Cabinet & Ministry

“There are only two ways of getting into the Cabinet. One is to crawl up the staircase of preferment on your belly; the other way is to kick them in the teeth. But for God’s sake don’t mix the two methods.”Aneurin Bevan (British Labour politician)

The Executive Government consists of the Cabinet and the Ministry led by the Prime Minister.

The Ministry is derived from the party or parties that command a majority in the House of Representatives.

Constitutionally, the Governor-General heads the Executive Government, but in practice the Governor-General acts on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The Ministry consists of all those Members of Parliament chosen by the Prime Minister. The Liberal Party has always given its prime minister the power to choose the ministry. The ALP traditionally allowed the Caucus to elect the ministry, whilst the Prime Minister allocated portfolios. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (2007-10 & 2013) was allowed to abandon this process and choose his own ministry, a practice also followed by Julia Gillard (2010-13).

Ministers serve as members of the executive arm of government and administer the various government departments. The most senior Ministers, including the Prime Minister form the Cabinet, which is often referred to as the engine-room of government.

The principles of cabinet government are not well understood in the wider community. There is often confusion between the ministry and the cabinet, as well as uncertainty about how the Executive Government operates.

Key Terms

Cabinet & the Ministry In Operation

The responsibility of ministers to the Parliament and the people is an important ingredient of the Westminster parliamentary system. The principles of Collective and Individual Ministerial Responsibility govern this chain of accountability. The application of these principles varies considerably depending on the Prime Minister, the political position of the minister in question and public reaction.

Ministerial Guidelines

Cabinet Handbooks

Ministerial Lists

Federal Ministries

Federal Shadow Ministries

Archived Posts

Archived Posts

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