Chapter 2 of Australia's Constitution Simplified

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November 20, 2021
  1. Executive power

The executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative, and extends to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, and of the laws of the Commonwealth.

  1. Federal Executive Council

There shall be a Federal Executive Council to advise the Governor-General in the government of the Commonwealth, and the members of the Council shall be chosen and summoned by the Governor-General and sworn as Executive Councillors, and shall hold office during his pleasure.

  1. Provisions referring to Governor-General

The provisions of this Constitution referring to the Governor-General in Council shall be construed as referring to the Governor-General acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council.

  1. Ministers of State

The Governor-General may appoint officers to administer such departments of State of the Commonwealth as the Governor-General in Council may establish.

Such officers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor-General. They shall be members of the Federal Executive Council, and shall be the Queen’s Ministers of State for the Commonwealth.

After the first general election no Minister of State shall hold office for a longer period than three months unless he is or becomes a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

  1. Number of Ministers

Until the Parliament otherwise provides, the Ministers of State shall not exceed seven in number, and shall hold such offices as the Parliament prescribes, or, in the absence of provision, as the Governor-General directs.

  1. Salaries of Ministers

There shall be payable to the Queen, out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Commonwealth, for the salaries of the Ministers of State, an annual sum which, until the Parliament otherwise provides, shall not exceed twelve thousand pounds a year.

  1. Appointment of civil servants

Until the Parliament otherwise provides, the appointment and removal of all other officers of the Executive Government of the Commonwealth shall be vested in the Governor-General in Council, unless the appointment is delegated by the Governor-General in Council or by a law of the Commonwealth to some other authority.

  1. Command of naval and military forces

The command in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative.

  1. Transfer of certain departments

On a date or dates to be proclaimed by the Governor-General after the establishment of the Commonwealth

The following departments of the public service in each State shall be transferred to the Commonwealth:

  • posts, telegraphs, and telephones
  • naval and military defence
  • lighthouses, lightships, beacons, and buoys
  • quarantine.
  • customs and excise
  1. Certain powers of Governors to vest in Governor-General

All executive powers and functions are vested in:

  • the Governor-General, or
  • the Governor-General in Council, or
  • the authority exercising similar powers

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