Cabinet And Ministry Numbers Since 1949

The Second Turnbull Government was sworn in today with the largest Cabinet since the Whitlam government in 1975.

Turnbull’s Cabinet has 23 members, an increase of one from before the July 2 election. The previous 22 members was an increase from 21 when Turnbull became PM in September 2015, and from 19 in the Abbott government.

During the Whitlam government (1972-75), all 27 members of the ministry were in the Cabinet because the system of a Cabinet and Outer Ministry was abandoned. Having so many ministers in the Cabinet was widely regarded as a bad thing and the next Labor government under Bob Hawke reintroduced the two-tier model.

Turnbull has accommodated an increase in ministerial representation for The Nationals by increasing the size of Cabinet from 22 to 23, whilst the Outer Ministry has been reduced from 8 to 7.

The table below shows the numbers in each federal ministry since the election of the Menzies Liberal-Country Party coalition in 1949. Each set of numbers reflects the composition of the government immediately after an election, or immediately following a change of prime minister. Other mid-term changes are not included. The final column of the table shows the breakdown of Liberal and Country/Nationals representation in coalition governments.

Federal Ministry Sizes Since 1949
Year Ministry Cabinet Outer
Ministry
Parliamentary
Secretaries/
Asst Ministers
Total Lib-CP/Nats
1949
Fourth Menzies Ministry
19
19
15/4
1951
Fifth Menzies Ministry
20
20
15/5
1954
Sixth Menzies Ministry
21
21
16/5
1955
Seventh Menzies Ministry
15
9
24
13/2, 6/3
1958
Eighth Menzies Ministry
13
11
24
10/3, 8/3
1961
Ninth Menzies Ministry
12
11
23
9/3, 9/2
1963
Tenth Menzies Ministry
12
13
25
9/3, 10/3
1966
First Holt Ministry
12
13
25
9/3, 10/3
1966
Second Holt Ministry
12
14
26
9/3, 12/2
1967
McEwen Ministry
11
14
25
8/3, 11/3
1968
First Gorton Ministry
12
14
26
9/3, 11/3
1969
Second Gorton Ministry
13
13
26
9/4, 10/3
1971
McMahon Ministry
13
13
26
10/3, 9/4
1972
First Whitlam Ministry
2
2
1972
Second Whitlam Ministry
27
27
1974
Third Whitlam Ministry
27
27
1975
First Fraser Ministry
15
15
11/4
1976
Second Fraser Ministry
12
12
24
9/3, 9/3
1977
Third Fraser Ministry
14
13
27
11/3, 10/3
1980
Fourth Fraser Ministry
14
12
26
11/3, 9/3
1983
First Hawke Ministry
13
14
27
1984
Second Hawke Ministry
17
10
27
1987
Third Hawke Ministry
17
13
30
1990
Fourth Hawke Ministry
17
13
4
34
1991
First Keating Ministry
18
12
8
38
1993
Second Keating Ministry
19
11
10
40
1996
First Howard Ministry
15
13
10
38
12/3, 11/2, 9/1
1998
Second Howard Ministry
17
13
12
42
14/3, 10/3, 10/2
2001
Third Howard Ministry
17
13
12
42
14/3, 11/2, 11/1
2004
Fourth Howard Ministry
17
13
12
42
14/3, 11/2, 11/1
2007
First Rudd Ministry
20
10
12
42
2010
First Gillard Ministry
19
10
11
40
2010
Second Gillard Ministry
20
10
13
43
2013
Second Rudd Ministry
20
10
12
42
2013
Abbott Ministry
19
11
12
42
16/3, 9/2, 10/2
2015
First Turnbull Ministry
21
9
12
42
18/3, 7/2, 10/2
2016
Second Turnbull Ministry
23
7
12
42
18/5, 6/1, 9/3

 

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