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Roles of the executive

Parliament and MPR [PDF 2.97Mb, 18 pages]

Kabinet Indonesia Bersatu (United Indonesia Cabinet)

Kabinet Indonesia Bersatu (United Indonesia Cabinet)

courtesy of www.presidenri.go.id

Leaders of the executive governments of Australia and Indonesia – the Prime Minister and the President respectively – share their responsibilities with members of their Cabinets. Each Cabinet member is a high-ranking member of the government and is responsible for the leadership of a government department or policy area.

The following table provides an overview of the distinguishing features of both nations’ executive governments.

Roles of the executive
AustraliaIndonesia

Composition

  • Executive government consists of the Prime Minister and ministers.
  • Ministers can be members of the House of Representatives or the Senate.
  • The Prime Minister and high-ranking ministers meet in Cabinet. The deliberations of Cabinet are confidential.
  • Each minister is responsible for the management of their department.

Composition

  • Executive government consists of the President, Vice-President and ministers responsible for a particular area of government activity. 
  • The President, Vice-President and high-ranking ministers meet in the Kabinet Indonesia Bersatu (United Indonesia Cabinet).
  • Ministers cannot be members of the MPR.

Appointment

  • The Prime Minister is the leader of the party – or coalition of parties – which forms government. The leader is chosen either by a vote of the parliamentary members of the party or all members of the party.
  • The Prime Minister selects ministers, who are then commissioned by the Governor-General.

Appointment

  • The President selects and removes ministers.
  • Ministers are usually members of the President’s own party, members of the party/parties in coalition with the President’s party or are policy area experts.

Responsibility

  • The executive is responsible to the Parliament and each minister must answer to the Parliament for the operation of their department, and the laws they introduce and administer.
  • The executive can be scrutinised in both the House of Representatives and Senate, particularly in Question Time.
  • The executive can also be scrutinised by parliamentary committees which examine laws, the conduct of public administration and policy issues. Senate Estimates Committees examine government spending.

Responsibility

  • Ministers are responsible to the President and must answer to the President for the operation of their ministry (department) or policy area.
  • Ministers have responsibility for representing the government in negotiations with the DPR over bills.
  • Ministers can be questioned by DPR commissions (committees) about the conduct of their department and government spending.

Size

  • Executive government, which is also known as the ministry, is made up of no more than 30 ministers.
  • High-ranking ministers, who are often in charge of major departments, form the Cabinet.
  • Junior ministers are not members of Cabinet, though they do attend Cabinet meetings from time to time.

Size

  • The Cabinet is made up of the President, Vice-President and high-ranking ministers.These comprise:
    • coordinating Ministers who draft bills and assist department ministers in their negotiations with the DPR over bills;
    • ministers responsible for departments, including the Ministers for Home Affairs, Finance, Religious Affairs, and Justice and Human Rights; and
    • Ministers of State responsible for policy areas which cover several departments, such as the environment, female empowerment and child protection, and research and technology. 
  • Six other positions have been given Cabinet-rank status. These include the Attorney-General (chief public prosecutor), Indonesian National Police Chief and the head of the State Intelligence Agency.
  • The number of ministers can change.

Removal

  • The Prime Minister may be replaced if members of the government or the Prime Minister’s party elect a new leader, or if the government loses the support of the majority of members in the House of Representatives.
  • Ministers lose their appointment if the Governor-General withdraws their commission. This can occur on the advice of the Prime Minister or if the ministers vacate their seat in Parliament or fail to retain it in a federal election.

Removal

  • The President is replaced if they are not re-elected or may be removed by the MPR.
  • Ministers can be removed by the President. Their appointment is terminated if the President is not re-elected.
Similarities

Both systems:

  • the day-to-day running of the nation is carried out by the executive government.
  • Cabinet meetings are secret (unlike the legislature) and are not subject to public scrutiny.
  • ministers and secretaries are responsible for the operation of major departments and high-ranking ministers make up the Cabinet.