Minority Government: non-ministerial members speak about governing and democracy

Brenton Prosser, Richard Denniss

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue


The complex composition of the Australian Senate, along with the relative influence of micro-parties on legislative outcomes, has recently resulted in renewed major party calls for electoral reform. However, government majority to pass legislation through both houses of parliament without negotiation with smaller parties or independents has been rare in Australia over the last three decades. What then is the view of those outside of the leadership but inside of the legislature in relation to minority arrangements? This paper interviews experienced parliamentarians from across the political spectrum about their views on minority government and democracy in Australia. Hence, the paper provides suggestions on what it takes to make minority government work, as well as views on the urgency for electoral reform. In doing so, it also reveals varied interpretations of the relationship between the executive and the parliament within the Westminster model. Such insights will be of interest to both those working within parliament, those pursuing parliamentary reform and those seeking a more thorough understanding of minority government in Australia and other Commonwealth nations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-97
Number of pages4
JournalAustralasian Parliamentary Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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