Treasurer of Australia

Last updated

Treasurer of Australia
Coat of Arms of Australia.svg
Flag of Australia (converted).svg
Jim Chalmers 2020.jpg
Jim Chalmers
since 23 May 2022 (2022-05-23)
Department of the Treasury
Style The Honourable
Member of Cabinet
Federal Executive Council
National Security Committee
Seat Canberra, ACT
Appointer Governor-General
on the advice of the prime minister
Term length At the Governor-General's pleasure
Formation1 January 1901 (1901-01-01)
First holderSir George Turner

The treasurerof Australia, also known as the Federaltreasurer or simply the treasurer, is the minister of state of the Commonwealth of Australia charged with overseeing government revenue collection, federal expenditure and economic policy as the head of the Department of the Treasury. The current treasurer is Jim Chalmers, who was selected by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in May 2022 following the 2022 Australian federal election.


The Treasurer implements ministerial powers through the Department of the Treasury and a range of other government agencies. According to constitutional convention, the Treasurer is always a member of the Parliament of Australia with a seat in the House of Representatives. The office is generally seen as equivalent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the United Kingdom or the Secretary of the Treasury in the United States or, in some other countries, the finance minister. It is one of only four ministerial positions (along with Prime Minister, Minister for Defence and Attorney-General) that have existed since Federation. [1]

The Department of the Treasury, Canberra Ministere des Finances australien.jpg
The Department of the Treasury, Canberra

Responsibilities and duties

The Treasurer is the minister in charge of government revenue and expenditure. The Treasurer oversees economic policy: fiscal policy is within the Treasurer's direct responsibility, while monetary policy is implemented by the politically independent Reserve Bank of Australia, the head of which is appointed by the Treasurer. The Treasurer also oversees financial regulation. Each year in May, the Treasurer presents the Federal Budget to the Parliament.

The Prime Minister and Treasurer are traditionally members of the House, but the Constitution does not have such a requirement. [2] The tradition is due to the fact that under the constitution, appropriate bills have to originate from the House, and if the Treasurer is a senator, they would not be able to introduce the bills. This would also mean another minister would need to give the nationally televised budget speech and introduce the bills. [3] While no Federal Treasurer has been a member of the Senate, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia had state Treasurers who had served as members of the Legislative Councils, the states' upper houses. [4]

Unlike the scenario in which a Treasurer who is a Senator cannot present the budget in the House of Representatives, state treasurers who have been members of upper houses have delivered their budgets in the respective lower houses.

The Treasurer is a very senior government post, usually ranking second or third in Cabinet. Historically, many Treasurers have previously, concurrently or subsequently served as Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister; two subsequently served as Governor-General. Service as Treasurer is seen as an important (though certainly not essential) qualification for serving as Prime Minister: to date, six Treasurers have gone on to be Prime Minister.

Paul Keating and Wayne Swan are currently the only two to have been named "Euromoney Finance Minister of the Year" by Euromoney magazine. [5]

Since 1958, Treasurers in Coalition governments have often but not always been the deputy leader of the Liberal Party. In contrast, only four Labor Treasurers have also been the deputy leader of the Labor Party.

Along with the Treasurer, other ministers have responsibility for the Department of the Treasury. The Treasurer together with these other ministers are known as the "Treasury Ministers". At present, the Treasury Minister positions are: [6]

The work of the Department of Finance is closely related to the work of the Department of the Treasury, with the former responsible for budget formation and operational management of government finances. The ministers who have responsibility for the Department of Finance are: [7]

Treasury portfolio

Eleven organizations nominally fall under the auspices of the Australian Treasurer. The agencies undertake a range of activities aimed at achieving strong sustainable economic growth and the improved well-being of Australians. This entails the provision of policy advice to portfolio ministers who seek to promote a sound macroeconomic environment; effective government spending and taxation arrangements; and well-functioning markets. It also entails the effective implementation and administration of policies that fall within the portfolio ministers' responsibilities.

List of treasurers

The following individuals have been appointed as Treasurer of Australia: [6]

OrderTreasurerPortraitPartyPrime MinisterTerm startTerm endTerm in office
1Sir George Turner Georgeturner.jpg   Protectionist Barton 1 January 190127 April 19043 years, 117 days
2 Chris Watson 1 ChrisWatsonSepia crop.jpg   Labour Watson 27 April 190417 August 1904112 days
(1)Sir George Turner Georgeturner.jpg  Protectionist Reid 17 August 19044 July 1905321 days
3Sir John Forrest Portrait of John Forrest (cropped).jpg Deakin4 July 190530 July 19072 years, 26 days
4Sir William Lyne William Lyne (cropped).jpg 30 July 190713 November 19081 year, 106 days
5 Andrew Fisher 1 Andrew Fisher 1908.jpg  Labour Fisher 13 November 19082 June 1909201 days
(3)Sir John Forrest Portrait of John Forrest (cropped).jpg Commonwealth Liberal Deakin2 June 190929 April 1910331 days
(5)Andrew Fisher 1 Andrew Fisher 1912 (b&w).jpg  LabourFisher29 April 191024 June 19133 years, 56 days
(3)Sir John Forrest Sir John Forrest - Lafayette Studios (cropped).jpg Commonwealth Liberal Cook 24 June 191317 September 19141 year, 85 days
(5)Andrew Fisher 1 AndrewFisher.jpg  LaborFisher17 September 191427 October 19151 year, 40 days
6 William Higgs William Higgs.jpg Hughes 27 October 191514 November 19161 year, 18 days
7 Alexander Poynton Alexander Poynton - Broothorn Studios (cropped).jpg   National Labor 14 November 191617 February 191795 days
(3)Sir John Forrest Sir John Forrest - Lafayette Studios (cropped).jpg   Nationalist 17 February 191727 March 19181 year, 38 days
8 William Watt William Watt (cropped).jpg 27 March 191828 July 19202 years, 123 days
9Sir Joseph Cook Joseph Cook - Crown Studios 03.jpg 28 July 192021 December 19211 year, 146 days
10 Stanley Bruce Portrait of Rt. Hon. S.M. Bruce, P.C., M.C. (cropped).jpg 21 December 19219 February 19231 year, 50 days
11 Earle Page Earle Page - Falk Studios (cropped).jpg   Country Bruce 9 February 192322 October 19296 years, 255 days
12 Ted Theodore Ted Theodore 1931.jpg  Labor Scullin 22 October 19299 July 1930260 days
13 James Scullin 1 Portrait of James H. Scullin (cropped).jpg 9 July 193029 January 1931204 days
(12)Ted Theodore Ted Theodore 1931.jpg 29 January 19316 January 1932342 days
14 Joseph Lyons 1 Joseph Lyons.jpg   United Australia Lyons 6 January 19323 October 19353 years, 270 days
15 Richard Casey Richard Casey 1939 (cropped).jpg 3 October 19358 April 19393 years, 187 days
Page 7 April 193926 April 1939
16 Robert Menzies 1 Robert Menzies in 1939.jpg Menzies 26 April 193914 March 1940323 days
17 Percy Spender Percy Spender 1940.jpg 14 March 194028 October 1940228 days
18 Arthur Fadden 1 FaddenPEO.jpg  Country28 October 194030 August 1941344 days
Fadden 29 August 19417 October 1941
19 Ben Chifley 1 Benchifley.jpg  Labor Curtin 7 October 19416 July 19458 years, 73 days
Forde 6 July 194513 July 1945
Chifley 13 July 194519 December 1949
(18)Sir Arthur Fadden Arthur Fadden.jpg  CountryMenzies19 December 194910 December 19588 years, 356 days
20 Harold Holt Harold Holt 1964.jpg   Liberal 10 December 195826 January 19667 years, 47 days
21 William McMahon William McMahon 1966.jpg Holt 26 January 196618 December 19673 years, 290 days
McEwen 19 December 196710 January 1968
Gorton 10 January 196812 November 1969
22 Les Bury Les Bury.jpg 12 November 196910 March 19711 year, 130 days
McMahon 10 March 197122 March 1971
23 Billy Snedden Billy Snedden 1971.jpg 22 March 19715 December 19721 year, 258 days
24 Gough Whitlam 1 Gough Whitlam 1972 (cropped).jpg  Labor Whitlam 5 December 197219 December 197214 days
25 Frank Crean Frank Crean 1973.jpg 19 December 197211 December 19741 year, 357 days
26 Jim Cairns Jim Cairns.jpg 11 December 19746 June 1975177 days
27 Bill Hayden Bill Hayden 1973 (1).jpg 6 June 197511 November 1975158 days
28 Phillip Lynch Phillip Lynch 1969.jpg  Liberal Fraser 11 November 197519 November 19772 years, 8 days
29 John Howard John howard.jpg 19 November 197711 March 19835 years, 112 days
30 Paul Keating Paul Keating 1985.jpg  Labor Hawke 11 March 19833 June 19918 years, 84 days
31 Bob Hawke 1 Bob Hawke 1987 portrait crop.jpg 3 June 19914 June 19911 day
32 John Kerin John Charles Kerin.jpg 4 June 19919 December 1991189 days
33 Ralph Willis Ralph Willis.jpg 9 December 199120 December 199118 days
Keating 20 December 199127 December 1991
34 John Dawkins John-Dawkins-1984.jpg 27 December 199123 December 19931 year, 361 days
(33)Ralph Willis Ralph Willis.jpg 23 December 199311 March 19962 years, 79 days
35 Peter Costello Peter Costello.jpg  Liberal Howard 11 March 19963 December 200711 years, 267 days
36 Wayne Swan Treasurer Wayne Swan, 2009, crop.jpg  Labor Rudd 3 December 200724 June 20105 years, 206 days
Gillard 24 June 201027 June 2013
37 Chris Bowen Chris Bowen 2022.jpg Rudd27 June 201318 September 201383 days
38 Joe Hockey Joe Hockey portrait 1.jpg  Liberal Abbott 18 September 201315 September 20152 years, 3 days
Turnbull 15 September 201521 September 2015
39 Scott Morrison Scott Morrison 2014 crop.jpg 21 September 201524 August 20182 years, 337 days
40 Josh Frydenberg 2 Josh Frydenberg (32654447397) (cropped).jpg Morrison 24 August 201823 May 20223 years, 272 days
(39) Scott Morrison 1 2 Scott Morrison 2014 crop.jpg 6 May 20211 year, 17 days
41 Jim Chalmers Jim Chalmers 2020.jpg  Labor Albanese 23 May 2022Incumbent1 year, 331 days
1 Treasurers Watson, Fisher, Scullin, Lyons, Fadden, Menzies, Chifley, Whitlam, Hawke and Morrison were also Prime Minister during some or all of their period as Treasurer.
2 Morrison was appointed as Treasurer by the Governor-General on Morrison's advice in May 2021, with both Morrison and Frydenberg holding the position of Treasurer until May 2022. However, the appointment of Morrison was not made public until August 2022.

Living former treasurers

As of 18 April 2024, there are ten living former treasurers of Australia, the oldest being Ralph Willis (served 1991, 1993−1996, born 1938). The most recent treasurer to die was Bill Hayden (served 1975) on 21 October 2023. The most recently serving treasurer to die was John Kerin (served 1991) on 29 March 2023. [8]

TreasurerTerm(s) as treasurerDate of birth (and age)
Ralph Willis 1991, 1993–199614 April 1938 (age 86)
John Howard 1977–198326 July 1939 (age 84)
Paul Keating 1983–199118 January 1944 (age 80)
John Dawkins 1991–19932 March 1947 (age 77)
Wayne Swan 2007–201330 June 1954 (age 69)
Peter Costello 1996–200714 August 1957 (age 66)
Joe Hockey 2013–20152 August 1965 (age 58)
Scott Morrison 2015–2018, 2021–202213 May 1968 (age 55)
Josh Frydenberg 2018–202217 July 1971 (age 52)
Chris Bowen 201318 January 1973 (age 51)

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ministry of finance</span> Government department responsible for financial policies

A ministry of finance is a ministry or other government agency in charge of government finance, fiscal policy, and financial regulation. It is headed by a finance minister, an executive or cabinet position.

The Cabinet of Australia, also known as the Federal Cabinet, is the chief decision-making body of the Australian government. The cabinet is appointed by the prime minister of Australia and is composed of senior government ministers who head the executive departments and ministries of the federal government. The cabinet is separate to the federal Department of the Prime Ministers and Cabinet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chris Bowen</span> Australian politician

Christopher Eyles Guy Bowen is an Australian politician who has been Minister for Climate Change and Energy in the Albanese government since June 2022. He is a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and was first elected to parliament at the 2004 federal election. He held ministerial office in the Rudd and Gillard governments from 2007 to 2013.

Manitoba Finance is the department of finance for the Canadian province of Manitoba.

Banking in Australia is dominated by four major banks: Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank. There are several smaller banks with a presence throughout the country which includes Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Suncorp Bank, and a large number of other financial institutions, such as credit unions, building societies and mutual banks, which provide limited banking-type services and are described as authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs). Many large foreign banks have a presence, but few have a retail banking presence. The central bank is the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The Australian government’s Financial Claims Scheme guarantees deposits up to $250,000 per account-holder per ADI in the event of the ADI failing.

An Australian federal budget is a document that sets out the estimated revenues and expenditures of the Australian Treasury in the following financial year, proposed conduct of Australian government operations in that period, and its fiscal policy for the forward years. Budgets are called by the year in which they are presented to Parliament and relate to a financial year that commences on the following 1 July and ends on 30 June of the following year, so that the 2023 budget brought down in May 2023 relates to the 2023/24 financial year.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nick Sherry</span> Australian politician

Nicholas John Sherry is a former Australian politician who served as a member of the Australian Senate for the state of Tasmania from July 1990 until June 2012, representing the Australian Labor Party. Sherry was sworn in as the Assistant Treasurer on 9 June 2009, after serving as the first Australian Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law. Sherry was the first Assistant Treasurer from Tasmania.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Zealand Treasury</span> Economic and Financial policy agency of New Zealand

The New Zealand Treasury is the central public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the Government on economic policy, assisting with improving the performance of New Zealand's economy, and managing financial resources. The Minister responsible for the Treasury is the Minister of Finance of New Zealand; however, from 1996 to 2002, there existed a more specific position of Treasurer of New Zealand. The role was created for Winston Peters by the Fourth National Government under Jim Bolger after the 1996 election, and abolished by Helen Clark’s government in 2002.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Department of Finance (Australia)</span> Department of the government of Australia

The Department of Finance is a department of the Government of Australia that is charged with the responsibility of assisting the government across a wide range of policy areas to ensure its outcomes are met, particularly with regard to expenditure, financial management, and the operations of government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Treasury (Australia)</span> Federal treasury department of the Australian Government

The Department of the Treasury, also known as The Treasury, is the national treasury and financial department of the federal government of the Commonwealth of Australia. The treasury is responsible for executing economic and fiscal policy, market regulation and the delivery of the federal budget with the department overseeing 16 agencies. The Treasury is one of only two departments that have existed continuously since Federation in 1901, the other being the Department of the Attorney-General.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ministry of Finance (Netherlands)</span> Finance ministry in The Netherlands

The Ministry of Finance is the Dutch Ministry responsible for economic policy, monetary policy, fiscal policy, tax policy, incomes policy, financial regulation, the government budget and the financial market. The Ministry was created in 1798 as the Department of Finance of the Batavian Republic. It became the Ministry of Finance in 1876. The Minister of Finance is the head of the Ministry and a member of the Cabinet of the Netherlands. The current Minister is Steven van Weyenberg.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian Public Service</span> Federal civil service of Australia

The Australian Public Service (APS) is the federal civil service of the Commonwealth of Australia responsible for the public administration, public policy, and public services of the departments and executive and statutory agencies of the Government of Australia. The Australian Public Service was established at the Federation of Australia in 1901 as the Commonwealth Public Service and modelled on the Westminster system and United Kingdom's Civil Service. The establishment and operation of the Australian Public Service is governed by the Public Service Act 1999 of the Parliament of Australia as an "apolitical public service that is efficient and effective in serving the Government, the Parliament and the Australian public". The conduct of Australian public servants is also governed by a Code of Conduct and guided by the APS Values set by the Australian Public Service Commission.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ken Henry (public servant)</span>

Kenneth Ross Henry is an Australian economist and public servant who served as the Secretary of the Department of the Treasury from 2001 to 2011.

David John Bradbury is an Australian former politician. He was a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives, representing the Division of Lindsay, in New South Wales, from 2007 until 2013. Bradbury was the Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, Assistant Treasurer, Minister Assisting for Financial Services and Superannuation, and Minister Assisting for Deregulation. He is currently the Head of Tax Policy and Statistics at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Centre For Tax Policy and Administration.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Minister for Financial Services</span>

The Australian Minister for Financial Services is a ministerial portfolio of the Australian Government, currently held by Stephen Jones.

Financial regulation in Australia is extensive and detailed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New South Wales Treasury</span> Department of the New South Wales government

The Treasury of New South Wales, branded NSW Treasury, a department of the New South Wales Government, is responsible for state financial management policy and reporting, and providing advice to the government on economic conditions and issues in New South Wales, Australia. NSW Treasury was established in April 1824 and is the oldest continuing government agency in Australia.

The early 1990s recession saw a period of economic downturn affect much of the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The economy of Australia suffered its worst recession since the Great Depression.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Assistant Treasurer of Australia</span> Australian government minister

The Assistant Treasurer of Australia is the minister of state of the Commonwealth of Australia charged with assisting the Treasurer with overseeing government revenue collection, federal expenditure and economic policy as the head of the Department of the Treasury. The current assistant treasurer is The Hon. Stephen Jones MP, who was appointed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in May 2022 following the 2022 Australian federal election. Jones also serves as Minister for Financial Services.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Phil Gaetjens</span> Former Australian public servant

Phil Gaetjens is an Australian public servant and former Liberal Party staffer, who served as the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2019 to 2022.


  1. Elder, DR; Fowler, PE, eds. (June 2018). "Chapter 2: The Ministry". House of Representatives Practice (7th ed.). Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia. ISBN   978-1-74366-656-2 . Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  2. "No. 14 - Ministers in the Senate". Senate Briefs. Parliament of Australia. December 2016.
  3. "Can a senator be treasurer?". Parliamentary Education Office. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  4. Brenton, Scott (2009). "The What lies beneath: the work of senators and members in the Australian Parliament – Senate versus the House". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  5. Farr, Malcolm (21 September 2011). "Wayne Swan named the world's best treasurer".
  6. 1 2 "Past Treasury Ministers". The Treasury. Commonwealth of Australia. 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  7. "Finance and Deregulation Portfolio Ministers". Department of Finance. Commonwealth of Australia. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  8. McIlroy, Tom (29 March 2023). "John Kerin remembered as Labor great". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 29 March 2023.