Our history

The Western Australian Division of the Liberal Party formally began on 12th January 1945, soon after the famous Albury Conference had united a large number of fragmented anti-socialist political forces to form the Liberal Party of Australia.

In State Parliament the predecessor of the Liberals, the Nationalists, had been in Opposition since 1933 and held fewer seats than the Country Party (today's Nationals), however the new Liberal Party attracted growing support and enthusiasm. In October 1945 a country storekeeper and WWII veteran David Brand captured the country seat of Greenough in a by-election. He was the first Liberal in Australia to win a seat from the ALP.

The new Liberal Party had a striking State election win in 1947, defeating Labor after 14 years and becoming the majority party in a Liberal-Country Coalition Government. Led by Pinjarra farmer Ross McLarty, this government over the next six years laid the foundations of the State's industrial development, dismantled anti-business wartime restrictions, and established independent electoral redistributions.

Women played a major role in the Liberal organisation. The victorious Liberal Senate team at the 1949 Federal election was led by Agnes Robertson while Florence Cardell-Oliver became Australia's first female Cabinet Minister in the McLarty Government. In Opposition after 1953, the Liberal Party in 1957 elected David Brand as Leader and Charles Court as his deputy. From 1959 to 1971 Sir David Brand led a dynamic Coalition government with Charles Court as Minister for Industrial Development. Western Australia became a world leader in resource development, the Ord River irrigation scheme took shape, and the infrastructure for a modern society in Perth and in remote regions was created. Aboriginal people gained the right to vote, the restricted property-based franchise for the Legislative Council ended, and 18-21 year olds were first able to vote.

After David Brand's retirement in 1972 Sir Charles Court led the Liberal Party back into Coalition Government in 1974. WA State and Federal elections 1975-80 showed very strong Liberal support, as the Court Government established the North West Shelf natural gas industry, founded Murdoch University, and built our Art Gallery. After Sir Charles retired in 1982 his experienced successor Ray O'Connor was defeated in the strong Labor tide of 1983.

In Opposition, successive Liberal leaders Bill Hassell, Barry MacKinnon and Richard Court worked hard to expose the pattern of reckless ALP government/business deals known as WA Inc. In 1993 and 1996 Richard Court won landslide elections with Colin Barnett as his deputy. For 8 years he led a successful government that restored the State's financial reputation, opened the LNG market to China, planned the Perth-Mandurah rail link, and built infrastructure including 4 new hospitals, 47 new schools, and the Graham Farmer Freeway.

After election defeat in 2001, Colin Barnett was a strong Opposition Leader who ensured that the Liberal Party held its ground at the 2005 election, after which he stood down. Following a period of instability, he was invited to resume the leadership and was immediately faced with an early election. Despite a radical redistribution of boundaries, the Liberal Party won a record 10 seats from the ALP and formed Government with the National Party and Independent members.

Years of indecision, delays and lack of forward planning by the former ALP Government meant the newly elected Liberal-led Government were left with the responsibility of building and investing in infrastructure for two governments. As a result, the Liberals undertook one of Western Australia most significant capital works programs, modernising and delivering new infrastructure. The Liberals also made significant expansions to public services to cater for a booming population.

From 2008, the Liberal-led Government rebuilt Western Australia's public health system and regenerated our schools.

  • Increased our Health budget by a record 71%
  • Invested $7 billion to create a world-class public hospital and health system
  • Increased funding for public schools by a record 69%
  • Opened 28 new primary schools, 9 new secondary schools, 13 replacement schools with 16 more public primary schools and 5 secondary schools in the pipeline

On 21 March 2017, following the WA State Election, Dr Mike Nahan was elected leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, along with Deputy Leader Liza Harvey.

Parliamentary leaders of the WA Liberal Party

Sir Ross McDonald 1945 - 46  
Sir Ross McLarty 1946 - 57 Premier 1947 - 53
Sir David Brand 1957 - 72 Premier 1959 - 71
Sir Charles Court 1972 - 82 Premier 1974 - 82
Ray O'Connor 1982 - 84 Premier 1982 - 83
Bill Hassell 1984 - 86  
Barry MacKinnon 1986 - 92  
Richard Court 1992 - 2001 Premier 1993 - 2001
Colin Barnett 2001 - 05  
Matt Birney 2005 - 06  
Paul Omodei 2006 - 08  
Troy Buswell 2008  
Colin Barnett 2008 - 2017 Premier 2008 - 2017
Mike Nahan 2017  

Presidents of the WA Liberal Party

1945-47 Jim Paton 1979-83  Ian Warner
1947-49 Frank Downing QC 1983-86 Barrie Payne
1949-50 Les Barrett-Lennard  1986-89  Keith Simpson
1950-54 Bill Gillespie 1989-91 Hon Peter Jones
1954-55 Fred Johnson 1991-92 Hon Ian Viner
1955-57 Roger Goode 1992-94 Bill Hassell
 1957-61 Fred Johnston 1994-97 Dr David Honey
1961-65 Reg Withers 1997-2001 David Johnston
1965-68 Vic Halbert 2001-03 Kim Keogh
1968-71 Peter Durack 2003-08 Danielle Blain
1971-75 Jim Samson 2008-11 Barry Court
1975-79 Noel Crichton-Browne 2011-14 Geoff Prosser
    2014 -  Hon Norman Moore

                                       

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Meet Mike

Mike Nahan

Mike Nahan is the 33rd Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Western Australia. He is servin...

mike nahan 2017

Meet Liza

Liza Harvey

Liza Harvey represents the electorate of Scarborough in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly,...

Deputy Premier Liza Harvey

Meet Peter

Peter Collier

Peter Collier was elected to the 37th Parliament for the North Metropolitan Region on February 26, 2...

peter collier

Meet Tony

Tony Krsticevic

As a local Member of Parliament, Tony Krsticevic knows the value of hard work, respect and positive ...

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Meet Colin

Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett was sworn in as Western Australia's 29th Premier on 23rd September 2008. Colin Barnett...

Colin Barnett

Meet Ken

Ken Baston

The Mining and Pastoral Region is an area of 2,280,730 square kilometers and includes the Legislativ...

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Meet Ian

Ian Blayney

For most of his life, Ian has been involved in farming grain and merino sheep, at a property east of...

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Meet Jim

Jim Chown

Hon Jim Chown MLC represents the Agricultural Region in the Western Australian Parliament. Having fi...

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Meet Donna

Donna Faragher

Donna Faragher was first elected, at the age of 29, to represent the East Metropolitan Region in the...

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Meet Nick

Nick Goiran

Hon Nick Goiran MLC was elected to the 38th Parliament of Western Australian as the Member for the S...

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Meet Peter

Peter Katsambanis

Peter Katsambanis was elected to the Parliament of Western Australia as the Member for Hillarys at t...

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Meet Zak

Zak Kirkup

Zak didn’t come from a political family or a family that focused much on the political facet of life...

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Meet Sean

Sean L'Estrange

The electorate of Churchlands represents all or parts of the suburbs of Churchlands, City Beach, Flo...

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Meet Bill

Bill Marmion

Bill has been the Member for Nedlands since his election in September 2008 and throughout his time i...

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Meet John

John McGrath

As the Member for South Perth since 2005, John McGrath has used his extensive experiences outside of...

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Meet Libby

Libby Mettam

Having spent her childhood and most of her adult life in rural and regional WA Libby remains a count...

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Meet Michael

Michael Mischin

Born in Subiaco, Western Australia, on 29 December 1958, before entering Parliament, Michael was a S...

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Meet Dean

Dean Nalder

Dean is the current Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Finance; Energy. In the previous Parlia...

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Meet Simon

Simon O'Brien

The Hon. Simon O'Brien, MLC for the South Metropolitan region, was first elected to Parliament in 19...

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Meet Kyran

Kyran O'Donnell

Kyran O’Donnell has lived in Kalgoorlie-Boulder for over thirty years and along with his wife, Pam, ...

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Meet Tjorn

Tjorn Sibma

Tjorn Sibma was born and raised in Carine and, having lived and worked in Perth’s northern suburbs f...

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Meet Steve

Steve Thomas

Dr Steve Thomas has a twenty five year history in the South West of Western Australia, with seventee...

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Meet Julie

Julie Bishop MP

Julie Bishop is the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia’s Federal Coalition Government. She is...

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Meet Ian

Ian Goodenough MP

Ian Goodenough was elected to the Australian Parliament in 2013, representing the electorate of Moor...

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Rick Wilson MP

My name is Rick Wilson and I am proud and honoured to be representing the electors of O’Connor in fe...

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Meet Slade

Senator Slade Brockman

Slade Brockman is a Liberal Senator for Western Australia. Slade was appointed to the Senate for Wes...

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Meet Michaelia

Senator Michaelia Cash

Michaelia Cash was sworn in as the Minister for Women, Minister for Employment, and also the Ministe...

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Meet Mathias

Senator Mathias Cormann

Mathias Cormann is the Minister for Finance and the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. M...

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Meet Andrew

Andrew Hastie MP

Andrew is ready to serve the hard working people of Canning as their local representative. Andrew is...

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Meet Steve

Steve Irons MP

Steve grew up in a large family. His foster father, David, was a local church minister and his foste...

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Meet Michael

Michael Keenan MP

Michael Keenan was sworn in as Australia’s Justice Minister in the 44th Parliament following the Sep...

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Meet Nola

Nola Marino MP

Nola was elected as the Federal Member for the seat of Forrest on November 24, 2007. During the firs...

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Meet Ben

Ben Morton MP

Ben Morton is proud to call himself a local resident of Tangney, living in Applecross with his wife ...

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Meet Christian

Christian Porter MP

On Monday 21 September 2015, Christian was sworn in as the Minister for Social Services by the Gover...

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Meet Melissa

Melissa Price MP

Melissa was born and bred in regional WA and understands the strength and diversity that comes from ...

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Meet Linda

Senator Linda Reynolds

Linda Reynolds is a Senator for Western Australia. Linda was elected to the Senate for Western Austr...

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Meet Dean

Senator Dean Smith

Dean Smith is a Liberal Senator for Western Australia. Dean was appointed to the Senate for Western ...

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Meet Ken

Ken Wyatt MP

Ken is the eldest child of Don and Mona Wyatt (Abdullah) who raised ten children who have succeeded ...

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