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The Prime Ministers' CraftWhy Some Succeed and Others Fail in Westminster Systems$
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Patrick Weller

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646203

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199646203.001.0001

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Prime Ministers and Cabinet Government

Prime Ministers and Cabinet Government

(p.140) 6 Prime Ministers and Cabinet Government
The Prime Ministers' Craft

Patrick Weller

Oxford University Press

All prime ministers insist that their government practises cabinet government, and that stories of prime ministerial government are exaggerated. This chapter explores how cabinet government is interpreted in each system. Does it require a formal meeting or is it a process of consultation and coordination? This chapter identifies the different interpretations of collective responsibility. It traces the different routines that are used in the preparation of cabinet submissions and how agendas for cabinet are determined. It shows how cabinets are used in the different countries: for information, for endorsement, or for decision. The trend has differed across countries; the differences can be traced through rules of attendance, use of committees, and attitudes to the process. Cabinet government works more in decision mode in Australia and New Zealand than in Canada and Britain.

Keywords:   Prime ministers, cabinet government, collective responsibility, routines, cabinet committees, decision-making

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