ID 0237

State Government of Western Australia beginning 8 April 1974 - period in office of Premier Court, Charles Walter Michael ending on 25 January 1982



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

Premier
Court, Charles Walter Michael
Date of beginning of period in office
8 April 1974
Date of end of period in office
25 January 1982 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Loss of general election 
Reason for end of this government
Change of party leader
Number of days in office
2,849 

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
Liberal Party
If coalition government
Coalition partner 1
National Alliance
Coalition partner 2
--none--
Coalition partner 3
--none--
Coalition partner 4
--none--
Party support in parliament at beginning of period
Coalition
If change in parliamentary support during period
--none--  
If further change during period
--none--  

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

Total number of ministers
12
Number from party of premier
9
Number from coalition party 1
3
Number from coalition party 2
0
Number from upper house
3
Number who are women
0

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 23 February 1980Charles Walter Michael CourtLiberal PartyCharles Walter Michael CourtLiberal Party
WA 19 February 1977Charles Walter Michael CourtLiberal PartyCharles Walter Michael CourtLiberal Party
WA 30 March 1974John Trezise TonkinAustralian Labor PartyCharles Walter Michael CourtLiberal Party

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Notes

Loss of general election (Tonkin): Beginning of Charles Court's period in office: The Tonkin Australian Labor Party government was defeated at the general election for the Legislative Assembly on 30 March 1974; Premier Tonkin resigned on 8 April 1974, and Charles Court formed a Liberal Party and National Alliance coalition ministry '... of nine Liberals and three National Alliance (all ex-Country Party)', Hughes, p. 59 (see 'Sources', below).

Coalition partner: National Alliance, Country Party and National Country Party: In the face of dwindling electoral support and vigorous competition from the Liberal Party, the Country Party had merged with the Democratic Labor Party before the 1974 general election for the Legislative Assembly to form the National Alliance '... an unlikely union given the very different social roots and political concerns of the two', Lenore Layman, 'The Country Party: Rise and Decline', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 159-190, at p.183 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495). Not all Country Party parliamentary members joined the new party, and some candidates had joint endorsement for both the Country Party and the National Alliance. The poor performance of the fused party led the Country Party to revert to its previous name and organization after the election.

In a further attempt to redefine its role and broaden its electoral appeal, the Country Party changed its name in 1975 to the National Country Party, the name under which the party fought subsequent elections as the coalition partner supporting the Charles Court government; for context and analysis, 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 p.184 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495).

Change of party leader: 'Despite months of speculation, Sir Charles Court kept the pundits guessing to the last moment before announcing on 18 December that he would retire as premier and member for Nedlands to date from 25 Ianuary 1982. His deputy, Mr O’Connor, was elected unopposed as premier ...', David Black, 'Western Australia', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Political Chronicle, 28(1) April 1982: 83-121 at 121.

References: For a study of the style of parliamentary politics during this period, see Harry Phillips, 'The Modern Parliament, 1965-1989', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 185-262, particularly pp 210-227, (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.

A brief survey of Court's career can be found in his obituary in the Melbourne Herald Sun, 23 December 2007, on line at:
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/sir-charles-court-dead-at-96/story-e6frf7l6-1111115180626

Sources

Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1965-1974, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1977 ISBN 0708113400); Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, pp 115-221 (Sydney: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 008033038X); 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).

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