Minister for Defence (Australia)


The Minister for Defence is the principal minister responsible for the organisation, implementation, and formulation of government policy in defence and military matters for the
Australian Government The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the ...
. The individual who holds this office directs the government’s approach to such matters through the
Australian Defence Organisation The Australian Defence Organisation (ADO), also known as simply Defence, is an Australian Government organisation that consists of both the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Department of Defence (Australia), Department of Defence (DoD). T ...
and, by extension, the
Department of Defence Department of Defence or Department of Defense may refer to: Current departments of defence * Department of Defence (Australia) The Department of Defence (DoD) is a Government department, department of the Government of Australia charged wit ...
and the
Australian Defence Force Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determine ...
. The office of the Minister for Defence, like all Cabinet positions, is not referenced in the
Constitution of Australia The Constitution of Australia (or Australian Constitution) is a written constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it ...

Constitution of Australia
but rather exists through convention and the right of the Governor-General of Australia, Governor-General to appoint ministers of state. As the Minister for Defence is responsible for the executive management of Australia's defence and military forces and the portfolio's accountability to the Parliament, the Secretary of Defence is required under section 63(1) of the ''Public Service Act 1999'' and the ''Requirements for Annual Reports'' from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Public Accounts and Audit to submit a report to the responsible ministers on the activities of the Department of Defence after the end of each financial year for presentation to the Parliament. On 29 March 2021, Peter Dutton was announced as the new Minister for Defence, with the previous Minister, Linda Reynolds, becoming the Minister for Government Services following a Second Morrison Ministry, cabinet reshuffle. Dutton was sworn in the following day. Dutton's appointment as Defence Minister to replace Reynolds continues the trend of successive Defence Ministers who have lasted for less than five years since 1996. It is one of only four ministerial positions (along with Prime Minister, Attorney-General for Australia, Attorney-General and Treasurer of Australia, Treasurer) that have existed since Federation of Australia, Federation.

Defence policy

The primary function of the Minister for Defence is to direct the formulation of the government's defence policy relating to the universal conduct of any entity of the Australian Government, or working on behalf of the Australian Government, and the agencies and personnel of the Australian Defence Organisation as a whole. The Australian Government operates three principal entities responsible for creating and maintaining defence policy within the 'Defence' superstructure: the Air Power Development Centre, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and Sea Power Centre - Australia. Additionally, the Australian Government, often at the direct request of the Prime Minister, will expend extensive introspective resources for the publication of Defence white papers so as to assess the current extent of Australia's defence capabilities and infrastructure and investigate the best manner of improving Defence in such a way that will positively inform the government's policy. The most recent white paper publication is the ''2016 Defence White Paper'' that includes three elements: the 2016 Defence White Paper itself, ''2016 Integrated Investment Program'', and ''2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement''. Presented on 24 February 2016 and published the same day, it is the eighth defence whitepaper since 1976 and defined three key strategic objectives that the defence portfolios and governments of both parties have had little debate over. Recent Ministers for Defence for both political parties have typically formed their policy around the strict and professional advice of Australia's leading policy experts and senior military personnel and has generally caused little controversy.

Composition of the defence portfolio

Over the years there have been a number of ministers with a variety of functions involved in the defence portfolio; in the period November 1939 to April 1942, there was no position named "Minister of Defence". Instead, several ministers were responsible for the various tasks and duties that are presently under the purview of the Minister for Defence. Previous governments have included ministers with titles using one or more of the following terms: *Air *Aircraft production *Army *Defence *Defence Coordination *Defence Industry *Defence Materiel *Defence Personnel *Defence Production *Defence Science *Defence Support *Development *MunitionsThe Department of Munitions was created during World War II, and existed between 11 June 1940 and April 1948. *Navy *Repatriation *Shipping *Supply *Veterans' Affairs

List of ministers for defence

There was a Minister for Defence from 1 January 1901 until 13 November 1939, with the exception of two small breaks. Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister, abolished the position on the outbreak of World War II and created separate Ministers for the Navy, the Army and the Air, with himself as Minister for Defence Coordination in his First Menzies Ministry, first ministry. He retained this position until the fall of his government, and then held the post in the brief government of Arthur Fadden. John Curtin initially followed the same arrangement as Menzies in First Curtin Ministry, his ministry until 14 April 1942, when he took the title of Minister for Defence. The separate titles of Ministers for the Navy, the Army and the Air were abolished in the second Whitlam Ministry on 30 November 1973, when the separate departments of Department of the Navy (Australia), Navy, Department of the Army (Australia), Army and Department of Air (Australia), Air were also abolished. There had also been a separate Navy portfolio between 1915 and 1921. The following have served as Minister for Defence:

List of assistant ministers for defence

The following individuals have been appointed as Assistant Minister for Defence, or any of its precedent titles:

Individual service branch ministers

Ministers for the Navy

The following served as Minister for the Navy:

Ministers for the Army

The following served as Minister for the Army:

Ministers for Air

The following served as Minister for Air:

See also

* Department of Defence (Australia) * Department of Munitions (11 June 1940 — April 1948) * Minister for Defence Industry * Minister for Defence Personnel * Minister for Veterans' Affairs (Australia)



External links
{{Australian federal ministerial portfolios , state=autocollapsed Lists of government ministers of Australia, Defence Military of Australia Defence ministers of Australia,