If the people cannot call to account the makers of government policy they ultimately have no way of controlling public policy or the impact of that policy on their own lives. At the same time, an Australian Capital Territory government must manage most of the same portfolios as a State government. However, by convention, Ministers are generally members of that body. At the State level, constitutional change could be effected by an Act of State Parliament as constitutional provisions do not entrench the status of Ministers in any State. Despite the challenges associated with introducing a comprehensive model, it may still be possible to appoint external Ministers at the federal level. A Question of Loyalty addresses the issues regarding ministers and departments avoiding taking accountability for actions and the politicised nature of accountability.

However, the delegates rarely turned their attention in any detail to the meaning of responsible government or what it would entail in an Australian federal state. However, given the relative inflexibility of the Commonwealth Constitution, and the requirement under s 64 that federal Ministers sit in Parliament, the adoption of this model would be difficult, if not near impossible. 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 executive, and in the mode in which your duties will be discharged. Ministers must not speak against government policy or reveal the deliberations of Cabinet. A parliamentary system that uses cabinet collective responsibility is more likely to avoid contradictions and disagreements between cabinet members of the executive branch. Accountability and Collective Responsibility.

Palmer Bridled Power.

A United Kingdom Ministers in the UK have traditionally followed a similar ‘pathway to power’ to their Australian counterparts.

The permanent secretary acts as the administrative head of department or the chief executive. I will go further, and say this that if the words “responsible government” were adopted in our constitution, and the question of their meaning were referred to a bench of the ablest judges that could be found, they would end by declaring themselves utterly unable to define or to declare their meaning.


Due to the uncooperative relationship between James Hacker and Humphrey Appleby in A Question of Loyalty, the issues in the department arise because ministegs in keeping with the wishes of cabinet and government are not implemented. Drawing on these comparative experiences, we propose a model of te ministerial appointments that builds upon existing appointment and termination processes for Ministers and includes specific coklective measures to ensure the responsibility of external Ministers to Parliament and compliance with ministerial codes of conduct.

A majority government in that Territory could have as few as nine members from which to form a ministry. The minister acts on decisions from the Prime Minister PM and cabinet and directs the policy miniaters their department, which is then carried out by the public servants.

Cabinet collective responsibility

Finally, it is possible that this option would not be popular with the Australian electorate: Responsible government is a phrase which I would defy anyone in this assembly to define.

Following the Carr appointment, the issue warrants more detailed consideration in the Australian context. In contrast, in India and Pakistan the Attorney-General is exempt due to the need for specialist expertise that is not necessarily available within the ranks of Parliament.

research paper 04/82 the collective responsibility of ministers - an outline of the issues

We do not seek in this article to draw final conclusions as to whether appointing Ministers not elected to Parliament is a desirable practice.

Cabinet solidarity is purely a political convention designed to maintain or protect the collective good as perceived by a partisan ministry. This model would allow external ministerial appointments within a framework of responsible government. However, as the minster he is ultimately responsible for the actions of the department.

Cabinet collective responsibility is related to the fact that if a vote of no confidence is passed in parliamentthe government is responsible collectively, and thus the entire government resigns. In Whitmore, P, Yes Rewearch. Hacker then can be held responsible for his department but not to blame. Its inner workings are set out in the Ministerial Code.

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

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. As governments internationally continue to experiment with new ways of improving governance, so too can Australia play a role in these debates through trialling new models and processes for the appointment of Ministers from outside of Parliament.


research paper 04/82 the collective responsibility of ministers - an outline of the issues

Help Center Find new research papers in: See also at 9 MarchCharles Kingston. Whether a particular cap is appropriate will depend on the size of the government and purposes yhe which the appointments are being made. The cabinet members, along with the Prime Minister, schedule weekly closed door sessions to discuss the collective stance of the cabinet to avoid inconsistent responses from cabinet ministers. However, the Carr appointment has flagged the potential for governments to make greater use of casual vacancies to appoint external Ministers to an upper respnsibility.

(PDF) Accountability and Collective Responsibility | Sean Manning –

Parliamentary democracies such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada practice and adhere to cabinet collective responsibility. An important factor in minister accountability is the information given to the minister to address issues inside of the department.

The following will discuss the nature of accountability in government, and individual and collective responsibility with regard to the effect they have on relationships between ministers and the department chief executives. Other measures have been used in contemporary State politics to introduce external expertise into ministerial deliberations.

The different experiences gained in each house may be reflected somewhat in the convention that the Prime Minister must sit in the lower house. As a result, some degree of institutionalisation and formal written adoption is desirable.

research paper 04/82 the collective responsibility of ministers - an outline of the issues

As the minister is the voice of government for the department, the chief executive is the voice of the public service for the department. Despite these challenges and limitations, Rann’s appointments from outside Parliament have generally been viewed as a success in political circles. Why Accountability Must be Renewed.