Sunday, August 22, 2010
Update: September 7, 2010: Gillard forms Government.
Gillard (pictured right with the US Ambassador to Australia, Jeff Bleich via) is the current Prime Minister of Australia- - - and first woman PM - - - who assumed power after Kevin Rudd's resignation.
The election has been inconclusive for either of the major parties, with independents and the Green Party winning seats in Parliament's House of Representatives. This is not dissimilar to the election in Great Britain last May.
The constitutional process of forming a government, including the Prime Minister, is helpfully explained by the Parliament as follows:
The Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General [the Queen's Representative] who by convention under the Constitution, must appoint the parliamentary leader of the party, or coalition of parties, which has a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. This majority party becomes the government and provides the ministers, all of whom must be members of Parliament.
The Federal Executive Council, referred to in the Constitution, comprises all ministers, with the Governor-General presiding. Its principal functions are to receive ministerial advice and approve the signing of formal documents such as proclamations, regulations, ordinances and statutory appointments.
Australia operates under a Cabinet system of government. The Cabinet, not mentioned in the Constitution, is the key decision-making body of the government and comprises senior Government Ministers. The decisions of Cabinet are given legal effect by their formal ratification by the Federal Executive Council.
Good reporting and updates can be found at the Sydney Morning Herald.