Opinion Number. 441

Subject

COMMONWEALTH DEPARTMENTS WHETHER NECESSARY TO APPOINT MINISTER TO ADMINISTER DEPARTMENT ESTABLISHED BY GOVERNOR-GENERAL IN COUNCIL

Key Legislation

CONSTITUTION, s. 64

Date
Client
The Secretary, Prime Minister's Department

The Secretary to the Prime Minister's Department has asked for advice regarding the question of the issue of a Commission appointing Mr Fisher to administer that Department.

The Prime Minister's Department was established on 28 December 1911 as from 1 July 1911. See Gazette, 30 December 1911.

No new Commission has, I understand, been issued to any Minister to administer the new Department.

Section 64 of the Constitution provides that the Governor-General may appoint officers to administer such Departments of State as the Governor-General in Council may establish.

In my opinion section 64 contemplates that, when a Department has been established, a Minister will be appointed to administer it.

If any legal action were required to be taken by the Minister administering the Prime Minister's Department, that action could only be taken by the Minister appointed to administer the Department or by another Minister acting for him, and circumstances might arise at any moment requiring such action to be taken.

I am of opinion therefore that it is necessary that a Commission should be issued by the Governor-General appointing Mr Fisher to administer the Prime Minister's Department.

[Vol. 9, p. 446]