Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries
A minister is typically a member of the party that has a majority in the Legislative Assembly and forms government. Ministers are drawn from both houses and are responsible for designated government portfolios, such as education, health and police. Ministers form the cabinet and are responsible, both individually and as a cabinet collectively, to Parliament for their portfolio areas.
A parliamentary secretary assists a minister with his or her duties. A parliamentary secretary may perform all the minister’s duties on the floor of the house, such as the carriage of bills and responding to questions on the minister’s behalf.
Both ministers and parliamentary secretaries are appointed by the Governor and receive an additional salary allowance for their responsibilities.
The shadow ministry comprises senior members of the opposition in the Parliament who occupy the opposition front benches in either the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council. They are usually allocated ‘shadow’ portfolios to match those of the government. Shadow ministers are appointed by the opposition party, not the Governor.
A shadow minister usually scrutinises, appraises and criticises policies and actions of a particular government minister and government departments under his or her responsibility. They are the opposition’s main spokespeople in Parliament and to the public, through the media. Unlike ministers, shadow ministers may also serve on parliamentary committees.
In the Western Australian Parliament, shadow ministries date back to 1974, but they do not have official status. Unlike in other roles, shadow ministers do not receive an additional salary.
Ministers Representing Ministers in the Other House
These are ministers or parliamentary secretaries who represent the minister in relation to their portfolios in the other house.
These representative ministers or parliamentary secretaries act on the advice of the responsible minister, but ultimately, as members of the executive in their own right, they are personally responsible to the house, of which they are a member, for all of the information that they provide to the House even when acting in a representative capacity.