Prime Minister of Australia facts for kids
The Prime Minister of Australia is the leader of the Australian government. He or she has the most powerful political office in the Commonwealth of Australia.
The current Prime Minister of Australia, since August 2018, is Scott Morrison.
Powers and role
Most of the Prime Minister's powers derive from being head of Government. In practice, the Federal Executive Council will act to ratify all decisions made by the cabinet and decisions of the cabinet will always require the support of the Prime Minister. The powers of the governor-general to grant Royal Assent to legislation, to dissolve and prorogue parliament, to call elections and to make appointments are exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister.
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.
The formal power to appoint the Governor-General lies with the Queen of Australia, but this appointment is done on the formal advice of the Prime Minister. By convention, this advice is provided by the Prime Minister alone, and thus the appointment is effectively the Prime Minister's personal choice. The Prime Minister may 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 sack the other, was a key question in the 1975 constitutional crisis.
The power of the Prime Minister is subject to a number of limitations. Prime Ministers removed as leader of their party, or whose government loses a vote of no-confidence in the House of Representatives, are expected to advise an election of the lower house or resign the office. If they fail to do this they will be dismissed by the Governor-General.
The Prime Minister's party will normally have a majority in the House of Representatives and party discipline is exceptionally strong in Australian politics, so passage of the government's legislation through the House of Representatives is mostly a formality. Attaining the support of the Senate can be more difficult as government usually lacks an absolute majority because the Senate's representation is based on the overall proportion of votes and often includes minor parties.
Privileges of office
|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|
On 1 July 2017, the Australian Government's Remuneration Tribunal adjusted the Prime Ministerial salary, raising it to its current amount of $527,852, which was equivalent then to ten times the wage of the average Australian. As of May 2018, this made the Australian Prime Minister the highest paid leader in the OECD.
Whilst 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. (She became Prime Minister mid-term after replacing the incumbent, Kevin Rudd, who resigned in the face of an unwinnable party-room ballot.) 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.
List of Prime Ministers
|No.||Name||Party||Assumed office||Left office|
|1||Edmund Barton||Protectionist||1 January 1901||24 September 1903|
|2||Alfred Deakin||Protectionist||24 September 1903||27 April 1904|
|3||Chris Watson||Labor||27 April 1904||18 August 1904|
|4||Sir George Reid||Free Trade||18 August 1904||5 July 1905|
|-||Alfred Deakin (2nd time)||Comwlth. Liberal||5 July 1905||13 November 1908|
|5||Andrew Fisher||Labor||13 November 1908||2 June 1909|
|-||Alfred Deakin (3rd time)||Comwlth. Liberal||2 June 1909||29 April 1910|
|-||Andrew Fisher (2nd time)||Labor||29 April 1910||24 June 1913|
|6||Joseph Cook||Comwlth. Liberal||24 June 1913||17 September 1914|
|-||Andrew Fisher (3rd time)||Labor||17 September 1914||27 October 1915|
|7||Billy Hughes||Labor||27 October 1915||14 November 1916|
|-||Billy Hughes (2nd time)||National Labor||14 November 1916||17 February 1917|
|-||Billy Hughes (3rd time)||Nationalist||17 February 1917||9 February 1923|
|8||Stanley Bruce||Nationalist||9 February 1923||22 October 1929|
|9||James Scullin||Labor||22 October 1929||6 January 1932|
|10||Joseph Lyons||United Australia||6 January 1932||7 April 1939|
|11||Sir Earle Page||Country||7 April 1939||26 April 1939|
|12||Robert Menzies||United Australia||26 April 1939||28 August 1941|
|13||Arthur Fadden||Country||28 August 1941||7 October 1941|
|14||John Curtin||Labor||7 October 1941||5 July 1945|
|15||Frank Forde||Labor||6 July 1945||13 July 1945|
|16||Ben Chifley||Labor||13 July 1945||19 December 1949|
|-||Sir Robert Menzies (2nd time)||Liberal||19 December 1949||26 January 1966|
|17||Harold Holt||Liberal||26 January 1966||19 December 1967|
|18||John McEwen||Country||19 December 1967||10 January 1968|
|19||John Gorton||Liberal||10 January 1968||10 March 1971|
|20||William McMahon||Liberal||10 March 1971||5 December 1972|
|21||Gough Whitlam||Labor||5 December 1972||11 November 1975|
|22||Malcolm Fraser||Liberal||11 November 1975||11 March 1983|
|23||Bob Hawke||Labor||11 March 1983||20 December 1991|
|24||Paul Keating||Labor||20 December 1991||11 March 1996|
|25||John Howard||Liberal||11 March 1996||3 December 2007|
|26||Kevin Rudd||Labor||3 December 2007||24 June 2010|
|27||Julia Gillard||Labor||24 June 2010||27 June 2013|
|-||Kevin Rudd (2nd time)||Labor||27 June 2013||18 September 2013|
|28||Tony Abbott||Liberal (coalition)||18 September 2013||15 September 2015|
|29||Malcolm Turnbull||Liberal (coalition)||15 September 2015||current|
|30||Scott Morrison (Designate)||Liberal (coalition)||August 2018|
Former Prime Ministers
As of July 2020, there are seven living former Australian Prime Ministers.
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