Don May (politician)

Donald George May (15 February 1924 – 23 September 2001) was an Australian politician who was a Labor Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1962 to 1965 and again from 1968 to 1977. He was a minister in the government of John Tonkin.

Don May
Member of the Legislative Assembly
of Western Australia
In office
31 March 1962 – 20 February 1965
Preceded byDes O'Neil
Succeeded byRoss Elliott
In office
23 March 1968 – 19 February 1977
Preceded byNone (new creation)
Succeeded byTony Williams
Personal details
Born(1924-02-15)15 February 1924
Collie, Western Australia, Australia
Died23 September 2001(2001-09-23) (aged 77)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Political partyLabor

Early lifeEdit

May was born in Collie, Western Australia, to Elizabeth Lyall (née Wilson) and Henry Thomas May. His mother was the daughter of Arthur Wilson, a long-serving Labor MP, and his father was the Labor member for Collie-Preston from 1947 to 1968. May was sent to school in Perth, attending Perth Boys' School and Perth Technical College. He worked as a coal miner and a railway clerk after leaving school, and in 1943 enlisted in the Australian Army, serving in the Pacific as a private with the 2/2nd Commando Squadron. Upon his return to Australia he secured work as a public relations officer with Western Australian Government Railways.[1]


A member of the Labor Party since 1941, May stood for parliament at the 1962 state election, winning the seat of Canning by a narrow margin.[2] He and his father consequently became the first father–son pair to sit together in the Legislative Assembly.[1] At the 1965 election, the result in Canning was reversed, with May narrowly being defeated by sports journalist Ross Elliott, the Liberal Party candidate. He returned to parliament at the 1968 election as the member for the new seat of Clontarf, located in Perth's southern suburbs.[2]

May increased his majority at the 1971 election and was appointed Minister for Mines and Minister for the North-West in the new Labor government led by John Tonkin. In a reshuffle only a few months after his initial appointment, he lost the North-West portfolio to Herb Graham, but was instead created Minister for Electricity. In July 1972, he also replaced Arthur Bickerton as Minister for Fuel. The Tonkin government was defeated at the 1974 election, but May remained a member of the Tonkin shadow cabinet, and later the shadow cabinet of Colin Jamieson, who replaced Tonkin as leader in 1976. He left parliament at the 1977 election, and worked for a period as chief industrial personnel officer of CBH Group, a grain growers' cooperative. May died in September 2001, aged 77. He married twice, having three children by his first wife.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Donald George May Sr – Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 7 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
Des O'Neil
Member for Canning
Succeeded by
Ross Elliott
New creation Member for Clontarf
Succeeded by
Tony Williams
Political offices
Preceded by
Arthur Griffith
Minister for Mines
Succeeded by
Andrew Mensaros
Preceded by
Charles Court
Minister for the North-West
Succeeded by
Herb Graham
Preceded by
Crawford Nalder
Minister for Electricity
Succeeded by
Andrew Mensaros
Preceded by
Arthur Bickerton
Minister for Fuel
Succeeded by
Andrew Mensaros