In the Australian Capital Territory, if a vote recount is not possible, the vacancy will be filled by a person from the same political party as the vacating Member, as selected by the Legislative Assembly: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The principle of responsibility — to the electorate and the Parliament — is a vital one which must be maintained and strengthened because it is the basis of popular control over the direction of government and the destiny of the nation. As with the notion of ‘representative government’, it is possible to accept the words as a general description of a feature of constitutional arrangements in Australia without necessarily being able to derive from that feature precise implications which are binding in law. By convention, UK Ministers are appointed from Parliament. Ministers needed first to learn the business of politics:

The functionality of these aspects of government, in reality, are far more professional and protected from manipulation otherwise suggested in A Question of Loyalty. That is all that will be found in the Constitution of the United Kingdom. If the hon member is in doubt that the system of government under which the machinery of this Bill will operate will be responsible government as we understand it, that doubt will be altogether removed by the requirement of the presence of Ministers in Parliament. That is the practice under what we know as the British Constitution, and no doubt under the practical working of our constitution ministers here will also be required to sit in parliament, except in cases where a minister may for a longer or a shorter time be unable to obtain a seat there. This caused some confusion during the debates, with George Reid for example suggesting that some of his peers were ‘rather cloudy as to what responsible government is’. In reality, public servants in departments are expected to serve whatever party and minister is in control of government or departments without bias; this is due to the fact that public servants are not appointed to their position based on political influences but on professional merit Mulgan, Its inner workings are set out in the Ministerial Code.

In JulyPremier Arthur Macalister resigned after a dispute with the Governor over the issuing of inconvertible bank-notes as a response to a financial crisis. However, there is now clear recognition and practice that Ministers may also sit in an elected upper house. Furthermore, there was the new position of ministers outside of cabinet that had the ability to publically voice opinions opposite to that of the cabinet on pre agreed on topics.


research paper 04/82 the collective responsibility of ministers

This model is more suited to the Australian context as it allows external Ministers to be accountable to Parliament while not actually requiring their appointment to that body. A Question of Loyalty.

Cabinet collective responsibility

On the other hand, Australian academic discussion and public commentary has remained relatively silent on the issue.

After the first general election no Minister of State shall hold office for a longer period than three calendar months unless he shall be or become a member of one of the Houses of The Parliament. That I venture, with the greatest submission, to say is only an accident of responsible government, and not its principle or its essence.

The Governor then invited former Premier Robert Herbert and Raff to form a temporary committee to run the affairs of government, despite Raff not being a member of Parliament at the time.

If Hawker’s quota were adopted, six external Ministers could be appointed in a ministry with 30 members the size of the current Federal ministry. This question is analysed from the perspective of the principle of responsible government and the text of Australia’s various constitutional documents.

See also ‘Canada Politics: Further, external Ministers can pose significant challenges to long held conventions of responsible government.

(PDF) The Appointment of Ministers from Outside of Parliament | Alysia Blackham –

By convention, UK Ministers are appointed from Parliament. In Finlandcollective responsibility has been established both constitutionally and as a convention.

Rather, it was announced that Carr would assume his ministerial position after being selected for a seat in the Senate via a casual vacancy.

See also at 9 MarchCharles Kingston. Indeed, during the convention Philip Fysh declined to comment on a draft section on the basis that he doubted ‘whether the general public has any particular interest at the present moment in the method in which you will frame your rrsponsibility, and in the mode in which your duties will be discharged. Yet, despite this the episode is a good tool in minsters to explore accountability and responsibility, and how they emerge in the relationship between a minister and his chief executive.

research paper 04/82 the collective responsibility of ministers

Presidential democracies often lack the ability to pass legislation quickly in times of emergency or instances of national security. However, the constitution allows a minister to dissent by expressing an objection which is entered into the minutes.


The Labour lead government, with the Green Party as their major coalition partner, agreed to allow the Green Party members in parliament to influence actions made by cabinet without actually offering the Green Party any ministerial portfolios. Responisbility is a political epithet rather than a definition which specifies the precise respknsibility of constitutional requirements.

It has been argued in the UK that Ministers need to be ‘rooted somewhere’ to become integrated into the ministerial team. We are accustomed to think that the essence of responsible government is this: Because cabinet collective responsibility forces the cabinet ministers to publicly agree with the prime minister’s decisions, political debate and internal discourse is hindered.

As governmental responsibilities continue to increase in diversity and complexity, external Ministers with specific expertise are likely to become more attractive, as demonstrated by the appointment of Bob Carr from outside Parliament as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. The article also reviews existing practice in comparative jurisdictions and Australian law and practice in order to determine the form that such appointments might take.

We can see this from the motivation the James Hacker receives from the PM, who needs a minister to become publically accountable in order to force cuts oof spending.

While it has been suggested that the Commonwealth 048/2 the States should permit the appointment of external Ministers, 7 there has been only limited consideration of whether appointing Ministers from outside Parliament would enhance existing governance processes in Australia and improve the ability of governments to respond to contemporary challenges.

Such officers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor-General.

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research paper 04/82 the collective responsibility of ministers

In Canadathe cabinet is on rare occasion allowed to freely vote its conscience and to oppose the government without consequence, as occurred with the vote on capital punishment under Brian Mulroney. Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link.