Arthur Abbott

Arthur Valentine Rutherford Abbott (14 February 1892 – 10 October 1975) was an Australian lawyer and politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1939 to 1956. He was a minister in the government of Sir Ross McLarty, including as attorney-general from 1948 to 1953.

Arthur Abbott
Attorney-General of Western Australia
In office
5 January 1948 – 23 February 1953
Preceded byRoss McDonald
Succeeded byEmil Nulsen
Member of the Legislative Assembly
of Western Australia
In office
18 March 1939 – 25 March 1950
Preceded byJames MacCallum Smith
Succeeded byTed Needham
ConstituencyNorth Perth
In office
25 March 1950 – 7 April 1956
Preceded byNone (new creation)
Succeeded byEdward Oldfield
ConstituencyMount Lawley
Personal details
Born(1892-02-14)14 February 1892
Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Died10 October 1975(1975-10-10) (aged 83)
Perth, Western Australia
Political partyNationalist (to 1945)
Liberal (from 1945)

Early lifeEdit

Abbott was born in Broken Hill, New South Wales, but raised in Perth, where he attended Hale School. He completed his secondary education at Melbourne Grammar School, as a boarder. Abbott enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in May 1916, and served with the Australian Field Artillery and the Australian Flying Corps, reaching the rank of lieutenant by the war's end. In 1919, he briefly studied at the Council of Legal Education in London, completing his articles of clerkship the following year.[1]


Abbott first stood for parliament at the 1936 state election, when he unsuccessfully ran for the Nationalist Party in the seat of Mount Hawthorn. He was defeated by the sitting Labor member, Harry Millington. At the 1939 state election, Abbott won the seat of North Perth, defeating a sitting member from his own party, James MacCallum Smith.[2] He joined the Liberal Party upon its formation in 1945, and after its victory at the 1947 election was made Chief Secretary and Minister for Fisheries in the new ministry formed by Ross McLarty.[1]

After a ministerial reshuffle in January 1948, Abbott replaced Ross McDonald as Attorney-General and was replaced as Chief Secretary by Hubert Parker. He retained the attorney-generalship and the fisheries portfolio until the government's defeat at the 1953 election, but also held a third portfolio throughout that time, which varied – he was Minister for Health from 1948 to 1949, Minister for Prices from 1949 to 1950, and Minister for Police from 1950 to 1953.[1] Following an electoral redistribution which made North Perth a marginal seat, Abbott had transferred to the new seat of Mount Lawley at the 1950 state election. He held Mount Lawley until being defeated by Edward Oldfield (an "Independent Liberal") at the 1956 election.[2]

Later lifeEdit

After leaving parliament, Abbott returned to his law firm. he died in Perth in 1975, aged 83. He was married twice, firstly to Daphne Marmion in 1918, with whom he had a son. He was divorced in 1929, and remarried in 1934 to Olive Carlyle, with whom he had a son and a daughter. His first wife was a daughter of William Marmion, who was also a member of parliament.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Arthur Valentine Rutherford Abbott – Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Black, David; Prescott, Valerie (1997). Election statistics : Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, 1890-1996. Perth, [W.A.]: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project and Western Australian Electoral Commission. ISBN 0730984095.
Parliament of Western Australia
Preceded by
James MacCallum Smith
Member for North Perth
Succeeded by
Ted Needham
New seat Member for Mount Lawley
Succeeded by
Edward Oldfield
Political offices
Preceded by
William Kitson
Chief Secretary
Succeeded by
Hubert Parker
New creation Minister for Fisheries
Succeeded by
Lionel Kelly
Preceded by
Ross McDonald
Succeeded by
Emil Nulsen
Preceded by
Hubert Parker
Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Florence Cardell-Oliver
New creation Minister for Prices
Preceded by
Hubert Parker
Minister for Police
Succeeded by
Herbert Styants