Caretaker Conventions During The Federal Election

With the 2016 double dissolution federal election expected to be formally called tomorrow, the Turnbull government will soon go into caretaker mode.

The caretaker period usually begins when the Parliament is dissolved. This could take place as early as Monday, but must take place by close of business on Wednesday in order to satisfy the constitutional requirements of Section 57.

The caretaker conventions are based on the idea that the executive government can no longer he held to account by the Parliament. Therefore, during the election period, the government makes no major policy decisions or appointments and doesn’t enter into contracts, agreements or arrangements that would bind a future government. Any significant decisions that have to be made require consultation with the Opposition.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has issued an updated version of Guidance On Caretaker Conventions. It is substantially similar to the last edition in 2013.

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