Who Governs Australia while a Hung Parliament is Resolved

The Australian federal (and state) government doesn’t stop just because an election has resulted in a hung parliament. When an election is called in Australia, the prime minister (or premier, in the case of the states) and the ministry stay in place in what is known as caretaker mode, ensuring government continues but in a minimal form, undertaking no new policy decisions, initiatives or appointments.

Each Australian state and the national system have constitutional rules for the calling together of the lower house after an election. In the main, these constitutions require the lower house to meet not later than 30 days after the return of the election writs (that is, at the official completion of the electoral process). The caretaker government stays in place until the lower house meets.

In the event of a hung parliament, the caretaker Australian prime minister or premier stays in place until an agreement between the parties and the crossbenchers is reached as to which major party will form the government and what sort of government it will be (that is, minority or coalition).

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