Australian Bureau of Statistics
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008
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Note: This web page was updated on 4/3/2008 to correct an error in the name of 'Alfred Deakin'. No other changes were made.
The Hon. JW Howard MP (Liberal Party of Australia) has been Prime Minister since 11 March 1996.
Pictures of all holders of the office of Prime Minister of Australia can be found below.
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 4.1.
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.
Particulars of the Fourth Howard Ministry, comprising Cabinet ministers and the outer ministry, are shown in table 4.2.
In Westminster-derived governments, such as Australia's, the Opposition has a recognised and formal status, being recognised in the Standing Orders of the Parliament and in legislation. The Opposition is seen as the alternative government and typically forms a 'shadow Cabinet' of MPs who prepare themselves to take on the reins of government. The Opposition also has the role of acting as the main critic of the government and of offering to the community an alternative set of policies.
Mr KM Rudd MP (Australian Labor Party) has been Leader of the Opposition since 4 December 2006.
This page last updated 3 June 2010
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