Prime Minister of Australia

The prime minister of Australia is the head of government of Australia. The prime minister is the leader of the federal government and is also accountable to federal parliament under the principles of responsible government. The incumbent prime minister is Scott Morrison, who took office in August 2018 as leader of the Liberal Party.

Prime Minister of Australia
Incumbent
Scott Morrison

since 24 August 2018
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
StyleThe Honourable[1]
(formal)
Prime Minister[2]
(informal)
StatusHead of government
AbbreviationPM
Member of
Reports toHouse of Representatives
ResidenceThe Lodge, Canberra[3]
Kirribilli House, Sydney[3]
SeatCanberra
AppointerGovernor-General[4]
on the ability to command the confidence of the House of Representatives
Term lengthAt the Governor-General's pleasure
The holder is required to command the confidence of the House of Representatives[5]
Constituting instrumentNone (constitutional convention)
Formation1 January 1901 (federation)[4]
First holderEdmund Barton[4]
DeputyDeputy prime minister
SalaryA$549,250[6]
Websitepm.gov.au

Formally appointed by the governor-general, the office of the prime minister is governed by Westminster system convention as it is not described in the Australian constitution. To become prime minister, a politician should be able to command the confidence of the House of Representatives. As such, the prime minister is typically the leader of the majority party or coalition. Prime ministers do not have a set duration or number of terms, but an individual's term generally ends when their political party loses a federal election, or they lose or relinquish the leadership of their party.

Executive power is formally vested in the monarch and exercised by the governor-general on advice from government ministers, who are nominated by the prime minister and form the Federal Executive Council. The most senior ministers form the federal cabinet, which the prime minister chairs. The prime minister also heads the National Cabinet and the National Security Committee. Administrative support is provided by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The prime minister has two official residences: The Lodge in Canberra and Kirribilli House in Sydney, as well as an office at Parliament House.

Thirty people have served as prime minister, the first of whom was Edmund Barton taking office on 1 January 1901 following federation. The longest-serving prime minister was Robert Menzies, who served over 18 years, and the shortest-serving was Frank Forde, who served one week. There is no legislated line of succession, however convention determines that the governor-general shall commission the deputy prime minister on a caretaker basis.