ID 0233

State Government of Western Australia beginning 1 April 1947 - period in office of Premier McLarty, Duncan Ross ending on 23 February 1953

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

McLarty, Duncan Ross
Date of beginning of period in office
1 April 1947
Date of end of period in office
23 February 1953 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Loss of general election 
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
Liberal Party
If coalition government
Coalition partner 1
Country Party
Coalition partner 2
Coalition partner 3
Coalition partner 4
Party support in parliament at beginning of period
Coalition Minority
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 14 February 1953Duncan Ross McLartyLiberal and Country LeagueAlbert Redvers George HawkeAustralian Labor Party
WA 25 March 1950Duncan Ross McLartyLiberal PartyDuncan Ross McLartyLiberal and Country League
WA 15 March 1947Frank Joseph Scott WiseAustralian Labor PartyDuncan Ross McLartyLiberal Party

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Loss of general election (Wise): Beginning of McLarty's period in office: 'Following the election on 15 March 1947 there was a possible deadlock in the Legislative Assembly. However, it was certain that the Liberals would outnumber of Country and Democratic League members. On 19 March McLarty was re-elected leader of the Liberal Party and on 24 March [A F] Watts was re-elected leader of the Country Party. On 26 March Country Party members agreed to join a coalition with the Liberals, each party having four salaried Ministers and one honorary Minister, and proceeded to elect its five members of the ministry. On 28 March it was confirmed that the two Opposition parties would have an absolute majority [when supported by at least one of the two Independent members], and on 1 April Wise resigned and the Governor sent for McLarty', Hughes and Graham, p. 235 (see 'Sources', below). McLarty became Premier of a coalition minority Liberal Party and Country Party government.

Loss of general election (McLarty): Following the defeat of the McLarty coalition minority Liberal Country League and Country Party government at the general election for the Legislative Assembly on 14 February 1953, McLarty resigned and a majority Australian Labor Party government led by Premier Hawke was commissioned on 23 February 1953.

Country Party and Country and Democratic League: In the year before the 1947 general election for the Legislative Assembly, the Country Party had changed its organizational structure and name. At the 1944 conference of the Primary Producers Association (PPA), a motion was passed which terminated the administrative arrangements through which the Country Party had been the political wing of the PPA. Its newly acquired political autonomy required the party to create its own organization and source of funds. As part of this reorganization, the party changed its name to the Country and Democratic League as a sign of the party's intention to widen its electoral appeal; see Lenore Layman, 'The Country Party: Rise and Decline', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 159-190, at pp 167-170 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495).

Liberal Party and Liberal and Country League: During Premier McLarty's period in office, the Liberal Party changed its name. In 1949, a public meeting '... attended by several hundred people from various parts of the state approved the formation of the Liberal and Country League (LCL) .... The Liberal Party agreed to submerge its identity in the new party...' David Black, 'The Liberal Party and its Predecessors', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 191-232, at p.218 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495). Black argues that this change of name was part of a continuing struggle between the Liberal Party and the Country Party.

References: For a study of the style of parliamentary politics during this period, see Lenore Layman, 'Continuity and Change, 1947-1965', 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).

The Australian Journal of Politics and History has provided brief surveys of Western Australian politics since 1956 in the 'Political Chronicle' section of the journal in issues of each annual volume. This publication can be viewed online through Wiley-Blackwell Journals at subscribing libraries.

For a survey of McLarty's career, see Lenore Layman, 'McLarty, Sir Duncan Ross (1891 - 1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, pp 259-260, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2000), 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).