Sing me a love song from your heart or from the phone book… My ideal ministry #auspol

So the other day, I wrote about what the ALP could learn from Tony Abbott about ministerial portfolios.  In conversation with a few people afterwards, they wondered what my ideal ministry could look like.  Let’s see what I — a conservative — can cook up.

Prime Minister

  • Minister for the Status of Women
  • Minister for the Promotion of Reconciliation
  • Special Minister of State for Information (ABS, AIHW, AIC, ANAO, Ombudsman, FoI, Government Intellectual Property, Archives)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Australian Public Service Commission)


  • Minister for Finance
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Superannuation

Minister for Foreign Affairs

  • Minister for Trade
  • Minister for Aid
  • Minister for Immigration
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Protection Arrangements and Humanitarian Relations
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism

Minister for Culture, Humanities, and the Arts

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs
    This is the ministry which would deal with the ABC, SBS, ACMA, and my incredibly Orwellian and anti-freedom Press Regulator.  Also, the Sport portfolio would be disintegrated and absorbed back into this ministry.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs

  • Parliamentary Secretary for the Protection of Indigenous Environmental, Cultural, and Scientific Knowledge


  • Parliamentary Secretary for Justice
  • Parliamentary Secretary for National Security

Minister for Research

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Cyber Policy

Minister for Health

  • Minister for Indigenous Health
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Health Care and Preventative Health

Minister for Agriculture

  • Minister for Regional Development
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Environmental Protection
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Disaster Response
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Animal Welfare

Minister for Industry

  • Minister for Infrastructure and the National Broadband Network [EDIT: I missed this one.  See comments.]
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Transport

Minister for Defence

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Veterans’ Affairs
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Research

Minister for Education

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Vocational Education
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education (In my glorious Marktopia, I abolish child care services and expand primary school services to start earlier)

Minister for Human Welfare

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Employment

From the looks of it, my Cabinet would shrink but my outer ministry and parliamentary secretary positions would increase.  I might have the balance of Outer Ministry positions incorrect.  For the life of me, I couldn’t remember the rules constraining the composition.

Immigration would drop out of the Cabinet for the first time since Arthur Calwell, but this would bring us into line with other similar countries.  Further, I’ve split off the asylum seeker issue from immigration so that it can be considered from a broader perspective than just visas and border control.  This isn’t such a weird idea — the Foreign Minister is already the custodian of the Bali Process.

I’ve also dropped Finance down out of the Cabinet with a view to abolishing the Department of Finance completely and having it absorbed into Treasury.  Meanwhile, I’ve bumped the ABS out of the Treasurer’s portfolio and combined it with the other ‘Information Agencies’ in a portfolio under the Prime Minister.

Did I mention that I’ve abolished Sport?  Now we have the much better ‘CHA’ portfolio.  Having a Humanities portfolio would also promote the sector and stop it from always being in constant competition with the sciences (which would sit under the Research portfolio).  There’s a better link between Humanities and the Arts portfolios which is routinely overlooked by successive governments.

Anything I’ve missed?  Come at me, haters.

Author: Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher is a Canberra-based PhD student, writer, and policy wonk who writes about law, conservatism, atheism, and popular culture. Read his blog at OnlyTheSangfroid. He tweets at @ClothedVillainy

5 thoughts on “Sing me a love song from your heart or from the phone book… My ideal ministry #auspol”

  1. The much discussed “Minister for Science in some capacity” doesn’t have a specific minister? Would “science” activites that are specific to each ministry (e.g. Industry, Environment, Health) be handled independantly rather than a single “go-to” science minister that can tie them all together or is it just a “something else” the Research Ministry handles?

    Where would something like Communications/Digital Economy (hopefully a more meaningful title) reside? Inside Industry or Research (with science) or should it get it’s own focus? Like Science, give it a single go-to point that all other ministries can plug into for a cohesive whole of government strategy rather than each ministry doing it’s own thing.

    1. Despite sounding impressive, the Minister for Science doesn’t actual do much and the title is a bit out of date. Responsibility for the CSIRO, ARC, and NHMRC would, under this scheme, fit under the Minister for Research.

      Communications is an interesting portfolio. It’s a bit of a vestigial organ from when we had Telecom. Now it’s the Postmaster General and responsibility for the NBN. Minister for Human Welfare can take care of Australia Post.

      I see that I’ve missed Infrastructure though! I’d put the NBN with a Minister for Infastructure under the Minister for Industry.

  2. I like the idea of Science falling under Research. It then follows that other Ministries requires “science services” would need the research aspect of them that they then build policy from.
    The Minister for Transport I’d have thought could be rolled into a Minister for Infrastructure in that case without adding another head.

  3. Oh, and on your point of abolishing child care services, I sort of like that idea, but it could be done by extending the current OOSH services many schools have or the “co-locating” of child care services that some schools are starting to use. There would be a question though over space and capacity though as many schools are struggling to fit existing students in without needing to find space for additional “child care” facilities.

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