Arthur Tonkin (politician)

Arthur Raymond Tonkin (born 21 January 1930) is a former Australian politician who was a Labor Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1971 to 1987. He was a minister in the government of Brian Burke.

Arthur Tonkin
Member of the Legislative Assembly
of Western Australia
In office
20 February 1971 – 30 March 1974
Preceded byDoug Cash
Succeeded byNone (seat abolished)
In office
30 March 1974 – 19 February 1983
Preceded byNone (new seat)
Succeeded byNone (seat abolished)
In office
19 February 1983 – 18 March 1987
Preceded byNone (new seat)
Succeeded byFrank Donovan
Personal details
Born (1930-01-21) 21 January 1930 (age 90)
Kelmscott, Western Australia
Political partyLabor
Alma materUniversity of Western Australia

Tonkin was born in Perth to Florence May (née Cole) and Norman Sedrick Tonkin. He studied at the University of Western Australia and Claremont Teachers College, and subsequently worked as a teacher (both in the metropolitan area and in the country).[1] A member of the State School Teachers Union, Tonkin was elected to parliament at the 1971 state election, winning the seat of Mirrabooka from the Liberal Party's Doug Cash. His seat was abolished at the 1974 election, and he successfully transferred to the new seat of Morley.[2] Tonkin was elevated to shadow cabinet after the 1977 election, and would serve under three leaders of the opposition (Colin Jamieson, Ron Davies, and Brian Burke).[1]

At a redistribution prior to the 1983 state election, Tonkin's seat was abolished and replaced with the new seat of Morley-Swan.[2] After the election, which Labor won, he was made Minister for Water Resources, Minister for Consumer Affairs, and Minister for Parliamentary and Electoral Reform, as well as Leader of the House.[1] He lost the consumer affairs portfolio to Peter Dowding in December 1983, having presented "too hardline an image" in his dealings with business.[3] In a reshuffle after the 1986 election, Tonkin lost the electoral reform portfolio to Mal Bryce, but replaced Jeff Carr as Minister for Police and Emergency Services. However, he resigned from the ministry less than three months later, and resigned from parliament altogether in March 1987.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Arthur Raymond Tonkin – Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 8 July 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.
  3. ^ Gallop, Geoff (June 1984). "Australian Political Chronicle: July-December 1983". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 30 (2): 274. ISSN 0004-9522.
Parliament of Western Australia
Preceded by
Doug Cash
Member for Mirrabooka
New seat Member for Morley
New seat Member for Morley-Swan
Succeeded by
Frank Donovan
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Shalders
Minister for Consumer Affairs
Succeeded by
Peter Dowding
Preceded by
Andrew Mensaros
Minister for Water Resources
Succeeded by
Des Dans
New creation Minister for Parliamentary and Electoral Reform
Succeeded by
Mal Bryce
Preceded by
Jeff Carr
Minister for Police and Emergency Services
Succeeded by
Gordon Hill