ID 0216

State Government of Western Australia beginning 21 November 1901 - period in office of Premier Morgans, Alfred Edward ending on 23 December 1901

Period in office of premier (see Glossary entry for 'period in office' and related terms)

Morgans, Alfred Edward
Date of beginning of period in office
21 November 1901
Date of end of period in office
23 December 1901 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Defeat in parliament 
Reason for end of this government
Defeat in parliament
Number of days in office

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
If coalition government
Coalition partner 1
Coalition partner 2
Coalition partner 3
Coalition partner 4
Party support in parliament at beginning of period
If change in parliamentary support during period
If further change during period

Number of ministers at beginning of period (this may vary during the period)

Total number of ministers
Number from party of premier
Number from coalition party 1
Number from coalition party 2
Number from upper house
Number who are women

Assembly elections contested as premier or after which became premier (see Glossary entry for 'after election')

This premier did not win office as the result of an election, and was not (or has not been) in office long enough to contest an election as premier ; see 'Period in office' table above.

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Defeat in parliament (Leake): Beginning of Morgans's period in office: 'The fluid state of politics was graphically illustrated when Parliament met in June 1901, for only 8 Members on each side chose seats on the direct ministerial or Opposition benches, the remaining 34 crowding into the cross-benches', Brian de Garis, pp 82-83 (see 'References', below). The Leake minority government continued with difficulty for five months and, on 9 October 1901, was defeated on a vote of confidence moved by Henry Piesse, the Leader of the Opposition group.

'Having refused Leake's request for a dissolution, the Governor invited Piesse to form a Government but this he was unable to do to his own satisfaction. Piesse was from a rural background, as were all his close political friends, and he was apparently unable to get any city Members to join his team, which would have been a serious handicap. He therefore advised that A E Morgans, another 'Opposition' Member be sent for, and Morgnas formed a Cabinet drawn from Perth and goldfields representatives, with only one rural Member', Brian de Garis, p. 83 (see 'References', below).

Defeat in parliament (Morgans): 'At the ministerial by-elections following the change of government, three of Morgans's ministers lost their seats and Morgans no longer commanded a majority in the Legislative Assembly', Reid and Oliver, p. 112 (see 'Sources', below). 'Ministerial re-election had hitherto been a formality but on this occasion the most highly organised and party-like campaigning the State had yet seen led to three of the six Ministers being defeated. Morgans in turn asked for a dissolution and, when this was refused, he resigned after only a month as Premier', de Garis p. 83 (see 'References', below).

Ministerialists: During the 1890s, factional politics began to give way to political groupings and electoral organizations which foreshadowed the emergence of modern political parties. But these groupings were still fluid. The term ministerialists is often applied to groupings which, for a variety of reasons, supported a particular government. Hughes and Graham (p. 225, see 'Sources', below) label the Morgans ministry as 'Conservative', but the term reflects the predisposition of the Premier and his supporting group rather than a party organization.

For the emergence of political parties in Western Australia, see Brian de Garis, 'Western Australia', in P Loveday, A W Martin and R S Parker (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, pp 298-354 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977, ISBN 0908094035).

References: For a study of the style of parliamentary politics at the time, see Brian de Garis, 'Self-Government and the Emergence of Political Parties, 1890-1911', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 63-95, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839), and note C T Stannage, 'The Composition of the Western Australian Parliament 1890-1911', University Studies in History, 4 (3), 1965: 85-94.

Summary information on Western Australian premiers from 1890 to 1982 and a short essay, 'The Premiers -- An Introductory Comment', can be found in Reid and Oliver (see 'Sources', below).

For a survey of Morgans's career, see G C Bolton, 'Morgans, Alfred Edward (1850 - 1933)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, p. 586, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1986), on line at:


Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); John Mandy and David Black (editors),The Western Australian Parliamentary Handbook Centenary Edition, (Perth: Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1990, ISBN 0731697847); G S Reid and M R Oliver, The Premiers of Western Australia 1890-1982, (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1982, ISBN 0855642149).