Vice-President of the Executive Council

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Vice-President of the Executive Council
George Brandis.jpg
Incumbent
George Brandis

since 18 September 2013 (2013-09-18)
Style The Honourable
Appointer Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Australia
Inaugural holder Richard O'Connor
Formation 1 January 1901 (1901-01-01)

The Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council is a position in the Government of Australia, whose holder acts as presiding officer of the Federal Executive Council in the absence of the Governor-General.[1]

The Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Vice-President is usually a senior minister and may summon executive councillors and preside at Council meetings when the Governor-General is not present. However, the Vice-President cannot sign Executive Council documents on behalf of the Governor-General.

The current Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council is the Honourable George Brandis QC.

Duties and history[edit]

As the duties of the post are not rigorous, it is usually given to a government minister who holds another portfolio. In this sense, it is usually not a 'Minister without portfolio' such as the equivalent position, Lord President of the Council, is in the United Kingdom, although it has sometimes been used thus in the past (many of the earlier Vice-Presidents, and some of the later ones, such as Dame Enid Lyons in the First Menzies Ministry and Sir James Killen in the Third Fraser Ministry, served in the post without holding another portfolio simultaneously).

A small Department of the Vice-President of the Executive Council existed from 22 March to 31 May 1971, during the premiership of William McMahon. It was administered by Sir Alan Hulme, who was also Postmaster-General. The department was recreated by Malcolm Fraser in 1982 for Sir James Killen, who held no other portfolio; it was abolished in 1983 by the incoming prime minister Bob Hawke.

Colonial and state governments[edit]

Prior to the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, colonial and state governments, including the Colony of New South Wales also appointed a Vice-President of the Executive Council. The first New South Wales appointment was made on 3 October 1856 in the Parker ministry of the first elected colonial government. The New South Wales government currently retains the title for a senior government minister, presently held by the Honourable Michael Gallacher MP.

List of Vice-Presidents of the Executive Council[edit]

The following individuals have been appointed as Vice-President of the Executive Council:[2]

Order Minister Party Prime Minister Substantive portfolios Term start Term end Term in office
1 Senator Richard O'Connor   Protectionist Barton 1 January 1901 (1901-01-01) 24 September 1903 (1903-09-24) 2 years, 266 days
2 Senator Thomas Playford Deakin 24 September 1903 (1903-09-24) 27 April 1904 (1904-04-27) 216 days
3 Senator Gregor McGregor Labor Watson 27 April 1904 (1904-04-27) 17 August 1904 (1904-08-17) 112 days
4 Senator James Drake Protectionist Reid 17 August 1904 (1904-08-17) 5 July 1905 (1905-07-05) 322 days
5 Thomas Ewing Protectionist Deakin 5 July 1905 (1905-07-05) 12 October 1906 (1906-10-12) 1 year, 99 days
6 Senator John Keating Home Affairs 12 October 1906 (1906-10-12) 30 July 1907 (1907-07-30) 291 days
7 Senator Robert Best 30 July 1907 (1907-07-30) 13 November 1908 (1908-11-13) 1 year, 106 days
n/a Senator Gregor McGregor Labor Fisher 13 November 1908 (1908-11-13) 2 June 1909 (1909-06-02) 201 days
8 Senator Edward Millen Commonwealth Liberal Deakin 2 June 1909 (1909-06-02) 29 April 1910 (1910-04-29) 331 days
n/a Senator Gregor McGregor Labor Fisher 29 April 1910 (1910-04-29) 24 June 1913 (1913-06-24) 3 years, 56 days
9 Senator James McColl Commonwealth Liberal Cook 24 June 1913 (1913-06-24) 17 September 1914 (1914-09-17) 1 year, 85 days
10 Senator Albert Gardiner Labor Fisher 17 September 1914 (1914-09-17) 27 October 1915 (1915-10-27) 2 years, 40 days
Hughes 27 October 1915 (1915-10-27) 27 October 1916 (1916-10-27)
11 William Spence National Labor Hughes 14 November 1916 (1916-11-14) 17 February 1917 (1917-02-17) 95 days
n/a Senator Edward Millen Nationalist Repatriation 17 February 1917 (1917-02-17) 10 January 1918 (1918-01-10) 327 days
12 Littleton Groom 10 January 1918 (1918-01-10) 27 March 1918 (1918-03-27) 76 days
13 Senator Edward Russell 27 March 1918 (1918-03-27) 21 December 1921 (1921-12-21) 3 years, 269 days
14 Senator John Earle 21 December 1921 (1921-12-21) 5 February 1923 (1923-02-05) 1 year, 46 days
15 Llewellyn Atkinson Country Bruce 5 February 1923 (1923-02-05) 18 June 1926 (1926-06-18) 3 years, 133 days
16 Senator George Pearce Nationalist 18 June 1926 (1926-06-18) 22 October 1929 (1929-10-22) 3 years, 126 days
17 Senator John Daly Labor Scullin Defence (4 February 1931 (1931-02-04)–3 March 1931 (1931-03-03)) 22 October 1929 (1929-10-22) 3 March 1931 (1931-03-03) 1 year, 132 days
18 Senator John Barnes 3 March 1931 (1931-03-03) 6 January 1932 (1932-01-06) 309 days
19 Senator Alexander McLachlan UAP Lyons Development and Scientific and Industrial Research 6 January 1932 (1932-01-06) 12 October 1934 (1934-10-12) 2 years, 279 days
20 Billy Hughes Health; Repatriation 12 October 1934 (1934-10-12) 6 November 1935 (1935-11-06) 1 year, 25 days
21 Joseph Lyons Prime Minister 6 November 1935 (1935-11-06) 29 November 1937 (1937-11-29) 2 years, 23 days
n/a Billy Hughes External Affairs; Territories 29 November 1937 (1937-11-29) 7 November 1938 (1938-11-07) 343 days
22 Senator George McLeay 7 November 1938 (1938-11-07) 7 April 1939 (1939-04-07) 170 days
Page 7 April 1939 (1939-04-07) 26 April 1939 (1939-04-26)
23 James Fairbairn Menzies Civil Aviation (26 April 1939 (1939-04-26)–26 January 1940 (1940-01-26)); Air (13 November 1939 (1939-11-13)–26 January 1940 (1940-01-26)) 26 April 1939 (1939-04-26) 26 January 1940 (1940-01-26) 275 days
24 Percy Spender 26 January 1940 (1940-01-26) 14 March 1940 (1940-03-14) 48 days
25 Henry Gullett Scientific and Industrial Research; War Service Homes 14 March 1940 (1940-03-14) 13 August 1940 (1940-08-13) 152 days
26 Senator Herbert Collett 14 August 1940 (1940-08-14) 28 October 1940 (1940-10-28) 75 days
27 Senator George McLeay Postmaster-General and Repatriation (28 October 1940 (1940-10-28)–14 June 1941 (1941-06-14));
Supply and Development (14 June 1941 (1941-06-14)–29 August 1941 (1941-08-29))
28 October 1940 (1940-10-28) 29 August 1941 (1941-08-29) 344 days
Fadden Supply and Development 29 August 1941 (1941-08-29) 7 October 1941 (1941-10-07)
28 Senator Richard Keane Labor Curtin Trade and Customs 7 October 1941 (1941-10-07) 21 September 1943 (1943-09-21) 1 year, 349 days
29 Senator Bill Ashley Postmaster-General 21 September 1943 (1943-09-21) 2 February 1945 (1945-02-02) 1 year, 134 days
30 Jack Beasley 2 February 1945 (1945-02-02) 6 July 1945 (1945-07-06) 161 days
Forde Defence 6 July 1945 (1945-07-06) 13 July 1945 (1945-07-13)
31 Senator Joe Collings Chifley 13 July 1945 (1945-07-13) 1 November 1946 (1946-11-01) 1 year, 111 days
32 William Scully 1 November 1946 (1946-11-01) 19 December 1949 (1949-12-19) 3 years, 48 days
33 Enid Lyons Liberal Menzies 19 December 1949 (1949-12-19) 7 March 1951 (1951-03-07) 1 year, 78 days
34 Robert Menzies Prime Minister 7 March 1951 (1951-03-07) 11 May 1951 (1951-05-11) 65 days
35 Eric Harrison Defence Production; Army; Navy 11 May 1951 (1951-05-11) 24 October 1956 (1956-10-24) 5 years, 166 days
36 Senator Neil O'Sullivan Attorney-General 24 October 1956 (1956-10-24) 10 December 1958 (1958-12-10) 2 years, 47 days
37 Senator Bill Spooner National Development 10 December 1958 (1958-12-10) 10 June 1964 (1964-06-10) 5 years, 183 days
38 William McMahon Labour and National Service 10 June 1964 (1964-06-10) 26 January 1966 (1966-01-26) 1 year, 230 days
39 Alan Hulme Holt Postmaster-General
(Hulme was also the "Minister administering the Department of the Vice-President of the Executive Council", a department that was created and existed between 10 March 1971 and 30 May 1971.)
26 January 1966 (1966-01-26) 19 December 1967 (1967-12-19) 6 years, 314 days
McEwen 19 December 1967 (1967-12-19) 10 January 1968 (1968-01-10)
Gorton 10 January 1968 (1968-01-10) 10 March 1971 (1971-03-10)
McMahon 10 March 1971 (1971-03-10) 5 December 1972 (1972-12-05)
40 Senator Don Willesee Labor Whitlam Special Minister; Foreign Affairs 19 December 1972 (1972-12-19) 30 November 1973 (1973-11-30) 346 days
41 Frank Stewart Tourism and Recreation 30 November 1973 (1973-11-30) 11 November 1975 (1975-11-11) 1 year, 346 days
42 Senator Reg Withers Liberal Fraser Capital Territory; Media; Special Minister of State; Tourism and Recreation (11 November 1975 (1975-11-11)–22 December 1975 (1975-12-22));
Administrative Services (22 December 1975 (1975-12-22)–7 August 1978 (1978-08-07))
11 November 1975 (1975-11-11) 7 August 1978 (1978-08-07) 2 years, 269 days
43 Senator John Carrick Education (22 December 1975 (1975-12-22)–8 December 1979 (1979-12-08));
National Development and Energy (8 December 1979 (1979-12-08)–11 March 1983 (1983-03-11))
7 August 1978 (1978-08-07) 7 May 1982 (1982-05-07) 3 years, 273 days
44 James Killen (Killen had no other portfolio, but the Department of the Vice-President of the Executive Council was created for him to administer.) 7 May 1982 (1982-05-07) 11 March 1983 (1983-03-11) 308 days
45 Mick Young Labor Hawke Special Minister of State 11 March 1983 (1983-03-11) 14 July 1983 (1983-07-14) 125 days
46 Lionel Bowen Deputy Prime Minister; Trade (11 March 1983 (1983-03-11)–13 December 1984 (1984-12-13));
Attorney-General (13 December 1984 (1984-12-13)–4 April 1990 (1990-04-04))
14 July 1983 (1983-07-14) 24 July 1987 (1987-07-24) 4 years, 10 days
n/a Mick Young Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs 24 July 1987 (1987-07-24) 12 February 1988 (1988-02-12) 203 days
47 Kim Beazley Defence (13 December 1984 (1984-12-13)–4 April 1990 (1990-04-04));
Transport and Communications (4 April 1990 (1990-04-04)–9 December 1991 (1991-12-09))
12 February 1988 (1988-02-12) 1 February 1991 (1991-02-01) 2 years, 354 days
48 Senator Graham Richardson Social Security 1 February 1991 (1991-02-01) 20 December 1991 (1991-12-20) 1 year, 107 days
Keating Social Security (20 December 1991 (1991-12-20)–27 December 1991 (1991-12-27));
Transport and Communications (27 December 1991 (1991-12-27)–18 May 1992 (1992-05-18))
20 December 1991 (1991-12-20) 18 May 1992 (1992-05-18)
49 Ralph Willis Finance 27 May 1992 (1992-05-27) 24 March 1993 (1993-03-24) 301 days
50 Frank Walker Special Minister of State 24 March 1993 (1993-03-24) 25 March 1994 (1994-03-25) 1 year, 1 day
51 Gary Johns Special Minister of State 25 March 1994 (1994-03-25) 11 March 1996 (1996-03-11) 1 year, 352 days
52 John Moore Liberal Howard Industry, Science and Tourism 11 March 1996 (1996-03-11) 21 October 1998 (1998-10-21) 2 years, 224 days
53 David Kemp Education, Training and Youth Affairs; Assistant Treasurer (21 October 1998 (1998-10-21)–26 November 2001 (2001-11-26));
Environment and Heritage (26 November 2001 (2001-11-26)–18 July 2004 (2004-07-18))
21 October 1998 (1998-10-21) 18 July 2004 (2004-07-18) 5 years, 271 days
54 Senator Nick Minchin Finance and Administration 18 July 2004 (2004-07-18) 3 December 2007 (2007-12-03) 3 years, 138 days
55 Senator John Faulkner Labor Rudd Special Minister of State (3 December 2007 (2007-12-03)–9 June 2009 (2009-06-09));
Defence (9 June 2009 (2009-06-09)–24 June 2010 (2010-06-24))
3 December 2007 (2007-12-03) 24 June 2010 (2010-06-24) 2 years, 285 days
Gillard Defence 24 June 2010 (2010-06-24) 14 September 2010 (2010-09-14)
56 Robert McClelland Attorney-General (3 December 2007 (2007-12-03)–14 December 2011 (2011-12-14));
Housing, Homelessness and Emergency Management (14 December 2011 (2011-12-14)–5 March 2012 (2012-03-05))
14 September 2010 (2010-09-14) 5 March 2012 (2012-03-05) 1 year, 173 days
57 Tony Burke Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (15 September 2010 (2010-09-15)–1 July 2013 (2013-07-01)) 5 March 2012 (2012-03-05) 1 July 2013 (2013-07-01) 1 year, 197 days
Rudd Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship; Arts 1 July 2013 (2013-07-01) 18 September 2013 (2013-09-18)
58 Senator George Brandis Liberal Abbott Attorney General
Minister for the Arts
18 September 2013 (2013-09-18) incumbent 298 days

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Federal Executive Council Handbook" (PDF). Government of Australia. June 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2007. 
  2. ^ "Ministries and Cabinets". 43rd Parliamentary Handbook: Historical information on the Australian Parliament. Parliament of Australia. 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2013.