|Prime Minister of Australia|
|Reports to||Parliament, Governor-General|
|Appointer|| Governor-General of Australia |
by convention, based on appointee's ability to command confidence in the House of Representatives
|Term length|| At the Governor-General's pleasure |
contingent on the Prime Minister's ability to command confidence in the lower house of Parliament
|Inaugural holder||Edmund Barton|
|Formation||1 January 1901|
The Prime Minister of Australia is the head of government of Australia. The individual who holds the office is the most senior Minister of State, the leader of the Federal Cabinet. The Prime Minister also has the responsibility of administering the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and is the chair of the National Security Committee and the Council of Australian Governments. The office of Prime Minister is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia but exists through Westminster political convention. The individual who holds the office is commissioned by the Governor-General of Australia and at the Governor-General's pleasure subject to the Constitution of Australia and constitutional conventions.
The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. "Head of government" is often differentiated from "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign or their viceroy. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the sovereign or viceroy on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives relative to the minister's department or ministry.
Scott Morrison has held the office of Prime Minister since 24 August 2018. He received his commission after replacing Malcolm Turnbull as the leader of the Liberal Party, the largest party in the Coalition government, following the Liberal Party leadership spill earlier the same day.
Scott John Morrison is an Australian politician who has been Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Liberal Party since August 2018. He previously served in the Cabinet from 2013 to 2018, including as Treasurer of Australia. Morrison was first elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Cook in 2007. Ideologically, he identifies himself as a pragmatic conservative.
Malcolm Bligh Turnbull is an Australian former politician who was the 29th Prime Minister of Australia from 2015 to 2018. He served twice as Leader of the Liberal Party, firstly from 2008 to 2009 when he was also Leader of the Opposition, and a second time from 2015 to 2018. He was the MP for Wentworth in the House of Representatives from 2004 to 2018.
The Liberal Party of Australia is a major centre-right political party in Australia, one of the two major parties in Australian politics, along with the centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP). It was founded in 1944 as the successor to the United Australia Party (UAP).
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politics and government of
The Prime Minister of Australia is appointed by the Governor-General of Australia under Section 64 of the Australian Constitution, which empowers the Governor-General, as the official representative of the Crown, to appoint government ministers of state on the advice of the Prime Minister and requires them to be members of the House of Representatives or the Senate, or become members within three months of the appointment. The Prime Minister and Treasurer are traditionally members of the House, but the Constitution does not have such a requirement.Before being sworn in as a Minister of State, a person must first be sworn in as a member of the Federal Executive Council if they are not already a member. Membership of the Federal Executive Council entitles the member to the style of The Honourable (usually abbreviated to The Hon) for life, barring exceptional circumstances. The senior members of the Executive Council constitute the Cabinet of Australia.
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the government of the Commonwealth of Australia operates, including its relationship to the States of Australia. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, which is referred to as the "Constitution" in the remainder of this article. The Constitution was approved in a series of referendums held over 1898–1900 by the people of the Australian colonies, and the approved draft was enacted as a section of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Imp), an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The monarchy of Australia concerns the form of government in which a hereditary king or queen serves as the nation's sovereign and head of state. Australia is governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, largely modelled on the Westminster system of parliamentary government, while incorporating features unique to the Constitution of Australia. The present monarch is Elizabeth II, styled Queen of Australia, who has reigned since 6 February 1952. She is represented in Australia as a whole by the Governor-General, in accordance with the Australian Constitution and letters patent from the Queen, and in each of the Australian states, according to the state constitutions, by a governor, assisted by a lieutenant-governor. The monarch appoints the Governor-General and the governors, on the advice respectively of the Commonwealth government and each state government. These are now almost the only constitutional functions of the monarch with regard to Australia.
The Treasurer of Australia is the minister in the Government of Australia responsible for government expenditure and revenue raising. The Treasurer plays a key role in the economic policy of the government. The current holder of the position is Josh Frydenberg, whose term began on 24 August 2018.
The Prime Minister is, like other ministers, normally sworn in by the Governor-General and then presented with the commission (letters patent) of office. When defeated in an election, or on resigning, the Prime Minister is said to "hand in the commission" and actually does so by returning it to the Governor-General. In the event of a Prime Minister dying in office, or becoming incapacitated, or for other reasons, the Governor-General can terminate the commission. Ministers hold office "during the pleasure of the Governor-General" (s. 64 of the Constitution of Australia), so theoretically, the Governor-General can dismiss a minister at any time, by notifying them in writing of the termination of their commission; however, their power to do so except on the advice of the Prime Minister is heavily circumscribed by convention.
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch, president, or other head of state, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation. Letters patent can be used for the creation of corporations or government offices, or for the granting of city status or a coat of arms. Letters patent are issued for the appointment of representatives of the Crown, such as governors and governors-general of Commonwealth realms, as well as appointing a Royal Commission. In the United Kingdom they are also issued for the creation of peers of the realm. A particular form of letters patent has evolved into the modern patent granting exclusive rights in an invention. In this case it is essential that the written grant should be in the form of a public document so other inventors can consult it to avoid infringement and also to understand how to "practice" the invention, i.e., put it into practical use. In the Holy Roman Empire, Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary, imperial patent was also the highest form of generally binding legal regulations, e. g. Patent of Toleration, Serfdom Patent etc.
According to convention, the Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party or largest party in a coalition of parties in the House of Representatives which holds the confidence of the House. Some commentators argue that the Governor-General may also dismiss a Prime Minister who is unable to pass the government's supply bill through both houses of parliament, including the Australian Senate, where the government doesn't normally command the majority, as happened in the 1975 constitutional crisis.Other commentators argue that the Governor General acted improperly in 1975 as Whitlam still retained the confidence of the House of Representatives, and there are no generally accepted conventions to guide the use of the Governor General's reserve powers in this circumstance. However, there is no constitutional requirement that the Prime Minister sit in the House of Representatives, or even be a member of the federal parliament (subject to a constitutionally prescribed limit of three months), though by convention this is always the case. The only case where a member of the Senate was appointed Prime Minister was John Gorton, who subsequently resigned his Senate position and was elected as a member of the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the upper house being the Senate. Its composition and powers are established in Chapter I of the Constitution of Australia.
The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Chapter I of the Constitution of Australia. There are a total of 76 Senators: 12 are elected from each of the six Australian states regardless of population and 2 from each of the two autonomous internal Australian territories. Senators are popularly elected under the single transferable vote system of proportional representation.
The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, also known simply as the Dismissal, has been described as the greatest political and constitutional crisis in Australian history. It culminated on 11 November 1975 with the dismissal from office of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, who then commissioned the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser of the Liberal Party, as caretaker Prime Minister.
Despite the importance of the office of Prime Minister, the Constitution does not mention the office by name. The conventions of the Westminster system were thought to be sufficiently entrenched in Australia by the authors of the Constitution that it was deemed unnecessary to detail them.[ citation needed ] The formal title of the portfolio has always been simply "Prime Minister", except for the period of the Fourth Deakin Ministry (June 1909 to April 1910), when it was known as "Prime Minister (without portfolio)".
The Westminster system is a parliamentary system of government developed in England, now a constituent country within the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament. The system is a series of procedures for operating a legislature. It is used, or was once used, in the national and subnational legislatures of most former British Empire colonies upon gaining responsible government, beginning with the first of the Canadian provinces in 1848 and the six Australian colonies between 1855 and 1890. However, some former colonies have since adopted either the presidential system or a hybrid system as their form of government.
The Fourth Deakin Ministry was the 8th ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 2nd Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin. The Fourth Deakin Ministry succeeded the First Fisher Ministry, which dissolved on 2 June 1909 after the Protectionist Party and the Anti-Socialist Party merged into the Commonwealth Liberal Party "fusion" and withdrew their support in order to form what became the first majority government in federal Australian history. The ministry was replaced by the Second Fisher Ministry on 29 April 1910 following the federal election that took place on 13 April which saw the Labour Party defeat the Commonwealth Liberals.
If a government cannot get its appropriation (budget) legislation passed by the House of Representatives, or the House passes a vote of "no confidence" in the government, the Prime Minister is bound by convention to immediately advise the Governor-General to dissolve the House of Representatives and hold a fresh election.
Following a resignation in other circumstances or the death of a Prime Minister, the governor-general generally appoints the Deputy Prime Minister as the new Prime Minister, until or if such time as the governing party or senior coalition party elects an alternative party leader. This has resulted in the party leaders from the Country Party (now named National Party) being appointed as Prime Minister, despite being the smaller party of their coalition. This occurred when Earle Page became caretaker Prime Minister following the death of Joseph Lyons in 1939, and when John McEwen became caretaker Prime Minister following the disappearance of Harold Holt in 1967. However in 1941, Arthur Fadden became the leader of the Coalition and subsequently Prime Minister by the agreement of both coalition parties, despite being the leader of the smaller party in coalition, following the resignation of UAP leader Robert Menzies.
Excluding the brief transition periods during changes of government or leadership elections, there have only been a handful of cases where someone other than the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives was Prime Minister:
Most of the Prime Minister's power derives from being the head of government.[ citation needed ] In practice, the Federal Executive Council acts to ratify all executive decisions made by the government and requires the support of the Prime Minister. The powers of the Prime Minister are to direct the Governor General through advice to grant Royal Assent to legislation, to dissolve and prorogue parliament, to call elections and to make government appointments, which the Governor-General follows.
The Constitution divides power between the federal government and the states, and the prime minister is constrained by this.
The formal power to appoint the Governor-General lies with the Queen of Australia, on the advice of the Prime Minister, whereby convention holds that the Queen is bound to follow the advice. The Prime Minister can also advise the monarch to dismiss the Governor-General, though it remains unclear how quickly the monarch would act on such advice in a constitutional crisis. This uncertainty, and the possibility of a "race" between the Governor-General and Prime Minister to dismiss the other, was a key question in the 1975 constitutional crisis. Prime Ministers whose government loses a vote of no-confidence in the House of Representatives, are expected to advise the Governor-General to dissolve parliament and hold an election, if an alternative government cannot be formed. If they fail to do this, the Governor-General may by convention dissolve parliament or appoint an alternative government.
The Prime Minister is also the responsible minister for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which is tasked with supporting the policy agendas of the Prime Minister and Cabinet through policy advice and the coordination of the implementation of key government programs, to manage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy and programs and to promote reconciliation, to provide leadership for the Australian Public Service alongside the Australian Public Service Commission, to oversee the honours and symbols of the Commonwealth, to provide support to ceremonies and official visits, to set whole of government service delivery policy, and to coordinate national security, cyber, counterterrorism, regulatory reform, cities, population, data, and women's policy.Since 1992, the Prime Minister also acts as the chair of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), an intergovernmental forum between the federal government and the state governments in which the Prime Minister, the state premiers and chief ministers, and a representative of local governments meet annually.
|2 June 1999||$289,270|
|6 September 2006||$309,270|
|1 July 2007||$330,356|
|1 October 2009||$340,704|
|1 August 2010||$354,671|
|1 July 2011||$366,366|
|1 December 2011||$440,000|
|15 March 2012||$481,000|
|1 July 2012||$495,430|
|1 July 2013||$507,338|
|1 January 2016||$517,504|
|1 July 2017||$527,852|
|1 July 2018||$538,460|
|1 July 2019||$549,250|
As of 1 July 2018, Australia's Prime Minister is paid a total salary of $549,250. This is made up of the 'base salary' received by all Members of Parliament ($211,250) plus a 160 percent 'additional salary' for the role of Prime Minister.Increases in the base salary of MPs and senators are determined annually by the Australian Government's Remuneration Tribunal.
While in office, the Prime Minister has two official residences. The primary official residence is The Lodge in Canberra. Most Prime Ministers have chosen The Lodge as their primary residence because of its security facilities and close proximity to Parliament House. There have been some exceptions, however. James Scullin preferred to live at the Hotel Canberra (now the Hyatt Hotel) and Ben Chifley lived in the Hotel Kurrajong. More recently, John Howard used the Sydney Prime Ministerial residence, Kirribilli House, as his primary accommodation. On her appointment on 24 June 2010, Julia Gillard said she would not be living in The Lodge until such time as she was returned to office by popular vote at the next general election, as she became Prime Minister by replacing an incumbent during a parliamentary term. Tony Abbott was never able to occupy The Lodge during his term (2013–15) as it was undergoing extensive renovations, which continued into the early part of his successor Malcolm Turnbull's term.Instead, Abbott resided in dedicated rooms at the Australian Federal Police College when in Canberra.
During his first term, Rudd had a staff at The Lodge consisting of a senior chef and an assistant chef, a child carer, one senior house attendant, and two junior house attendants. At Kirribilli House in Sydney, there is one full-time chef and one full-time house attendant.The official residences are fully staffed and catered for both the Prime Minister and their family. In addition, both have extensive security facilities. These residences are regularly used for official entertaining, such as receptions for Australian of the Year finalists.
The Prime Minister receives a number of transport amenities for official business. The Royal Australian Air Force's No. 34 Squadron transports the Prime Minister within Australia and overseas by specially converted Boeing Business Jets and smaller Challenger aircraft. The aircraft contain secure communications equipment as well as an office, conference room and sleeping compartments. The call-sign for the aircraft is "Envoy". For ground travel, the Prime Minister is transported in an armoured BMW 7 Series model. It is referred to as "C-1", or Commonwealth One, because of its licence plate. It is escorted by police vehicles from state and federal authorities.
Politicians, including Prime Ministers, are usually granted certain privileges after leaving office, such as office accommodation, staff assistance, and a Life Gold Pass, which entitles the holder to travel within Australia for "non-commercial" purposes at government expense. In 2017, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the pass should be available only to former prime ministers, though he would not use it when he was no longer PM.
Only one Prime Minister who had left the Federal Parliament ever returned. Stanley Bruce was defeated in his own seat in 1929 while Prime Minister but was re-elected to parliament in 1931. Other Prime Ministers were elected to parliaments other than the Australian federal parliament: Sir George Reid was elected to the UK House of Commons (after his term as High Commissioner to the UK), and Frank Forde was re-elected to the Queensland Parliament (after his term as High Commissioner to Canada, and a failed attempt to re-enter the Federal Parliament).
From time to time Prime Ministers are required to leave the country on government business and a deputy acts in their place during that time. In the days before jet aircraft, such absences could be for extended periods. For example, William Watt was acting Prime Minister for 16 months, from April 1918 until August 1919, when Prime Minister Billy Hughes was away at the Paris Peace Conference,and Senator George Pearce was acting Prime Minister for more than seven months in 1916. An acting Prime Minister is also appointed when the prime minister takes leave.
The office of Deputy Prime Minister was created in 1968. He or she most commonly, but not always, becomes acting Prime Minister in the circumstances mentioned above.
Three Prime Ministers have died in office – Joseph Lyons (1939), John Curtin (1945) and Harold Holt (1967). In each of these cases, the Deputy Prime Minister (an unofficial office at the time) became an interim Prime Minister, pending an election of a new leader of the government party. In none of these cases was the interim Prime Minister successful at the subsequent election of party leader.
As of August 2019, there are six living former Australian Prime Ministers.
The greatest number of living former Prime Ministers at any one time was eight. This has occurred twice:
Ben Chifley lived the least of all former prime ministers, as he died one year and six months after his term as prime minister.All other deceased former prime ministers have lived at least another 10 years, with the longest surviving former prime minister being Gough Whitlam, who lived 38 years and 11 months after office, surpassing Stanley Bruce's previous record of 37 years and 10 months.
The youngest person to become prime minister was Chris Watson –37, who was also 37 when he ceased being prime minister. The oldest person to become prime minister was John McEwen –67 as an interim prime minister, otherwise William McMahon –63. Robert Menzies was the oldest person to ever be prime minister, leaving office at 71 years old.
The longest-serving Prime Minister was Sir Robert Menzies, who served in office twice: from 26 April 1939 to 28 August 1941, and again from 19 December 1949 to 26 January 1966. In total Robert Menzies spent 18 years, 5 months and 12 days in office. He served under the United Australia Party and the Liberal Party respectively.
The shortest-serving Prime Minister was Frank Forde, who was appointed to the position on 6 July 1945 after the death of John Curtin, and served until 13 July 1945 when Ben Chifley was elected leader of the Australian Labor Party.
The last Prime Minister to serve out a full government term in the office was John Howard, who won the 2004 election and led his party to the 2007 election, but lost. Since then, the five subsequent Prime Ministers have been either voted out of the office mid-term by the caucuses of their own parties, assumed the office mid-term under such circumstances, or both.
|Portrait||Party||Term of office||Elections won||Ministry|
|1|| Sir Edmund Barton |
|2|| Alfred Deakin |
|3|| Chris Watson |
|4|| George Reid |
|Free Trade||18 August|
|(2)|| Alfred Deakin |
|5|| Andrew Fisher |
|(2)|| Alfred Deakin |
|(5)|| Andrew Fisher |
|6|| Joseph Cook |
|(5)|| Andrew Fisher |
| Billy Hughes |
|7||National Labor||14 November|
|8|| Stanley Bruce |
| Nationalist |
( Coalition )
|9|| James Scullin |
|10|| Joseph Lyons |
| United Australia |
( Coalition after Nov. 1934)
|11|| Sir Earle Page |
| Country |
( Coalition )
|12|| Robert Menzies |
| United Australia |
( Coalition after Mar. 1940)
|13|| Arthur Fadden |
| Country |
( Coalition )
|14|| John Curtin |
|15|| Frank Forde |
| 13 July|
|16|| Ben Chifley |
|(12)|| Sir Robert Menzies |
| Liberal |
( Coalition )
| 26 January|
|17|| Harold Holt |
| Liberal |
( Coalition )
| 19 December|
|18|| John McEwen |
| Country |
( Coalition )
|19|| John Gorton |
| Liberal |
( Coalition )
| 10 March|
|20|| William McMahon |
| Liberal |
( Coalition )
|21|| Gough Whitlam |
| 11 November|
|22|| Malcolm Fraser |
| Liberal |
( Coalition )
|23|| Bob Hawke |
| 20 December|
|24|| Paul Keating |
|25|| John Howard |
| Liberal |
( Coalition )
|26|| Kevin Rudd |
| 24 June|
|27|| Julia Gillard |
| 27 June|
|(26)|| Kevin Rudd |
|28|| Tony Abbott |
| Liberal |
( Coalition )
| 15 September|
|29|| Malcolm Turnbull |
| Liberal |
( Coalition )
| 24 August|
|30|| Scott Morrison |
| Liberal |
( Coalition )
The Australian Labor Party is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.
Edward Gough Whitlam was the 21st Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1972 to 1975. The Leader of the Labor Party from 1967 to 1977, Whitlam led his party to power for the first time in 23 years at the 1972 election. He won the 1974 election before being controversially dismissed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, at the climax of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. Whitlam remains the only Australian prime minister to have his commission terminated in that manner.
The United Australia Party (UAP) was an Australian political party that was founded in 1931 and dissolved in 1945. The party won four federal elections in that time, usually governing in coalition with the Country Party. It provided two Prime Ministers of Australia – Joseph Lyons (1932–1939) and Robert Menzies (1939–1941).
Sir William McMahon was an Australian politician who served as the 20th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1971 to 1972 as leader of the Liberal Party. He was a government minister for over 21 years, the longest continuous ministerial service in Australian history.
Joseph Benedict Chifley was an Australian politician who served as the 16th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1945 to 1949. He was leader of the Labor Party from 1945 until his death.
Sir John Robert Kerr, was the 18th Governor-General of Australia. He dismissed the Labor government of Gough Whitlam on 11 November 1975, marking the climax of the most significant constitutional crisis in Australian history. He had previously been the 13th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
Francis Michael Forde was an Australian politician who served as Prime Minister of Australia from 6 to 13 July 1945. He held office after the death of John Curtin, and is the shortest-serving prime minister in Australia's history.
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most government functions are guided by constitutional convention rather than by a formal written constitution. In these states, actual distribution of power may be markedly different from those the formal constitutional documents describe. In particular, the formal constitution often confers wide discretionary powers on the head of state that, in practice, are used only on the advice of the head of government, and in some cases not at all.
The Cabinet of Australia is the Australian Government's council of senior ministers of the Crown, responsible to Parliament. Ministers are appointed by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister, who serve at the former's pleasure. Cabinet meetings are strictly private and occur once a week where vital issues are discussed and policy formulated. The Cabinet is also composed of a number of Cabinet committees focused on governance and specific policy issues. Outside the Cabinet there is an Outer Ministry and also a number of Assistant Ministers, responsible for a specific policy area and reporting directly to a senior Cabinet minister of their portfolio. The Cabinet, the Outer Ministry, and the Assistant Ministers collectively form the full Commonwealth Ministry of the government of the day.
In parliamentary and some semi-presidential systems, a dissolution of parliament is the dispersal of a legislature at the call of an election.
The Government of Australia is the government of the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It is also commonly referred to as the Australian Government, the Commonwealth Government, Her Majesty's Government, or the Federal Government.
A double dissolution is a procedure permitted under the Australian Constitution to resolve deadlocks in the bicameral Parliament of Australia between the House of Representatives and the Senate. A double dissolution is the only circumstance in which the entire Senate can be dissolved.
The Whitlam Government was the federal executive government of Australia led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. It was made up of members of the Australian Labor Party. The government commenced when it defeated the McMahon Government in the 1972 federal election after a record 23 years of Coalition government. It concluded in historic circumstances, when it was dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr as a result of the 1975 constitutional crisis and was succeeded by the Fraser Government. The Whitlam Government remains the only federal government in Australian history to be dismissed by either a monarch or viceregal representative.
The politics of Australia take place within the framework of a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Australians elect parliamentarians to the federal Parliament of Australia, a bicameral body which incorporates elements of the fused executive inherited from the Westminster system, and a strong federalist senate, adopted from the United States Congress. Australia largely operates as a two-party system in which voting is compulsory. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Australia as a "full democracy" in 2018.
The 1949 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 10 December 1949. All 121 seats in the House of Representatives and 42 of the 60 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Labor Party, led by Prime Minister Ben Chifley, was defeated by the opposition Liberal–Country coalition under Robert Menzies. Menzies became prime minister for a second time, his first term having ended in 1941. This election marked the end of the 8 year Curtin-Chifley Labor Government that had been in power since 1941 and started the 23 year Liberal/Country Coalition Government. This was the first time the Liberal party won government at the federal level.
In Australian political and constitutional terminology, a caretaker government is a government of Australia from when the House of Representatives is dissolved by the Governor-General prior to a general election to a period after the election, until the next ministry is appointed. A caretaker government is expected to conduct itself in accordance with a series of well-defined conventions administered by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, but there is no law compelling the caretaker government to do so.
The Chifley Government was the federal executive government of Australia led by Prime Minister Ben Chifley. It was made up of members of the Australian Labor Party in the Australian Parliament from 1945 to 1949.
The Fadden Government was the federal executive government of Australia led by Prime Minister Arthur Fadden. As leader of the Country Party, Fadden led a United Australia Party-Country Party coalition government in the Australian Parliament from 29 August to 7 October 1941 during World War II.
The history of the Australian Labor Party has its origins in the Labour parties founded in the 1890s in the Australian colonies prior to federation. Labor tradition ascribes the founding of Queensland Labour to a meeting of striking pastoral workers under a ghost gum tree in Barcaldine, Queensland in 1891. The Balmain, New South Wales branch of the party claims to be the oldest in Australia. Labour as a parliamentary party dates from 1891 in New South Wales and South Australia, 1893 in Queensland, and later in the other colonies.
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