Westminster conventions

  • The Westminster system is a parliamentary system of government modelled after the gov’t of the UK.


  • A sovereign head of state, the nominal holder of executive power, and holds many reserve or prerogative powers but whose duties are mainly ceremonial.
  • A head of government called the PM, appointed by the GG, on the basis of the convention that he has the support of a majority of the HoR. Typically, it is the leader of the party with the most seats.
  • A loyal Opposition made up of the non-government parties to scrutinise the gov’t.
  • Individual Ministerial Responsibility – Ministers are responsible to Parliament for their actions and for their Department. If maladministration occurs or impropriety, then the Minster should resign. (probity and propriety)
  • Collective Ministerial Responsibility – all Ministers must take responsibility for Cabinet decisions. In public, a Minister should not disagree with a Cabinet decision unless they resign.
  • A lower house with the ability to dismiss a government by blocking Supply, passing motions of no confidence or defeating a confidence motion. This enables a gov’t to be forced into an election independently of a new gov’t being chosen.

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