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University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series

Faculty of Law, UNSW
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Blackham, Alysia; Williams, George --- "The Appointment of Ministers from Outside of Parliament" [2012] UNSWLRS 51

Last Updated: 7 November 2012

The Appointment of Ministers from Outside of Parliament

Alysia Blackham, University of Cambridge
George Williams, University of New South Wales

This paper is available for download at


This article is to be published in the Federal Law Review (2012) Vol 40(2), pp.253-285. This paper may also be referenced as [2012] UNSWLRS 51.


Members of the executive in Australia and other Westminster nations are traditionally appointed only from the ranks of parliamentarians, ostensibly to protect the principle of responsible government. However, there is a growing international trend in nations such as the United Kingdom for the appointment of ministers from outside of Parliament. This article examines the extent to which Australia's constitutional system can accommodate unelected members of a Commonwealth, State or Territory executive. This question is analysed from the perspective of the principle of responsible government and the text of Australia's various constitutional documents. The article also reviews existing practice in comparative jurisdictions and Australian law and practice in order to determine the form that such appointments might take.

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