ID 0220

State Government of Western Australia beginning 25 August 1905 - period in office of Premier Rason, Cornthwaite Hector ending on 7 May 1906

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

Rason, Cornthwaite Hector
Date of beginning of period in office
25 August 1905
Date of end of period in office
7 May 1906 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Defeat in parliament 
Reason for end of this government
Resignation of premier (see note)
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
27 October 1905
Result of general election
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')

* to view table drag left or right.
Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
WA 27 October 1905Cornthwaite Hector RasonMinisterialistsCornthwaite Hector RasonMinisterialists

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Defeat in parliament (Daglish): Beginning of Rason's period in office: 'After a year in office the Daglish Government fell when the Assembly rejected its plan to buy the Midland Railway Company, and C H Rason, who had been chosen to lead the Opposition after the departure of [former premier] James, formed a Government', de Garis, p. 88 (see 'References', below). Rason was commissioned as Premier of a minority Ministerialist government.

Change in parliamentary support: 'With the pitfalls of minority Government fresh in his mind, Rason successfully courted a snap dissolution soon [after his appointment in August 1905], and the [October] 1905 election completed the trend towards a two-party Assembly which [former premier] James had encouraged the year before. The Independents all either lost their seats or were driven into the arms of the ministerialists, who won 35 of the 50 seats', de Garis, p. 88 (see 'References', below). This made Rason Premier of a majority Ministerialist government.

Resignation of premier: 'Only six months [after the October 1905 election] he resigned, on 7 May 1906. He cited poor health—others alleged family trouble, coupled with financial embarrassment—and accepted the post of agent-general in London. His unexpected abdication aroused criticism not only from opponents, but from some colleagues, who feared for the newly won stability which Rason's victory had promised after nearly five years of shifting faction politics', Bolton, (see 'References', below).

Ministerialists and the emergence of political parties: 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. 226, see 'Sources', below) label the Rason ministry as 'Liberal', but the term reflects the predisposition of the Premier and his supporting group rather than a party organization.

For the emergence of political parties, 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 Rason's career, see G C Bolton, 'Rason, Sir Cornthwaite Hector William James (1858 - 1927)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, pp 333-334, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1988), 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).