O'Connor Ministry

The O'Connor Ministry was the 28th Ministry of the Government of Western Australia, and was led by Liberal Premier Ray O'Connor and his deputy Cyril Rushton. It succeeded the Court Ministry on 25 January 1982, upon the retirement of Sir Charles Court from politics. The ministry was in turn followed by the Burke Ministry on 25 February 1983 after the Liberal Party lost government at the state election held on 19 February.


Ray O'Connor, who had been in parliament since 1959 and first appointed as a Minister in 1967, had replaced Des O'Neil as Deputy Premier upon the latter's retirement from politics at the 1980 election. On 18 December 1981, Sir Charles Court, then 70 years of age, announced his decision that he would step down as Premier on 25 January 1982. O'Connor was elected unopposed by the party room to replace him.[1]

The final term of the preceding Court Ministry had been somewhat troubled due in part to the inconsistent support of Liberal MLA Dr Tom Dadour and the 1978 split of the National Country Party, with a breakaway National Party maintaining an independent line and holding three seats. A range of issues in several portfolios, most notably Aboriginal affairs and education, had received public prominence.[1]

Of the former Court ministry, 10 of the 13 ministers retained office—Sir Charles Court, Bill Grayden and David Wordsworth resigned, and backbenchers Bob Pike, Jim Clarko and Richard Shalders were promoted. The latter two were initially Honorary Ministers, but were fully promoted on 14 May 1982.

The MinistryEdit

On 25 January 1982, the Governor, Sir Richard Trowbridge, constituted the Ministry. He designated 13 principal executive offices of the Government and appointed the following ministers to their positions, who served until the end of the Ministry on 25 February 1983.[2] Two honorary ministers, Jim Clarko and Richard Shalders, were appointed to assist ministers in various portfolios, and on 14 May 1982, they fully assumed the portfolios. This was done pursuant to the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1980 (No.5 of 1980), assented on 9 September 1980, which had grown the Ministry from 13 to 15.

The list below is ordered by decreasing seniority within the Cabinet, as indicated by the Government Gazette and the Hansard index. Blue entries indicate members of the Liberal Party, whilst green entries indicate members of the National Country Party. The members of the Ministry were:

Office Minister

Premier and Treasurer
Minister Co-ordinating Economic and Social Development

Ray O'Connor, MLA

Deputy Premier
Minister for Transport
Minister for Emergency Services

Cyril Rushton, MLA

Minister for Agriculture
Minister for Primary Industry
Minister for Fisheries and Wildlife

Dick Old, MLA

Minister for Federal Affairs
Minister for Police (from 30 December 1982)
Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council

Ian Medcalf, ED, QC, LL.B., MLC

Minister for Works
Minister for Water Resources
Minister for Education
Minister assisting the Minister Co-ordinating
    Economic and Social Development

Andrew Mensaros, MLA

Minister for Resources Development
Minister for Mines
Minister for Fuel and Energy

Peter Jones, MLA

Minister for Health

(until 14 May 1982:)

Minister for Community Welfare
Minister for Housing
Minister for Consumer Affairs
Ray Young, Dip.Acctg, MLA

Minister for Police (until 30 December 1982)
Minister for Prisons
Minister assisting the Minister for Emergency Services

Bill Hassell, LL.B., MA, MLA

Minister for Labour and Industry
Minister for Immigration

Gordon Masters, MLC

Minister for Local Government
Minister for Urban Development and Town Planning

June Craig, MLA

Minister for Lands Minister for Forests
Minister for Conservation and the Environment

Ian Laurance, Dip.Teach, BA, FAIM, MLA

Minister for Industrial Development and Commerce
Minister for Regional Administration
Minister for the North-West
Minister for Tourism

Barry MacKinnon, BEc, Dip.Acctg, FASA, MLA

Chief Secretary
Minister for Prisons (from 30 December 1982)
Minister for Cultural Affairs
Minister for Recreation

Bob Pike, MLC

Minister for Education

Jim Clarko, BA, DipEd, MA, MLA
(from 14 May 1982)

Minister for Community Welfare
Minister for Housing
Minister for Consumer Affairs

Richard Shalders, Dip.Teach, MLA
(from 14 May 1982)


  1. ^ a b Black, David (April 1982). "Australian Political Chronicle: July-December 1981". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 28 (1): 111, 121. ISSN 0004-9522.
  2. ^ "No.5 (Special)". Western Australia Government Gazette. 25 January 1982. p. 1982:263-264.
    * Hansard Index for 1982, "Legislature of Western Australia"
Preceded by
Court Ministry
O'Connor Ministry
Succeeded by
Burke Ministry