Speaker of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly

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The Speaker of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly is the presiding officer in the Legislative Assembly. The office has existed since the creation of the Legislative Assembly in 1890 under the Constitution Act 1889. The current Speaker is Liberal Michael Sutherland, who has held the role since the 2013 state election.

The Speaker must be a member of the Assembly themselves, and is elected to the position by a ballot of the members of the Assembly. It is generally a partisan position. As with the other states and territories, the Speaker continues to attend party meetings and stands at general elections as a party candidate, if they are indeed a member of a party. There is no convention that the Speaker should not be opposed in his or her constituency.

On the other hand, the Speaker is not a political figure like those in the United States. He or she does not take part in debates in the House, does not vote in the House except in the (rare) event of a tied vote, and does not speak in public on party-political issues (except at election time in his or her own constituency). He or she is expected to conduct the business of the House in an impartial manner, and generally does so. The Speaker is assisted by a member-elected Deputy Speaker, who is usually also of the governing party.

The Speaker's principal duty is to preside over the Assembly. The occupant of the Chair must maintain order in the House, uphold the Standing Orders (rules of procedure) and protect the rights of backbench members.

List of Speakers of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly[edit]

Speaker Party Appointed Left Office Term
Sir James George Lee-Steere Ministerial1 30 December 1890 30 November 1903 12 years, 335 days
Charles Harper Opposition1 2 December 1903 27 July 1904 0 years, 238 days
Mathieson Jacoby Independent1 28 July 1904 27 October 1905 1 year, 91 days
Timothy Quinlan Ministerial1 23 November 1905 8 October 1911 5 years, 319 days
Michael Troy Labor 1 November 1911 13 February 1917 5 years, 104 days
Edward Bertram Johnston Country 13 February 1917 1 March 1917 0 years, 12 days
James Gardiner Country 1 March 1917 28 June 1917 0 years, 119 days
George Taylor Nationalist 19 July 1917 23 July 1924 7 years, 4 days
Thomas Walker Labor 24 July 1924 29 July 1930 6 years, 5 days
Sydney Stubbs Country 30 July 1930 17 July 1933 2 years, 352 days
Alexander Panton Labor 18 July 1933 24 March 1938 4 years, 249 days
William Johnson Labor 4 August 1938 2 August 1939 0 years, 363 days
Joseph Sleeman Labor 3 August 1939 31 July 1947 7 years, 362 days
Charles North Liberal 31 July 1947 5 August 1953 6 years, 5 days
Alec Rodoreda Labor 6 August 1953 1 August 1956 2 years, 361 days
James Hegney Labor 2 August 1956 29 June 1959 2 years, 331 days
John Hearman Liberal 30 June 1959 23 March 1968 8 years, 267 days
Hugh Guthrie Liberal 25 July 1968 20 February 1971 2 years, 210 days
Merv Toms Labor 15 July 1971 8 October 1971 0 years, 85 days
Daniel Norton Labor 16 November 1971 30 March 1974 2 years, 134 days
Sir Ross Hutchinson Liberal 22 May 1974 19 February 1977 2 years, 273 days
Ian Thompson Liberal 24 May 1977 21 March 1983 5 years, 301 days
John Harman Labor 22 March 1983 8 February 1986 2 years, 262 days
Mike Barnett Labor 10 June 1986 17 June 1993 7 years, 7 days
Jim Clarko Liberal 17 June 1993 14 December 1996 3 years, 180 days
George Strickland Liberal 6 March 1997 10 February 2001 3 years, 341 days
Fred Riebeling Labor 1 May 2001 6 September 2008 7 years, 128 days
Grant Woodhams Nationals 6 November 2008 9 March 2013 4 years, 123 days
Michael Sutherland Liberal 11 April 2013 present 1 year, 132 days
  1. Members of the Legislative Assembly were not officially associated with organised parties until 1904.

References[edit]