The issue of ministerial responsibility is a recognised convention in all democratically elected countries. It is rules of behaviour and conduct regarding how a Minister discharges his duty in office. The convention of individual ministerial responsibility is that Ministers are responsible for the mistakes and incompetencies of government departments under their portfolio. Some of these conventions are no longer contained to such an extent in which they were initially used in England. This is because of the changing path Australia's political system is taking, making it almost impossible for Ministers to handle every little aspect involving their portfolios.
Ministerial responsibility takes two forms; Collective Cabinet Responsibility and Individual Ministerial Responsibility. Both concepts are governed by conventions inherited from the Westminster system of government. Collective ministerial responsibility involves the cabinet being collectively responsible to the people through parliament. In the ministerial conventions it is expected that the Ministers will be collectively responsible for their actions and policy they make.
The Lower House must also show confidence in the Ministers.
Conventions in relation to the ministerial power require Ministers not to publicly criticise another minister and defend their actions. The Minster must have cabinet consent to house new policy Government advice to the Crown must be unanimous as well. Not all these conventions however, have always been up held in Australia political history. Governments have chosen in the past to follow conventions because of political expediency however some have chosen not to follow it for the same reason.
Over the past century Individual ministerial responsibility conventions have been looked at determining whether a Minister should resign or be dismissed. When the conventions are put into a practical sense, a Minister may resign not as an admission of culpability , but rather to remove pressure from the government while serious criticisms of...