Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 19 - Relations with the executive government

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In any system of government conducted by elected representatives of the people, the relationship between the representative assembly holding the legislative power and the holders of the executive power is of great significance. In a parliamentary system, in which the executive is formed out of the legislative assembly, the relationship is of greater significance. In such a system the executive, the ministry, is supposed to be scrutinised and controlled by the legislature. In practice, in most systems inherited from the United Kingdom, the ministry has come to control the lower house of the legislature through control of disciplined and hierarchical parties. In this situation, as has been observed in Chapter 1, the role of a second chamber like the Senate is crucial, and its relationship with the executive must, if it can, compensate for the usual ministerial dominance of the lower house.

The Senate and the ministry

The Governor-General and the Senate

Ministers in the Senate

Parliamentary secretaries

Ministerial accountability and censure motions

Claims by the executive of public interest immunity

Questions to ministers

Effect of prorogation and of the dissolution of the House of Representatives on the Senate