Confidence and supply

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In a parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system, confidence and supply are required for a government to hold power. A confidence and supply agreement is an agreement that a minor party or independent member of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation (supply) votes by voting in favour or abstaining.[1][2]


In most parliamentary democracies, members of a parliament can propose a Motion of Confidence or Motion of No Confidence in the government or executive. The results of such motions show how much support the government currently has in parliament. Should a motion of confidence fail, or a motion of no confidence pass, the government will usually either resign and allow other politicians to form a new government, or call an election.


Most democracies require an appropriation bill or something similar to be passed by parliament in order for a government to receive money to enact its policies. If an appropriation bill fails, the government loses control of the money supply, and is therefore virtually powerless. The failure of a supply bill thus has the same effect as the failure of a confidence motion. In early modern England, the withholding of funds was one of parliament's few ways of controlling the monarch.

Examples of confidence and supply deals[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

John Key's National Party administration formed a minority government in 2008 thanks to a confidence and supply agreement with the ACT, United Future and the Maori Party.[3] A similar arrangement in 2005 had led to Helen Clark's Labour Party forming a coalition government with the Progressive Party, with support on confidence and supply from New Zealand First and United Future.


Julia Gillard's Australian Labor Party administration formed a minority government in 2010 thanks to a confidence and supply agreement with the Greens and three independent MPs.[4]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ James Cook, Governments, coalitions and border politics, BBC News, 7 May 2010
  2. ^ Why the PM is safe in No 10 for the moment, The Independent, 8 May 2010
  3. ^ Bryant, Nick (7 May 2010). "Lessons from New Zealand in art of coalition building". BBC. 
  4. ^ Rodgers, Emma (7 September 2010). "Labor clings to power". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).