Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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MPs moving straight into the Ministry

On 2 March 2012, the Prime Minister the Hon. Julia Gillard announced Bob Carr would join the Senate and take on the role of Minister for Foreign Affairs. Mr Carr becomes one of only eight Ministers moving straight into ministry on commencement in the Commonwealth Parliament. In two cases the new minister had no parliamentary experience at all; in the six other cases the appointee had prior parliamentary and ministerial experience in a State Parliament.Ministers with no previous parliamentary experienceWilliam Spooner (Liberal, NSW) was elected to the Senate at the 1949 election. His term commenced on 22 February 1950. Spooner was appointed Minister for Social Services in the Menzies Governme... Read more...

A bigger cabinet and more women in it

 The new ministry to be sworn in today, with 22 cabinet members, is the largest cabinet since the second and third Whitlam Ministries (1972–75). When the Second Whitlam Ministry was sworn in, all 27 members of the ministry sat as members of the cabinet. During this period, and also between 1901 and 1956, there was no ‘inner cabinet’. The inner cabinet system was formally adopted by the Menzies Government on 11 January 1956 and has characterised all Governments since, with the exception of the Whitlam Government.The other notable feature of the new ministry is its record number of five female cabinet ministers.The first woman to serve as a cabinet member was Enid Lyons (who was also the fir... Read more...

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