Sources Close to the Prime Minister: Advisory Arrangements Under John Howard
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Australian prime ministers need advice and support. Recent incumbents have demonstrated a willingness to experiment with the institutions of advice, each attempting to create arrangements to enhance their capacity to do their job effectively and to achieve their particular agenda. The advisory arrangements developed by Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke have been the subject of considerable scholarly attention and are now well documented. Interestingly, despite media speculation that there has been an acceleration towards greater partisanship and personalisation under the Keating and Howard prime ministerships (for example Dodson, 1996a; Sherman, 1998; Waterford, 1995;1996), the advisory arrangements of these recent two prime ministers have received comparatively little attention. This paper addresses itself to this gap in the literature by examining the arrangements supporting John Howard as prime minister. It describes the system of advice developed to meet the needs of Howard's prime ministership. In describing and documenting Howard's advisory arrangements, this paper builds on earlier contributions by Walter (1986; 1992) and Weller (1985; 1987; 1989a; 2000). Intended as context for the Advising Ministers panel, it aims to provide a basis for assessing the current state of evolution of prime ministerial advisory systems in Australia.
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