Federal Executive Council

Federal Executive Council

Federal Executive Council

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The Federal Executive Council is the formal body holding executive authority under the Constitution of Australia. It is equivalent to the other Executive Councils in other Commonwealth Realms such as the Executive Council of New Zealand and is equivalent to the Privy councils in Canada and the United Kingdom. The Executive Council is presided over by the Governor-General of Australia and exists to "advise" the Governor-General in the administration of the government. In practice (with only a few exceptions), the Governor-General is bound by convention to act on the Council's advice. Unlike the British and Canadian councils, the Leader of the Opposition is not typically appointed to the Federal Executive Council.

The Council is established by section 62 of the Constitution. Section 64 establishes that all Ministers of State (i.e. Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries) are members of the Council. Membership of the Council is normally for life, although in practice only serving government Ministers are invited to attend meetings. The Executive Council differs from the Cabinet, in that the Cabinet only includes currently serving, senior Ministers. Members of the Executive Council are entitled to the style The Honourable. Even though former Ministers (including those who have retired from political life) are rarely if ever called to attend Executive Council meetings, they formally remain "Executive-Councillors-on-call", and thus are entitled to the title...
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