrieved 15 April 2024.
  18. ^ "Government". SA.GOV.AU. 28 January 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  19. ^ "About Green Industries SA". Green Industries SA. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  20. ^ "About". Legal Services Commission of SA. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  21. ^ "ForestrySA Corporate Overview". ForestrySA. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  22. ^ "About us". SA Water. Archived from the original on 19 November 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2015.