Prime Minister

Get to know the role of the Prime Minister with this fact sheet. Learn how the Prime Minister is chosen, their responsibilities, and about their official residences.

The Prime Minister is the leader of the Australian Government. By convention—tradition—the Prime Minister is a member of the House of Representatives and leads the parliamentary party, or coalition of parties, with the support of the majority of members in the House.

Choosing the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister is chosen by a vote of the members of the government. The Prime Minister can keep their job as long as they are a member of parliament and have the support of the government.

Australia has no maximum period of service for a Prime Minister, unlike countries such as the United States, where the President can only serve for two 4-year terms.

Role

The Prime Minister is the most powerful person in the Australian Parliament and has many tasks, including:

  • chairing meetings in which the government discusses policies and examines bills
  • selecting members of the government to be ministers
  • leading Cabinet in deciding government policy
  • acting as the chief government spokesperson
  • representing the Australian Government overseas
  • advising the Governor-General about important issues such as the appointment of ambassadors and heads of government departments
  • advising the Governor-General about constitutional matters
  • deciding when to call a federal election and leading the government in the election.

House of Representatives

When in the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister sits at the central table in front of the government and directly opposite the Leader of the Opposition. As the head of the Australian Government, they take the lead in presenting major speeches to Parliament about government policy and answering many questions directed to the government during Question Time.

The Australian Constitution

Although the Prime Minister is often seen as the most important person in Parliament, the role is not mentioned in the Australian Constitution. The Prime Minister works according to practices and customs that developed over hundreds of years in the United Kingdom Parliament and were then adopted by the Australian Parliament.

The Prime Minister's residences

There are 2 official residences that can be used by the Prime Minister and their family:

  • The Lodge, in Canberra.
  • Kirribilli House, in Sydney.

The Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP.

The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, wearing a suit and a blue tie.

Office of the Prime Minister

Description

A close-up photograph of the Prime Minister wearing a suit and tie.

Role of the Prime Minister in Australia.

The Prime Minister is the key spokesperson of the Australian Government, head of Cabinet, leader of the government.

Parliamentary Education Office (peo.gov.au)

Description

This graphic shows that the Prime Minister is the most senior minister in the Australian Government as well as being key spokesperson for Australia, the head of Cabinet and the leader of the government.