Statement on the appointment of the former Prime Minister to portfolios other than the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
The below statement on the appointment of the former Prime Minister to portfolios other than the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is attributable to a spokesperson for the Governor-General:
The Governor-General is content for the process that the Prime Minister has put in place to be completed and will not comment further. The Governor-General acted on the advice of the government of the day, consistent with the principle of responsible government (in which Ministers are responsible to the parliament, and through them to the Australian people, for the advice that they provide to the Governor-General).
In relation to questions around secrecy: any questions around secrecy after the Governor-General had acted on the advice of the government of the day are a matter for the previous government. It is not the responsibility of the Governor-General to advise the broader Ministry or parliament (or public) of administrative changes of this nature. The Governor-General had no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated.
In terms of questions around the process by which advice is provided to the Governor-General: recommendations relating to appointments of Ministers of State, or to appoint a Minister to have administrative responsibilities over another department, are not, by convention, considered by Federal Executive Council. They are recommendations made, in writing, by the Prime Minister to the Governor-General. The Governor-General signs an instrument to act on the advice of the government of the day. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is responsible for that process.