Governor-General Acts On Prime Minister Turnbull’s Advice; Caretaker Period Ends

Government House has released correspondence between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove which brings the election’s caretaker period to an end.

The documents show that Turnbull wrote to the Governor-General the day after the election to advise him the outcome was uncertain and that he would continue in a caretaker capacity until the results were clear. Cosgrove accepted this advice.

Yesterday, Turnbull again wrote to Cosgrove to advise him that the government was now in a position to command majority support in the House of Representatives, either in its own right or with the support of crossbenchers, and that the Opposition Leader had conceded defeat. Cosgrove accepted this advice.

The effect of this is to remove the restrictions on the government’s ability to make policy decisions, appointments and other significant political decisions. The period of caretaker government has ended.

Some commentators assert that there is a role for the Governor-General in determining who is commissioned to form a government. The letters show that these decisions continue to be made by the elected representatives and the Governor-General acts on the advice of his prime minister. Even in the event of a hung parliament, as the events of 2010 demonstrated, the Governor-General does not act unilaterally, but on the advice of his or her chief adviser.

The next function for the Governor-General will be to swear in the ministry chosen by Turnbull. This is expected sometime next week.

16-07-11_cosgrove-turnbull-election-correspondence

Print Friendly, PDF & Email