Ray O'Connor

Raymond James O'Connor (6 March 1926 – 25 February 2013) was an Australian politician. He served as the 22nd premier of Western Australia, from 1982 to 1983. In 1991, he was convicted of fraud as part of the WA Inc scandal, and served a six-month jail term.

Ray O'Connor
22nd Premier of Western Australia
In office
25 January 1982 – 25 February 1983
Preceded bySir Charles Court
Succeeded byBrian Burke
Member of the Western Australian Parliament
for Mount Lawley
In office
Preceded byEdward Oldfield
Succeeded byGeorge Cash
Member of the Western Australian Parliament
for North Perth
In office
Preceded byStan Lapham
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Personal details
Raymond James O'Connor

(1926-03-06)6 March 1926
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Died25 February 2013(2013-02-25) (aged 86)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Political partyLiberal

Pre-political lifeEdit

O'Connor was born in Perth and attended schools in Narrogin, York, and St Patrick's Boys' School, Perth. He enlisted in the Australian Army and served in the 61st Battalion of the Second Australian Imperial Force between 1944 and 1947.[1] His first attempt to enter parliament failed when he stood as an Independent Liberal candidate for the Metropolitan Province in the Legislative Council. O'Connor played several senior matches of Australian rules football: two matches for South Fremantle in 1944 in a wartime under-age competition and, later, 14 matches for East Perth from 1948 to 1950.[2]

Political careerEdit

O'Connor joined the Liberal Party in 1957 and in the general election of 1959 he was elected MLA for North Perth, defeating Stan Lapham, a Labor member who had held the seat for 6 years.

He was appointed to ministerial positions in 1965 – 71[3] and from 1974 until his premiership in 1982. He was Minister for Police at the time of the murder of brothel madam Shirley Finn, with whom he was allegedly in a relationship.[4]

O'Connor became state premier on the retirement of Sir Charles Court.[5][6] He was defeated at the polls after just over a year in office in February 1983.[7]

A Western Australian Royal Commission into business dealings by the Government was conducted during 1991 and 1992. He was tried in 1995 on charges of stealing a A$25,000 cheque from the Bond Corporation and was given a six-month jail sentence.[8][9]:p.104 et seq As a result, his 1989 appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia[10] was rescinded in 1995.[11]


Ray O'Connor died 9 days before his 87th birthday on 25 February 2013.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "O'Connor, Raymond James". World War Two Nominal Roll. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Footballers in the House" (PDF). Western Australian Parliamentary Library. Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  3. ^ Sacks Margaret A. (ed.) The WAY 79 Who is Who: Synoptic biographies of Western Australians, Crawley Publishers, Nedlands, W.A., 1980. ISBN 0-949848-00-X
  4. ^ Feller, Jennifer. Shirley Finn murder: Brothel owner threatened to expose alleged lover former WA premier Ray O'Connor. ABC News Australian Story, 6 March 2017
  5. ^ Wilson, Nigel (21 January 1982). "After Court, a change in style". The Age. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  6. ^ Poprzeczny, Joseph. 'Rocky' makes it to the top—Raymond O'Connor becomes premier of Western Australia". The Australian, 25 January 1982, p.7
  7. ^ Kitney, Geoff. "The winning of the West." The National Times, 23 January 1983, pp.6-7
  8. ^ "Premiers – O'Connor". Western Australian Governors and Premiers. Constitutional Centre of Western Australia. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  9. ^ The Bond cheque for $25,000 in WA Inc Royal Commission Report, Vol.VI, 1992, p. 135, at State Law Publisher, Government of WA
  10. ^ Commonwealth of Australia Gazette S.28, 26 January 1989. Retrieved 20 March 2014
  11. ^ Mickelburough, Peter. Social leaders stripped of honours after falling from grace. Herald Sun, 6 June 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2018
  12. ^ "Former Premier Ray O'Connor dies, aged 86". Sunday Times. 26 February 2013. Archived from the original on 1 March 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.

Other sourcesEdit

  • Reid, G. S. and Oliver M. R. (1982) The Premiers of Western Australia 1890–1982, pp. 102–106. University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, W.A. ISBN 0-85564-214-9
  • Reid, Stuart (1996) Interview with Raymond James O'Connor, politician (audio recordings and transcript accessible only at library). 8 sound cassettes (7 hr. 50 min.), A joint project of J. S. Battye Library of West Australian History and Parliament of Western Australia, Parliamentary History Committee. Transcript (typescript, 165 p. + index + appendix) Part of Battye Library catalogue. Note—While reticent about going over matters from the WA Inc Royal Commission which led to him being gaoled, Mr O'Connor does discuss the prison experience and how he was affected by it. An extract from the judge's summing up in that court case is appended at Mr O'Connor's request
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Court
Premier of Western Australia
Succeeded by
Brian Burke
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Court
Leader of the Liberal Party (WA division)
Succeeded by
Bill Hassell