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|
|Colin Barnett||2008 - 2017||Premier 2008 - 2017|
|Mike Nahan||2017 - 2019|
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|
|2014-18||Hon Norman Moore|
Search for Member
Liza Harvey represents the electorate of Scarborough in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly,...
Bill has been the Member for Nedlands since his election in September 2008 and throughout his time i...
Peter Collier was elected to the 37th Parliament for the North Metropolitan Region on February 26, 2...
As a local Member of Parliament, Tony Krsticevic knows the value of hard work, respect and positive ...
The Mining and Pastoral Region is an area of 2,280,730 square kilometers and includes the Legislativ...
Hon Jim Chown MLC represents the Agricultural Region in the Western Australian Parliament. Having fi...
Donna Faragher was first elected, at the age of 29, to represent the East Metropolitan Region in the...
Hon Nick Goiran MLC was elected in 2008 to the 38th Parliament of Western Australia as the Member fo...
I grew up in the hills and have lived in Perth’s eastern suburbs throughout my life.After completing...
David was raised on a farm at Cranbrook in the South West of Western Australia. He is married and ha...
Peter Katsambanis was elected to the Parliament of Western Australia as the Member for Hillarys at t...
Zak didn’t come from a political family or a family that focused much on the political facet of life...
Sean was born in Perth, Western Australia and educated at Aquinas College. He holds a Bachelor's Deg...
As the Member for South Perth since 2005, John McGrath has used his extensive experiences outside of...
Having spent her childhood and most of her adult life in rural and regional WA Libby remains a count...
Born in Subiaco, Western Australia, on 29 December 1958, before entering Parliament, Michael was a S...
Mike Nahan was the 33rd Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Western Australia. He is servi...
Dean is the current Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Finance; Energy. In the previous Parlia...
The Hon. Simon O'Brien, MLC for the South Metropolitan region, was first elected to Parliament in 19...
Kyran O’Donnell has lived in Kalgoorlie-Boulder for over thirty years and along with his wife, Pam, ...
Tjorn Sibma was born and raised in Carine and, having lived and worked in Perth’s northern suburbs f...
Dr Steve Thomas has a twenty five year history in the South West of Western Australia, with seventee...
Ian Goodenough MP
Ian Goodenough was elected to the Australian Parliament in 2013, representing the electorate of Moor...
Rick Wilson MP
My name is Rick Wilson and I’ve been privileged to represent the people of O’Connor in Federal Parli...
Senator Slade Brockman
Slade Brockman is a Liberal Senator for Western Australia. Slade was appointed to the Senate for Wes...
Senator Michaelia Cash
Senator Cash was elected to the Senate as a Liberal Senator for Western Australia in 2007. She comme...
Vince Connelly believes in the importance of family, hard work and community service. Vince began hi...
Senator Mathias Cormann
Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann has been the Minister for Finance since 18 September 2013. Since 28 ...
Over the past decade, Celia Hammond has earned an outstanding reputation as Vice Chancellor of the U...
Andrew Hastie MP
Andrew Hastie was first elected to the House of Representatives at the 2015 by-election for the Divi...
Steve Irons MP
Steve grew up in a large family. His foster father, David, was a local church minister and his foste...
Nola Marino MP
Raised in Brunswick Junction, Nola has spent her whole life in the South West.Nola worked in an acco...
Ben Morton MP
Ben Morton was elected as the Federal Liberal Member for Tangney at the 2016 Federal Election.Ben is...
Senator Matt O'Sullivan
Western Australia has been home to six generations of Matt’s family and he and his wife are proud to...
Christian Porter MP
Christian was born and raised in Western Australia and calls Yanchep home with his wife Jennifer, so...
Melissa Price MP
Melissa was born and bred in regional WA and understands the strength and diversity that comes from ...
Senator Linda Reynolds
Senator Reynolds was elected to the Australian Senate in 2014 and is a passionate representative for...
Senator Dean Smith
Dean Smith is a Liberal Senator for Western Australia. Dean was appointed to the Senate for Western ...
Ken Wyatt MP
Ken Wyatt was elected in 2010 as the Federal Member for Hasluck, located east of Perth, making histo...