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 (Liberal Party) or the Party Caucus (ALP). They 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 Term: Executive Government
- Overview of Executive Government Rules and Conventions
- Constitutional and Executive Government Conventions
The Executive & The Crown
- The Executive Council – this is one of the least understood aspects of the Australian political system, yet it is also central to the process of decision-making.
Cabinet & the Ministry In Operation
“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)
- Cabinet Secrecy – Why? – an explanation of the necessity for secrecy in the operation of the Cabinet.
- Howard Government Cabinet Committees – Cabinet’s Committees are where much of the real work of the government is done.
- Howard Government Cabinet Committees Following 2001 Election
- Legislation Handbook – the 2000 version of the official handbook that guides ministers on the procedures for developing legislation for Cabinet and Parliamentary approval.
- ACT Cabinet Handbook 2002
- The Budget Lockup – every year when the Government presents the annual Budget to Parliament, the media is able to attend a “lock-up” several hours before the Budget is made available. This statement from the Treasurer’s office explains the rules governing the lock-up.
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 Resignations Since 1901 – a complete list of the ministers who have resigned or been sacked because of breaches of the individual or collective responsibility principles, or because of personal impropriety.
- Ministerial Guidelines 1998 – the official guide issued to ministers explaining their role and responsibilities.
- John Howard’s Code of Ministerial Conduct – Hailed by Howard as a bold move to raise the standard of ministerial behaviour, the Code of Conduct has undergone a number of revisions since 1996.
- Whitlam And Fraser Call For Strengthening Of Ministerial Accountability – in November 2007, the former Labor and Liberal prime ministers called for the modernisation and strengthening of ministerial accountability in Australia.
- The Controversy Over Jobs Taken By Ex-Ministers – concern over the propriety of jobs gained by formers ministers after they leave politics has led to calls for reform of the rules governing ministerial behaviour.
- Reith Telecard Affair Satire – Peter Reith, then the Minister for Workplace Relations, was embroiled in a controversy in 2000 over the use of a parliamentary Telecard. Reith repaid $50,000 for telephone calls made with the card. Later, he was moved to the Defence portfolio. He retired from Parliament at the 2001 election.
- Mar 25, 2013: Gillard Reshuffles Ministry; Supporters Promoted; Four New Ministers
- Mar 22, 2013: Senator Kim Carr Resigns From Gillard Ministry; Third Departure Today
- Mar 22, 2013: Martin Ferguson Resigns From Gillard Ministry; Second Departure Today
- Mar 22, 2013: Chris Bowen Resigns From Gillard Ministry
- Jan 01, 2013: 1984-85 Hawke Government Cabinet Papers Released
- Feb 22, 2012: Rudd Has No Labor Values, Says Swan
- Jan 01, 2012: Cabinet Papers From 1982-1983 Released
- Apr 06, 2011: Prime Minister, It’s Time To Sack Kevin Rudd
- Jan 01, 2011: 1980 Cabinet Papers Released
- Sep 15, 2010: The Second Gillard Government: Politics Is Personal
- Jul 29, 2010: Day 12: Peril
- Nov 12, 2008: Ken Henry’s Address To The National Press Club
- Feb 13, 2008: Rudd Government Faces First Question Time
- Dec 06, 2007: Nelson Announces Shadow Ministry
- Dec 06, 2007: Coalition Shadow Ministry From December 6, 2007
- Dec 03, 2007: The Rudd Ministry: Who Does What
- Dec 03, 2007: Kevin Rudd Sworn In As Australia’s 26th Prime Minister
- Nov 29, 2007: Rudd Announces New Labor Government Ministry
- Nov 27, 2007: Kevin Rudd’s Brisbane Press Conference
- Nov 12, 2007: Whitlam-Fraser Call For Strengthening Of Ministerial Accountability
- Mar 16, 2007: Santoro Resigns From Ministry Over Share Dealings
- Mar 14, 2007: Ken Henry Speech To Treasury Staff
- Mar 06, 2007: Howard Reshuffle: Ellison Promoted, New Minister From WA
- Mar 03, 2007: Campbell Quits Howard Ministry Over Burke Connections
- Jan 24, 2006: Howard Ministry; Nelson To Defence; Nats Lose; Turnbull Tapped
- Jan 24, 2006: Details of Howard Government’s Ministerial Changes
- Dec 31, 2005: 1975 Cabinet Papers Released
- Dec 16, 2005: John Howard’s Senate Abuses – The Story Since July 1st
- Dec 08, 2003: Mark Latham’s Shadow Ministry
- Feb 20, 2002: Ex-Ministers: Jobs After Government
- Feb 06, 2002: Abbott, Public Service Basher, Repents
- Dec 13, 2001: Howard Government 2001 Cabinet Committees
- Sep 07, 2001: Michael Wooldridge Announces Resignation From Parliament
- Jun 19, 2001: John Howard: The Australian Public Service
- Apr 01, 2001: A Statistical Analysis Of The Howard Ministry – 2001
- Feb 27, 2001: Beazley ALP Shadow Ministry 2001
- Feb 14, 2001: The Reshuffled Howard Ministry – February 2001
- Jan 31, 2001: Electoral Rorts Snares Would-Be Howard Minister Mal Brough
- Jan 01, 2001: 1970 Cabinet Documents Released
- Oct 29, 1999: Napthine Coalition Shadow Ministry – Victoria 1999
- Oct 20, 1999: Bracks Labor Government Ministry
- Oct 13, 1998: Howard To Announce Ministerial Reshuffle on Sunday; ALP Caucus To Meet Next Week
- Oct 13, 1998: Howard Shuffles Ministry; Labor Caucus Meets Next Week
- Jan 10, 1998: The Howard Government Ministry 1996-98
- Oct 20, 1997: The First Howard Ministry – October 1997
- Mar 19, 1996: Kim Beazley’s ALP Shadow Ministry 1996
- Mar 17, 1996: Howard Government 1996 Cabinet Committees
- Mar 11, 1996: The First Howard Ministry 1996
- Mar 09, 1971: Malcolm Fraser’s Resignation Speech: “Disloyalty Intolerable And Not To Be Endured”