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The Honourable
Cyril Rushton
Deputy Premier
of Western Australia

In office
25 January 1982 – 25 February 1983
Premier Ray O'Connor
Preceded by Ray O'Connor
Succeeded by Mal Bryce
Member of the Legislative Assembly
of Western Australia

In office
8 May 1965 – 25 February 1988
Preceded by Gerald Wild
Succeeded by Fred Tubby
Constituency Dale
Personal details
Born (1922-11-23)23 November 1922
Denmark, Western Australia
Died 23 August 1992(1992-08-23) (aged 69)
Dalkeith, Western Australia
Political party Liberal

Edgar Cyril Rushton (23 November 1922 – 23 August 1992) was an Australian politician who was a Liberal Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1965 to 1988. He served as a minister in the governments of Charles Court and Ray O'Connor, including as deputy premier to O'Connor from 1982 to 1983.

Early life

Born in Denmark, in Western Australia's Great Southern region, Rushton attended schools in Denmark, Mount Barker, and Katanning, before boarding at Scotch College in Perth.[1] He served in the military during the Second World War, initially as a signaller in the Australian Army, and then as a navigator (rank leading aircraftman) in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).[2][3] On returning to Australia, Rushton worked at the Bank of New South Wales, initially in country areas and then closer to Perth. He served on the Armadale-Kelmscott Shire Council 1958 to 1966, including as shire president from 1964 to 1965.


Rushton joined the Liberal Party in 1947. He was first elected to parliament at the 1965 Dale by-election, which came only three months after the 1965 state election. The previous holder of the seat, Gerald Wild, had resigned from parliament to take up the position of Agent-General for Western Australia.[1] As a new member of parliament, Rushton did not serve as a minister under David Brand. After Charles Court led the Liberal Party to victory at the 1974 state election, he was appointed Minister for Local Government and Minister for Urban Development and Town Planning in the new ministry.[4] The ministry was reconstituted in 1978 after a portfolio reshuffle, and Rushton was named Minister for Transport, with June Craig, the only woman in Cabinet, taking over his portfolios.[5]

Following the 1980 state election, at which the government was again returned, there was speculation that Court would retire. Rushton was considered a candidate to replace him, along with Craig, Bill Grayden, Ray Young, Jim Clarko, and Court's deputy, Ray O'Connor.[6] Court eventually resigned in early 1982. He was replaced by O'Connor, who was elected unopposed, and Rushton was elected deputy leader in a four-way contest.[7] Retaining his transport portfolio, he also served as Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services in O'Connor's new ministry, which was defeated at the following year's election.[6]

With the Liberal Party now in opposition, Rushton was one of four men to contest a leadership ballot in February 1984, along with O'Connor, Bill Hassell, and Barry McKinnon. Hassell replaced O'Connor as leader of the party and Leader of the Opposition, while McKinnon replaced Rushton as deputy leader of the party, narrowly defeating Richard Court.[8][9] Re-elected again at the 1986 state election, Rushton underwent open-heart surgery in August 1987,[10] and, having missed much of the following parliamentary session, resigned on 25 February 1988. The resulting by-election was won by Liberal candidate Fred Tubby, with Labor not fielding a candidate.[1]

Later life

Rushton died in Perth in August 1992, aged 69, and was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery.[11] He had married Elizabeth Melva (Betty) Crouch in 1947, with whom he had four sons and a daughter. They divorced in 1976, and he then remarried to Jean Rachel Evans, in 1977.[1][12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Black, David; Bolton, Geoffrey (2011). Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Volume Two 1930–2010 (Revised Edition). Parliament of Western Australia. p. 229. ISBN 1920830308. 
  2. RUSHTON, EDGAR CYRIL (Australian Army) – WW2 Nominal Roll. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  3. RUSHTON, EDGAR CYRIL (RAAF) – WW2 Nominal Roll. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  4. Phillips, Harry (1991). "The Modern Parliament, 1965–1989". In Black, David. The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832–1990. Perth, Western Australia: Parliament of Western Australia. p. 212. ISBN 0-7309-3983-9. 
  5. Phillips 1991, p. 193
  6. 6.0 6.1 Phillips 1991, p. 213
  7. (19 December 1981). "Court to retire as WA's Premier"The Canberra Times. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  8. (16 February 1984). "Former WA Premier loses job as leader"The Canberra Times. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  9. Phillips 1991, p. 231
  10. Steven Loxley (3 September 1987). "Liberal ranks thinned" – The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  11. RUSHTON, EDGAR CYRIL – Metropolitan Cemeteries Board. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  12. Rushton, Elizabeth Melva nee Crouch – The Order of Australia Association. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
Unrecognised parameter
Preceded by
Gerald Wild
Member for Dale
Succeeded by
Fred Tubby
Political offices
Preceded by
Ray O'Connor
Deputy Premier
Succeeded by
Mal Bryce
Preceded by
Claude Stubbs
Minister for Local Government
Succeeded by
June Craig
Preceded by
Ron Davies
(as Minister for Town Planning)
Minister for Urban Development and Town Planning
Succeeded by
June Craig
Preceded by
David Wordsworth
Minister for Transport
Succeeded by
Julian Grill
Preceded by
Bill Hassell
(as Minister for Police and Traffic)
Minister for Emergency Services
Succeeded by
Arthur Tonkin
(as Minister for Police and Emergency Services)

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