Arthur Griffith (Australian politician)

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This article is about the Western Australian politician. For the New South Wales politician, see Arthur Hill Griffith.
Sir Arthur Griffith
Constituency Assembly: Canning
Council: Suburban, North Metropolitan
Personal details
Born 22 April 1913
Geraldton, Western Australia, Australia
Died 17 November 1982
Shenton Park, Western Australia
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Gweneth Macaulay
Profession Political organiser and secretary

Sir Arthur Frederick Griffith (22 April 1913—17 November 1982) was an Australian politician, and a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 1950 until 1953 representing the seat of Canning, and a member of the Western Australian Legislative Council representing the Suburban and North Metropolitan provinces from 1953 until 1977. He served as President of the Legislative Council from May 1974 until May 1977.


Griffith was born in Geraldton, Western Australia, to George Griffith, a life insurance inspector, and Flora (née McDonald). He was educated at South Perth Primary School and at Perth Boys School. He left in 1928 at the age of 15 to take up a job in insurance, and in 1933, he became a law clerk.

On 24 June 1940, he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force for service in World War II. On 13 July 1940 at St Albans Church in Highgate, he married Gweneth Macaulay, with whom he later had one daughter. In 1941, he was commissioned from the ranks, and served in the Northern Territory as a Flying Officer for four weeks in late 1944. He was discharged on 5 November 1945.[1]

Upon his return to civilian life, he became a political organiser for the newly formed Liberal Party, and at the 1950 state election, he won the seat of Canning in the Legislative Assembly. However, at the following election in February 1953, he lost it to Labor's Colin Jamieson. At a by-election four months later, he won one of the two Suburban Province seats in the Legislative Council, and served as a party whip and a member of the Library Committee, before becoming deputy chairman of committees in 1956. From 16 June 1958, he was the Coalition's most senior member in the Council.

Upon the election of the Brand-Watts government at the 1959 election, he became Minister for Mines and Housing in the new government. Upon Arthur Watts's retirement as Deputy Premier and Attorney-General on 1 February 1962, the Coalition had no lawyers amongst its ranks, so the Attorney-General role lapsed and Griffith became Minister for Justice, relying on his clerical training. He continued in these roles as well as Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council until the Government's defeat at the 1971 election.

In 1974, with 21 years' service to that chamber, he became the Father of the Legislative Council, and was elected President, a role he held for the next three years until his retirement from politics.

After his retirement, he served as a member of the Zoological Gardens Board from 1977 until 1982. He died on 17 November 1982 at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and was cremated at Karrakatta Cemetery.[2]


  1. ^ Nominal Rolls, Department of Veterans' Affairs (2002). "Service Record - Griffiths, Arthur Frederick (296471)". Canberra. Retrieved 11 March 2009. 
  2. ^ Black, David; Bolton, Geoffrey (2001). Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Volume Two, 1930-1990 (Revised ed.). Parliament House: Parliament of Western Australia. ISBN 0731697839. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Leslie Diver
President of the Legislative Council
Succeeded by
Clive Griffiths
Preceded by
Harry Strickland
Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council
Succeeded by
William Willesee
Preceded by
Arthur Moir
Minister for Mines
Succeeded by
Donald May
Preceded by
Herb Graham
Minister for Housing
Succeeded by
Des O'Neil
Parliament of Western Australia
Preceded by
George Yates
Member for Canning
Succeeded by
Colin Jamieson
Preceded by
James Dimmitt
Member for Suburban Province
Division abolished
New division Member for North Metropolitan Province
Succeeded by
Bob Pike