The Executive & The Opposition Party

Sources of the PM's Powers

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Party Leader
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  • As the leader of the party the PM gains the power to dictate whether or not bills are passed in the lower, effectively making them a sole decider in the AUS political & legal system. They also get a large say who represents the party within a particular electorate at the next election.

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Head of Government
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  • The PM is the top amongst equals in Australia, hence they acquire all the information before cabinet and shadow ministry. They are briefed from all the departments whereas Ministers are briefed from their department. The PM&C also provides info to both PM & Cabinet, which ensures that the PM is aware of all things happening.

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Advisor to the Governor General
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  • As an advisor to the GG the PM has the sole decision on the date of the next election. This can be highly advantageous as the PM might declare an election when his/her approval ratings are at a high, allowing them a high chance to win the next election. Section 28 limits this power of the PM as it sets a maximum date for the general election to be called. Section 57 also gives the power to the PM to request a double dissolution election, as per the criteria of the section is met.

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Head of Cabinet
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  • As the Head of the Cabinet the PM is able to dictate the agenda for cabinet meetings. This means that the PM’s agenda is the Govt’s agenda. Ministers are also allowed to discuss issues but are they are restricted by having the need to provide documents, benefits/costs & statements regarding human impact which narrows the scope of discussion

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Head of Party Discipline
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  • Being the Head of Party Discipline is a great power of the PM. This allows the PM to withdraw support from MHR’s (within his/her party) who vote against the govt legislation, making it harder for them to run in the next election. Without party discipline, rogue party members may vote for whatever they want, hindering government business. These rogue members are dealt with the aspect of CMR, entails that ministers must support and defend the decisions of cabinet and the government, hence serving collectively.

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Head of Government, Party & Cabinet
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  • As the leader of the party, cabinet and government, the PM is able to:

  1. Appoint parliamentary members;

  2. Promote members of outer ministry;

  3. Allocate portfolios among Ministers;

  4. Demote any minister or assistant minister as well as being able to dismiss them.


  • These powers stated above essentially provides the PM the power to reward and punish people, demote rivals ad promote support in order to remain his position as the leader of the government.

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Roles & Powers of the PM, Cabinet and Ministry
Roles & Powers of the Opposition & the Shadow Ministry
Sources of the PM's Powers
Sources of the PM's Weaknesses
Relevant Examples and Case Studies
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