|Speaker of the Legislative Assembly|
11 April 2013
|Preceded by||Grant Woodhams|
|Member of the Western Australian Parliament
for Mount Lawley
6 November 2008
|Preceded by||Constituency re-established|
23 October 1954 |
Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa
|Political party||Liberal Party of Australia|
Progressive Federal Party
|Alma mater||University of the Witwatersrand
University of South Africa
University of Sydney
Michael William Sutherland (born 23 October 1954) is an Australian politician who is the current Speaker of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. He has been a Liberal member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly since September 2008, representing the electorate of Mount Lawley. Prior to State politics, Michael was a City of Perth Council Councillor from 1995 to 2009 and served as Deputy Mayor for five years. Michael retired from the City of Perth Council in early 2009. Between 1982 and 1987 Michael served as a Johannesburg City Councillor.
Michael was born to William and Alice Sutherland in Johannesburg, South Africa. Michael’s parents met whilst his father was serving as a Warrant Officer in the South African Army in Egypt during the Second World War. His father was of Scottish ancestry, whilst his mother belonged to the Lebanese Christian community. His mother later married William and migrated to South Africa.
Michael describes his upbringing as cosmopolitan. His mother spoke French, Arabic, English and some Italian and Greek, and he grew in a city of diverse nationalities, religions and backgrounds.
After matriculating from The Hill High School where he was head boy, Michael undertook national service in the South African Army, and then proceeded to complete a Bachelor of Arts at the Witwatersrand University, where he majored in History and International Relations. He commenced teaching in 1977 for a period of five years. Whilst teaching, he studied as an external student at the University of South Africa, graduating with a Teacher’s Diploma and Law Degree. He was admitted as a solicitor and notary public in South Africa in 1983.
Entry into politics and public service
It was primarily Michael’s dislike of the apartheid system in South Africa that led him to become involved in politics. He was active in the United Party, the then main parliamentary opposition to the ruling National Party, from the early 1970s.
In 1982 Michael was elected to the Johannesburg City Council as a member of the Progressive Federal Party, which by then had become the main parliamentary opposition party. The Johannesburg City Council was a large metropolitan council with 47 councillors and 600,000 residents.
Dissatisfied with the iniquities of the apartheid system, political turmoil, unrest and uncertainties in South Africa, Michael immigrated to Australia in 1987.
Career in Australia
Michael arrived in Sydney in 1987. He soon qualified as an Australian lawyer through the University of Sydney. He then moved to Perth in 1988 where he practiced law until 2008 when he was elected as the Member for Mount Lawley, the position he currently holds.
On his resignation from City of Perth Council in 2009, Michael was made a Freeman of the City of Perth, an honour awarded to council members who have served at least three consecutive elections, who have made an outstanding contribution to the community and who have consistently displayed commendable conduct.
- "Parliament of Western Australia - Members of the Legislative Assembly". Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- "Michael Sutherland's Inaugural Address to Parliament". Michael Sutherland's Inaugural Address to Parliament. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
|Western Australian Legislative Assembly|
|Member for Mount Lawley