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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
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Contents >> Government >> Australian Government

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

PRIME MINISTER

The office of Prime Minister is not recognised by the Constitution, being a conventional part of the governmental arrangements. It is also a matter of convention that the Prime Minister is always a member of the House of Representatives.

After an election, the Governor-General sends for the leader of the party, or coalition, which has secured a majority in the House of Representatives, and commissions that person to assume the office of Prime Minister and to form a government.

The Prime Minister has the following powers:

  • advising the Sovereign on the appointment of the Governor-General
  • acting as the sole source of formal advice for the Governor-General
  • advising the Governor-General as to when Parliament should be dissolved
  • setting the date for House of Representatives elections
  • allocating positions in the Cabinet
  • chairing Cabinet meetings.

    MINISTERS

    The Prime Minister nominates members of his or her parliamentary party or coalition to serve as ministers, responsible for administering government departments such as the Treasury, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence. The Constitution requires that all ministers be either a member of the House of Representatives or a Senator. If a new minister is not an MP, it is obligatory for that minister to become an MP within three months of his/her appointment. Ministers may be appointed or replaced at any time between elections.

    From time to time certain members of the Commonwealth Parliament have been appointed by governments to assist ministers in their work. Such persons have been known by a variety of designations, including parliamentary under-secretary and assistant minister; the current term is parliamentary secretary.

    The ministries since Federation are listed in table 2.1.

    CABINET

    Senior ministers are members of the Cabinet, the meetings of which are chaired by the Prime Minister. Cabinet is not a body that is recognised by the Constitution, being a conventional part of the governmental arrangements. Despite this, Cabinet effectively controls not only a government’s legislative program, but also government departments of state. In effect, therefore, Cabinet is the dominant political and administrative element in Australia's national government. The Governor-General does not attend Cabinet meetings.


    2.1 MINISTRIES SINCE 1901

    Number of ministryMinistryPeriod of officeParty

    1Barton1 January 1901 to 24 September 1903Protectionist
    2Deakin24 September 1903 to 27 April 1904Protectionist
    3Watson27 April 1904 to 17 August 1904Australian Labor Party
    4Reid-McLean18 August 1904 to 5 July 1905Free Trade-Protectionist
    5Deakin5 July 1905 to 13 November 1908Protectionist
    6Fisher13 November 1908 to 2 June 1909Australian Labor Party
    7Deakin2 June 1909 to 29 April 1910Protectionist-Free Trade-Tariff Reform
    8Fisher29 April 1910 to 24 June 1913Australian Labor Party
    9Cook24 June 1913 to 17 September 1914Liberal
    10Fisher17 September 1914 to 27 October 1915Australian Labor Party
    11Hughes27 October 1915 to 14 November 1916Australian Labor Party
    12Hughes14 November 1916 to 17 February 1917Nationalist Labour
    13-14Hughes17 February 1917 to 9 February 1923Nationalist
    15Bruce-Page9 February 1923 to 22 October 1929Nationalist-Country Party
    16Scullin22 October 1929 to 6 January 1932Australian Labor Party
    17-18Lyons6 January 1932 to 7 April 1939United Australia Party
    19Page7 April 1939 to 26 April 1939Country Party-United Australia Party
    20Menzies26 April 1939 to 14 March 1940United Australia Party
    21-22Menzies14 March 1940 to 29 August 1941United Australia Party-Country Party
    23Fadden29 August 1941 to 7 October 1941Country Party-United Australia Party
    24-25Curtin7 October 1941 to 6 July 1945Australian Labor Party
    26Forde6 July 1945 to 13 July 1945Australian Labor Party
    27-28Chifley13 July 1945 to 19 December 1949Australian Labor Party
    29-33Menzies19 December 1949 to 26 January 1966Liberal-Country Party
    34-35Holt26 January 1966 to 19 December 1967Liberal-Country Party
    36McEwen19 December 1967 to 10 January 1968Liberal-Country Party
    37-39Gorton10 January 1968 to 10 March 1971Liberal-Country Party
    40McMahon10 March 1971 to 5 December 1972Liberal-Country Party
    41-43Whitlam5 December 1972 to 11 November 1975Australian Labor Party
    44-48Fraser11 November 1975 to 11 March 1983Liberal-National Country Party
    49-52Hawke11 March 1983 to 20 December 1991Australian Labor Party
    53-55Keating20 December 1991 to 11 March 1996Australian Labor Party
    56-59Howard11 March 1996 Liberal-Nationals

    Source: Library of the Commonwealth Parliament.


    Particulars of the Fourth Howard Ministry, comprising Cabinet ministers, other ministers and parliamentary secretaries are shown in table 2.2.


    2.2 FOURTH HOWARD MINISTRY - October 2004

    CABINET MINISTERS

    Prime MinisterThe Hon. John Howard MP
    Minister for Transport and Regional Services (Deputy Prime Minister)The Hon. Mark Vaile MP
    TreasurerThe Hon. Peter Costello MP
    Minister for Foreign AffairsThe Hon. Alexander Downer MP
    Minister for TradeThe Hon. Warren Truss MP
    Minister for Finance and AdministrationSenator the Hon. Nick Minchin MP
    Minister for Health and AgeingThe Hon. Tony Abbott MP
    Attorney-GeneralThe Hon. Philip Ruddock MP
    Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the ArtsSenator the Hon. Helen Coonan
    Minister for Immigration and Multicultural AffairsSenator the Hon. Amanda Vanstone
    Minister for DefenceThe Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson MP
    Minister for Industry, Tourism and ResourcesThe Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP
    Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public ServiceThe Hon. Kevin Andrews MP
    Minister for the Environment and HeritageSenator the Hon. Ian Campbell
    Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and ForestryThe Hon. Peter McGauran MP
    Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous AffairsThe Hon. Mal Brough MP
    Minister for Education, Science and Training and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's IssuesThe Hon. Julie Bishop MP

    OTHER MINISTERS

    Minister for Vocational and Technical Education and Minister Assisting the Prime MinisterThe Hon. Gary Hardgrave MP
    Minister for Local Government, Territories and RoadsThe Hon. Jim Lloyd MP
    Minister for Revenue and Assistant TreasurerThe Hon. Peter Dutton MP
    Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for DefenceThe Hon. Bruce Billson MP
    Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Minister for Workplace RelationsThe Hon. Joe Hockey MP
    Special Minister of StateThe Hon. Gary Nairn MP
    Minister for AgeingSenator the Hon. Santo Santoro
    Minister for Justice and CustomsSenator the Hon. Chris Ellison
    Minister for the Arts and SportSenator the Hon. Rod Kemp
    Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and ConservationSenator the Hon. Eric Abetz
    Minister for Community ServicesThe Hon. John Cobb MP
    Minister for Small Business and TourismThe Hon. Fran Bailey MP
    Minister for Workforce ParticipationThe Hon. Dr Sharman Stone MP

    PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIES

    Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime MinisterThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional ServicesThe Hon. De-Anne Kelly MP
    Parliamentary Secretary to the TreasurerThe Hon. Chris Pearce MP
    Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs)The Hon. Teresa Gambaro MP
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural AffairsThe Hon. Andrew Robb AO MP
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for DefenceSenator the Hon. Sandy Macdonald
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and AdministrationSenator The Hon. Richard Colbeck
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and AgeingThe Hon. Christopher Pyne MP
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and HeritageThe Hon. Greg Hunt MP
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and ForestryThe Hon. Sussan Ley MP
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, Science and TrainingThe Hon. Pat Farmer MP
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and ResourcesThe Hon. Bob Baldwin MP

    Source: Library of the Commonwealth Parliament.


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