The Cabinet is responsible for directing Government policy and making decisions on important national issues. The fact that the Cabinet exists by virtue of convention not constitution, and has remained the Government’s principal decision making body, is testament to its value.
At the heart of a strong Cabinet are the principles of confidentiality and collective responsibility. Maintaining confidentiality allows the Cabinet to fully discuss issues before making decisions.
It is important the Cabinet operates in a way that reflects how the Prime Minister thinks it should. To make informed decisions, the Cabinet must work in a way that is truly consultative. Wherever possible, the Cabinet should consult colleagues, the bureaucracy and the wider public.
With this in mind, it is important that:
Ministers are the chief advisers on items relating to their portfolio and it is their responsibility to engage their stakeholders
Ministers must consult their colleagues early in the process to ensure all policy and implementation issues are addressed before the Cabinet considers the proposal.
Processes are followed and timeframes are met so that ministers and their departments have time to fully consider items before they are discussed by the Cabinet.
Following the principles and procedures outlined in this 11th Edition of the Cabinet Handbook will help support the Cabinet make decisions in the best interest of all Australians.