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Premier of Western Australia
The Premier of Western Australia is the head of the executive government in the Australian State of Western Australia. He or she performs the same functions in Western Australia as the Prime Minister of Australia does at the national level. As of the 2005 State Election the premier of Western Australia is Dr Geoffrey Gallop.
The premier must be a member of one of the two Houses of the Parliament of Western Australia; by convention the premier is a member of the lower house, the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. He or she is appointed by the governor on the advice of the lower house, and must resign if he or she loses the support of the majority of that house. Consequently, the premier is almost always the leader of the political party or coalition of parties with the majority of seats in the lower house.
For more information on the office of premier, see Premiers of the Australian states.
The office of premier of Western Australia was first formed in 1890, after Western Australia was officially granted responsible government by Britain in 1889. The Constitution of Western Australia does not explicitly provide for a premier, and the office was not formally listed as one of the executive offices until the appointment of Ross McLarty in 1947. Nonetheless, John Forrest immediately adopted the title on taking office as first premier of Western Australia in 1890, and it has been used ever since.
John Forrest was the only Premier of Western Australia as a self-governing colony. Following Federation in 1901, Western Australia became an Australian State, and the responsibilities of the office of premier were diminished.
Party politics began in Western Australia with the rise of the Labor party in 1901. By 1904, the party system was entrenched in Western Australian politics. Since then the premiers have been associated with political parties.
The Constitution contains nothing to preclude the premier being a member of the upper House, the Western Australian Legislative Council. Historically and by convention, however, the premier is a member of the Assembly. The only exception has been Hal Colebatch, a member of the Legislative Council who accepted the premiership in April 1919 on the understanding that an Assembly seat would be found for him, only to resign a month later when no seat could be found.
During the economic boom of the 1980s, the Western Australian government became closely involved with a number of large businesses. A succession of deals were made between the government and businesses, and these ultimately caused great losses for the State. A subsequent Royal Commission found evidence of widespread corruption. Three former premiers were found to have acted improperly, and two of them, Ray O'Connor and Brian Burke, were jailed. This scandal became popularly known as WA Inc .
List of Premiers of Western Australia
|Sir John Forrest||Forrest Party1||29 December 1890|
|George Throssell||Forrest Party1||15 February 1901|
|George Leake||Opposition1||27 May 1901|
|Alf Morgans||Ministerialist1||21 November 1901|
|George Leake||Opposition1||23 December 1901|
|Sir Walter James||Liberal1||1 July 1902|
|Henry Daglish||Labor||10 August 1904|
|Sir Cornthwaite Rason||Liberal||25 August 1905|
|Sir Newton Moore||Liberal||7 May 1906|
|Frank Wilson||Liberal||16 September 1910|
|John Scaddan||Labor||7 October 1911|
|Frank Wilson||Liberal||27 July 1916|
|Sir Henry Lefroy||Nationalist||28 June 1917|
|Sir Hal Colebatch||Nationalist||17 April 1919|
|Sir James Mitchell||Nationalist||17 May 1919|
|Philip Collier||Labor||16 April 1924|
|Sir James Mitchell||Nationalist||24 April 1930|
|Philip Collier||Labor||24 April 1933|
|John Willcock||Labor||20 August 1936|
|Frank Wise||Labor||31 July 1945|
|Sir Ross McLarty||Liberal||1 April 1947|
|Albert Hawke||Labor||23 February 1953|
|Sir David Brand||Liberal||2 April 1959|
|John Tonkin||Labor||3 April 1971|
|Sir Charles Court||Liberal||8 April 1974|
|Ray O'Connor||Liberal||25 January 1982|
|Brian Burke||Labor||19 February 1983|
|Peter Dowding||Labor||25 February 1988|
|Dr Carmen Lawrence||Labor||12 February 1990|
|Richard Court||Liberal||16 February 1993|
|Dr Geoffrey Gallop||Labor||16 February 2001|
- Reid, G. S. and M. R. Oliver (1982). The Premiers of Western Australia 1890–1982. University of Western Australia Press. Nedlands, Western Australia. ISBN 0855642149.
- The Constitution Centre of Western Australia (2002). Governors and Premiers of Western Australia. West Perth, Western Australia. ISBN 0730738213.
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