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Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

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Title: Deputy Prime Minister of Australia  
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Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
Incumbent
Warren Truss

since 18 September 2013
Style The Honourable
Appointer Governor-General of Australia on the recommendation of the Prime Minister
Term length At Her Majesty's pleasure
Inaugural holder John McEwen
Formation 10 January 1968
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Australia

The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia is the second-most senior officer in the Government of Australia. The office of Deputy Prime Minister was created as a ministerial portfolio in 1968. The Deputy Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The current Deputy Prime Minister is National Party leader, Warren Truss. The Deputy Prime Minister is entitled to additional pay over and above those of a Minister in Cabinet.[1] Under the Coalition agreement between the Liberal and National parties, when in government, the position is held by the leader of the National Party. In the case of Labor governments, the party's deputy leader is the Deputy Prime Minister. The duties of the Deputy Prime Minister is largely contingent, coming into play only when the Prime Minister is absent from the country or is on leave, when he or she is referred to as Acting Prime Minister.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Duties 2
  • Living former Deputy Prime Ministers 3
  • List of Deputy Prime Ministers of Australia 4
  • Informal Deputy Prime Ministers 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

History

Originally the position of deputy Prime Minister was an unofficial or honorary position. The unofficial position acquired more significance after the Coalition agreement reached by Stanley Bruce of the Nationalist Party and Earle Page of the Country Party following the 1922 federal election, which saw the Nationalists lose the parliamentary majority. Though Page’s only official title was Treasurer, he was considered as a deputy to Bruce.[2] Until 1968 the term was used unofficially for the second-highest ranking minister in the government, especially while the Coalition was in government. Under the Coalition agreement between the Liberal and National parties, when in government, the position was held by the leader of the National Party. That continues to be case when the Coalition is in government. In the case of Labor governments, the party's deputy leader was and continues to be the Deputy Prime Minister.

On 19 December 1967, John McEwen, the long-serving leader of the Country Party (later renamed the National Party) in the Coalition government, was sworn in as interim Prime Minister following the sudden death in office of Prime Minister Harold Holt. (There was discussion that the deputy Liberal Party leader should properly assume the office. Liberal deputy leader and Treasurer William McMahon had planned a party room meeting on 20 December to elect a new leader, intending to stand for the position himself. However, this was pre-empted by McEwen who publicly declared on the morning of 18 December that he would not serve in a McMahon government.) McEwen was sworn in as Prime Minister on the understanding that his commission would continue only so long as it took for the Liberals to elect a new leader. The Liberal leadership ballot was rescheduled for 9 January 1968. As it turned out, McMahon did not stand, and Senator John Gorton was elected, replacing McEwen as Prime Minister on 10 January 1968.[3] McEwen reverted to the usual deputy Prime Minister status under the Coalition agreement. The office of Deputy Prime Minister was then officially created by Gorton as a portfolio position, as an honour for McEwen, on McEwen's insistence, and with additional pay.

Governor-General Lord Casey also accepted the view put to him by McEwen that to commission a Liberal temporarily as Prime Minister would give that person an unfair advantage in the forthcoming party room ballot for the permanent leader. McEwen's appointment was in keeping with previous occasions when a conservative Coalition government had been deprived of its Liberal leader. Earle Page of the Country Party was interim Prime Minister between 7 April and 26 April 1939 following Joseph Lyons' sudden death. Arthur Fadden of the Country Party was interim Prime Minister between 29 August and 7 October 1941 following Robert Menzies' resignation, but after a joint United Australia-Country Party meeting on 28 August had chosen Fadden as leader of the Coalition.

Since 1968 only two Deputy Prime Ministers have gone on to become Prime Minister: Paul Keating and Julia Gillard. In both cases, they succeeded incumbent Prime Ministers who lost the support of their party caucus mid-term and their election as party leader preceded their predecessor's resignations and their subsequent appointments as Prime Minister. Frank Forde, who had been deputy Labor leader when John Curtin died, was interim Prime Minister between 6 July and 13 July 1945, when the leadership ballot took place.

In November 2007, when the Australian Labor Party won government, Julia Gillard became Australia's first female, and first foreign-born, Deputy Prime Minister. In practice, only National party leaders or Labor Party deputy leaders have held the position.

Duties

The duties of the Deputy Prime Minister are to act on behalf of the Prime Minister in his or her absence overseas or on leave. The Deputy Prime Minister has always been a member of the Cabinet, and has always held at least one substantive portfolio. (It would be technically possible for a minister to hold only the portfolio of Deputy Prime Minister, but this has never happened.)

If the Prime Minister were to die, become incapacitated or resign, the Governor-General would normally appoint the Deputy Prime Minister as Prime Minister on an interim basis until the governing party elects a new leader, but is not obligated to do so. This has not occurred since the office was created as a portfolio in 1968.

Living former Deputy Prime Ministers

Ten former Deputy Prime Ministers of Australia are living:

List of Deputy Prime Ministers of Australia

The following individuals have been officially appointed as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia:[4][5]

Order Deputy Prime Minister Party affiliation
and position
Ministerial title Term start Term end Term in office Prime Minister
1 John McEwen   Country
Leader 1958–71
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Trade and Industry
10 January 1968 (1968-01-10) 5 February 1971 (1971-02-05) 3 years, 26 days   John Gorton
2 Doug Anthony   Country
Leader 1971–84
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Trade and Industry
5 February 1971 (1971-02-05) 10 March 1971 (1971-03-10) 1 year, 304 days  
  10 March 1971 (1971-03-10) 5 December 1972 (1972-12-05)   William McMahon
3 Lance Barnard   Labor
Deputy Leader 1967–74
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Defence
5 December 1972 (1972-12-05) 12 June 1974 (1974-06-12) 1 year, 189 days   Gough Whitlam
4 Jim Cairns   Labor
Deputy Leader 1974–75
Deputy Prime Minister
Treasurer
12 June 1974 (1974-06-12) 2 July 1975 (1975-07-02) 1 year, 20 days  
5 Frank Crean   Labor
Deputy Leader 1975
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Overseas Trade
2 July 1975 (1975-07-02) 11 November 1975 (1975-11-11) 132 days  
(2) Doug Anthony   Country
National
Leader 1971–84
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Trade and Industry
12 November 1975 (1975-11-12) 11 March 1983 (1983-03-11) 7 years, 119 days   Malcolm Fraser
6 Lionel Bowen   Labor
Deputy Leader 1977–90
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Trade
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Attorney-General
11 March 1983 (1983-03-11) 4 April 1990 (1990-04-04) 7 years, 24 days   Bob Hawke
7 Paul Keating   Labor
Deputy Leader 1990–91
Deputy Prime Minister
Treasurer
4 April 1990 (1990-04-04) 3 June 1991 (1991-06-03) 1 year, 60 days  
8 Brian Howe   Labor
Deputy Leader 1991–95
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Health
Minister for Housing
Minister for Community Services
Minister for Local Government
Minister for Regional Affairs
3 June 1991 (1991-06-03) 20 December 1991 (1991-12-20) 4 years, 17 days  
  20 December 1991 (1991-12-20) 20 June 1995 (1995-06-20)   Paul Keating
9 Kim Beazley   Labor
Deputy Leader 1995–96
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Finance
20 June 1995 (1995-06-20) 11 March 1996 (1996-03-11) 265 days  
10 Tim Fischer   National
Leader 1990–99
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Trade
11 March 1996 (1996-03-11) 20 July 1999 (1999-07-20) 3 years, 131 days   John Howard
11 John Anderson   National
Leader 1999–2005
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Transport and Regional Development
20 July 1999 (1999-07-20) 6 July 2005 (2005-07-06) 5 years, 351 days  
12 Mark Vaile   National
Leader 2005–2007
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Trade
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
6 July 2005 (2005-07-06) 3 December 2007 (2007-12-03) 2 years, 150 days  
13 Julia Gillard   Labor
Deputy Leader 2006–2010
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Education
Minister for Social Inclusion
3 December 2007 (2007-12-03) 24 June 2010 (2010-06-24) 2 years, 203 days   Kevin Rudd
14 Wayne Swan   Labor
Deputy Leader 2010–2013
Deputy Prime Minister
Treasurer
24 June 2010 (2010-06-24) 27 June 2013 (2013-06-27) 3 years, 3 days   Julia Gillard
15 Anthony Albanese   Labor
Deputy Leader 2013–13
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
27 June 2013 (2013-06-27) 18 September 2013 (2013-09-18) 83 days   Kevin Rudd
16 Warren Truss   National
Leader 2007–present
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development
18 September 2013 (2013-09-18) 15 September 2015 (2015-09-15) 2 years, 279 days   Tony Abbott
15 September 2015 (2015-09-15) Incumbent   Malcolm Turnbull

Informal Deputy Prime Ministers

The office of Deputy Prime Minister was created in January 1968 but prior to that time the term was used unofficially for the second-highest ranking minister in the government.

Name Picture Term of Office Political party and position Ministerial Offices Prime Minister
Alfred Deakin 1901 1903 Protectionist Party
Deputy Leader 1901–03
Attorney-General
Acting Prime Minister 1902
Edmund Barton
William Lyne 1903 1904 Protectionist Party
Deputy Leader 1901–09
Minister for Trade and Customs Alfred Deakin
Gregor McGregor 1904 1904 Australian Labor Party
Deputy Leader 1901–14
Vice-President of the Executive Council Chris Watson
Allan McLean 1904 1905 Protectionist Party Minister for Trade and Customs George Reid
William Lyne 1905 1908 Protectionist Party
Deputy Leader 1901–09
Minister for Trade and Customs
Treasurer
Alfred Deakin
Gregor McGregor 1908 1909 Australian Labor Party
Deputy Leader 1901–14
Vice-President of the Executive Council Andrew Fisher
Joseph Cook 1909 1910 Commonwealth Liberal Party
Deputy Leader 1909–13
Minister for Defence Alfred Deakin
Gregor McGregor 1910 1913 Australian Labor Party
Deputy Leader 1901–14
Vice-President of the Executive Council Andrew Fisher
John Forrest 1913 1914 Commonwealth Liberal Party
Deputy Leader 1913–16
Treasurer Joseph Cook
Billy Hughes 1914 1915 Australian Labor Party
Deputy Leader 1914–15
Attorney-General
Acting Prime Minister 1915
Andrew Fisher
George Pearce 1915 1916 Australian Labor Party
Deputy Leader 1915–16
Minister for Defence
Acting Prime Minister 1916
Billy Hughes
1916 1917 National Labor Party
Deputy Leader 1916–17
William Watt 1918 1920 Nationalist
Deputy Leader 1918–20
Treasurer
Acting Prime Minister 1918–19
Joseph Cook 1917 1921 Nationalist
Deputy Leader 1920–21
Minister for the Navy
Treasurer
acting Prime Minister May–September 1921
Earle Page 1923 1929 Country Party
Leader 1921–39
Treasurer Stanley Bruce
Ted Theodore 1929 1932 Australian Labor Party
Deputy Leader 1929–32
Treasurer James Scullin
James Fenton 1930 1931 Australian Labor Party
Temporary Leader 1929–32
Acting Prime Minister 1930–31 James Scullin
John Latham 1932 1934 United Australia Party
Deputy Leader 1932–34
Attorney-General
Minister for External Affairs
Minister for Industry
Joseph Lyons
George Pearce 1934 1934 United Australia Party
Deputy Leader 1934
Minister for External Affairs
Minister in Charge of Territories
Earle Page 1934 1939 Country Party
Leader 1921–39
Minister for Commerce
Minister for Health
Archie Cameron 1939 1940 Country Party
Leader 1939–40
Postmaster-General
Minister for Commerce
Minister for the Navy
Robert Menzies
Arthur Fadden 1940 1941 Country Party
Leader 1940–58
Minister for the Air
Minister for Civil Aviation
Treasurer
Acting Prime Minister 1940
Billy Hughes 1941 1941 United Australia Party
Leader 1941–43
Minister for the Navy
Attorney-General
Arthur Fadden
Frank Forde 1941 1946 Australian Labor Party
Deputy Leader 1932–46
Minister for the Army
Minister for Defence
Acting Prime Minister April–July 1944, November 1944 – January 1945, Prime Minister for one week in 1945
John Curtin
Ben Chifley
H. V. Evatt 1946 1949 Australian Labor Party
Deputy Leader 1946–51
Minister for External Affairs
Attorney-General
Arthur Fadden 1949 1958 Country Party
Leader 1940–58
Treasurer Robert Menzies
John McEwen 1958 1967 Country Party
Leader 1958–71
Minister for Trade and Industry
Acting Prime Minister June–July 1965
Harold Holt

References

  1. ^ ABC, Federal Election, 2013: Federal politicians' pay rises to at least $195,130: do we get what we pay for?
  2. ^ PrimeFacts: Deputy Prime Ministers of Australia
  3. ^ http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/primeministers/mcmahon/before-office.aspx
  4. ^ "Ministries and Cabinets". 43rd Parliamentary Handbook: Historical information on the Australian Parliament.  
  5. ^ "Deputy Prime Ministers of Australia" (PDF). Museum of Australian Democracy. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 

External links

  • The official site of the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
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