Speaker of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly

The Speaker of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly is the presiding officer in the Legislative Assembly. The office has existed since the creation of the Legislative Assembly in 1890 under the Constitution Act 1889. The current Speaker is Labor MLA Peter Watson, who has held the role since the 2017 state election.

Speaker of the
Western Australian Legislative Assembly
Peter Watson

since 11 May 2017
StyleThe Honourable
Mr / Madam Speaker
(in the Assembly)
AppointerThe Monarch's representative at the behest of the Legislative Assembly
Term lengthElected at start of each Parliament
Inaugural holderSir James George Lee-Steere
Formation30 December 1890
DeputyLisa Baker

The role of the Speaker

The Speaker must be a member of the Assembly themselves, and is elected to the position by a ballot of the members of the Assembly. It is generally a partisan position. As with the other states and territories, the Speaker continues to attend party meetings and stands at general elections as a party candidate, if they are indeed a member of a party. There is no convention that the Speaker should not be opposed in his or her constituency.

On the other hand, the Speaker is not a political figure like those in the United States. He or she does not take part in debates in the House, does not vote in the House except in the (rare) event of a tied vote, and does not speak in public on party-political issues (except at election time in his or her own constituency). He or she is expected to conduct the business of the House in an impartial manner, and generally does so. The Speaker is assisted by a member-elected Deputy Speaker, who is usually also of the governing party.

The Speaker's principal duty is to preside over the Assembly. The occupant of the Chair must maintain order in the House, uphold the Standing Orders (rules of procedure) and protect the rights of backbench members.

List of Speakers of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly

OrderSpeakerPartyTerm beginTerm endTerm of officeNotes
1Sir James George Lee-SteereMinisterial30 December 189030 November 190312 years, 335 days1
2Charles HarperOpposition2 December 190327 July 1904238 days1
3Mathieson JacobyIndependent28 July 190427 October 19051 year, 91 days1
4Timothy QuinlanMinisterial23 November 19058 October 19115 years, 319 days1
5Frank TroyLabor1 November 191113 February 19175 years, 104 days
6Edward Bertram JohnstonCountry13 February 19171 March 191716 days
7James GardinerCountry1 March 191728 June 1917119 days
8George TaylorNational Labor19 July 191723 July 19247 years, 4 days
9Thomas WalkerLabor24 July 192429 July 19306 years, 5 days
10Sydney StubbsCountry30 July 193017 July 19332 years, 352 days
11Alexander PantonLabor18 July 193324 March 19384 years, 249 days
12William JohnsonLabor4 August 19382 August 1939363 days
13Joseph SleemanLabor3 August 193931 July 19477 years, 362 days
14Charles NorthLiberal31 July 19475 August 19536 years, 5 days
15Aloysius RodoredaLabor6 August 19531 August 19562 years, 361 days
16James HegneyLabor2 August 195629 June 19592 years, 331 days
17John HearmanLiberal30 June 195923 March 19688 years, 267 days
18Hugh GuthrieLiberal25 July 196820 February 19712 years, 210 days
19Merv TomsLabor15 July 19718 October 197185 days
20Daniel NortonLabor16 November 197130 March 19742 years, 134 days
21Sir Ross HutchinsonLiberal22 May 197419 February 19772 years, 273 days
22Ian ThompsonLiberal24 May 197721 March 19835 years, 301 days
23John HarmanLabor22 March 19838 February 19862 years, 262 days
24Mike BarnettLabor10 June 198617 June 19937 years, 7 days
25Jim ClarkoLiberal17 June 199314 December 19963 years, 180 days
26George StricklandLiberal6 March 199710 February 20013 years, 341 days
27Fred RiebelingLabor1 May 20016 September 20087 years, 128 days
28Grant WoodhamsNationals6 November 20089 March 20134 years, 123 days
29Michael SutherlandLiberal11 April 201311 March 20173 years, 334 days
30Peter WatsonLabor11 May 2017present2 years, 215 days
  1. Members of the Legislative Assembly were not officially associated with organised parties until 1904.

See also


  • Black, David; Mandy, John (2002). The Western Australian Parliamentary Handbook (20th edition). Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project.
  • Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
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