ID 0227

State Government of Western Australia beginning 17 May 1919 - period in office of Premier Mitchell, James ending on 15 April 1924

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

Mitchell, James
Date of beginning of period in office
17 May 1919
Date of end of period in office
15 April 1924 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Change of party leader 
Reason for end of this government
Loss of general election
Number of days in office

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
Nationalist Coalition (see notes)
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')

* to view table drag left or right.
Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
WA 12 April 1930Philip CollierAustralian Labor PartyJames MitchellNationalist Party
WA 22 March 1924James MitchellNationalist Coalition (see notes)Philip CollierAustralian Labor Party
WA 12 March 1921James MitchellNationalist Coalition (see notes)James MitchellNationalist Coalition (see notes)

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Change of party leader (Colebatch): Beginning of Mitchell's first period in office: 'Colebatch, as a member of the Legislative Council, tried to persuade a Country Party member to resign his [Legislative] Assembly seat in his favour. Neither the Farmers and Settlers' Association executive nor the parliamentary Country Party were prepared to sanction this arrangement. Colebatch then resigned and the National[ist] caucus elected Mitchell as leader', Hughes and Graham, p. 230 (see 'Sources', below); Mitchell became Premier of a majority Nationalist Coalition government; this was the third leader of the Nationalist Coalition government in two years.

For more detail and a description of the political controversies during Colebatch's brief period in office, see Black, p.104 (see 'References', below), and David Black, 'Party Politics in Turmoil, 1911-1924', in C T Stannage (editor), A New History of Western Australia, pp 381-405, at p. 398-400, (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1981, ISBN 0855641819).

'During the term of the Mitchell Government the balance of the three coalition parties changed substantially, with the Country Party growing into the largest bloc and eventually comprising a majority of the parliamentary party', Hughes and Graham, p. 231 (see 'Sources', below). For information on tensions within the parliamentary party, see Black pp 104-105 (see 'References', below).

Loss of general election: Following the election in March 1924, the Australian Labor Party won a majority of seats and Mitchell resigned as Premier.

References: For a study of the style of parliamentary politics at the time, see David Black, 'Factionalism and Stability, 1911-1947', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 97-151, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).

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 Mitchell's career, see G. C. Bolton , 'Mitchell, Sir James (1866 - 1951)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, pp 530-532, (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).