At 10.30 tonight, the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green predicted the Liberals to win an outright majority of 24 seats, Labor 18, with three independents and two seats in doubt.
Premier Jay Weatherill conceded defeat with an upbeat speech which sparked a rapturous response from the Liberal faithful watching it on television at the Hackney Hotel.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t bring home another victory, but I do feel like one of those horses that has won four Melbourne Cups. I think the handicap has caught up with us on this occasion,” he told Labor supporters at the West Adelaide Footy Club.
He has called Liberal leader Steven Marshall to pass on his congratulations.
“I wished him all the best on his endeavours to really take that role and make it his own.”
He also thanked South Australians and promised Labor would rise back.
“Thank you so much for the extraordinary privilege of being your premier, it’s been one of the great joys of my life and we’ll just give you one pledge – we’ll be back.
“As we leave government, we leave united, strong and with a real sense of purpose,” he said.
Marshall thanked Weatherill for his service and lauded his MP Vincent Tarzia, who saw off the threat from Nick Xenophon in the seat of Hartley.
Xenophon’s future is now clouded, with his party having little of the expected impact on the contest.
“A majority Government will be able to drive the reform agenda we so desperately need,” said Marshall.
“We can build a brighter future for South Australia. A better future for South Australia.”
With a few exceptions, it looks as though not much shifted in the body politic, with the redrawn boundaries delivering the Liberal Party the seats it needed despite losing some primary vote to SA Best.
SA Best looks to have gained no seats, despite putting up a good fight in Heysen.
Independents Troy Bell, Geoff Brock and Frances Bedford look set to retain their seats.
Xenophon, who staked his career on a switch to state politics, ended the evening looking drained and devastated.
He said Hartley is looking grim, but he believes the party will have a strong presence in the Upper House.
“We will be analysing what happened to see what we can be doing better next time round,” he said.
– with AAP
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