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Parliamentary Under-Secretaries

2.48 The Governor-General, under section 8 of the Constitution Act, may appoint any member of Parliament to be a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in relation to the ministerial office or offices specified in the warrant of appointment. The Governor-General appoints Parliamentary Under-Secretaries on the advice of the Prime Minister. Although they form part of executive government, Parliamentary Under-Secretaries are not members of the Executive Council, so they are not empowered to act for Ministers under section 7 of the Constitution Act.

2.49 Parliamentary Under-Secretaries are appointed to assist Ministers, and their authority derives solely from the Minister they are assisting (see section 9 of the Constitution Act).

2.50 The relevant Minister must give the Parliamentary Under-Secretary a formal letter clearly setting out the role of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the portfolio, any assigned responsibilities, and the relevant working arrangements. The draft letter must be approved by the Prime Minister through the Secretary of the Cabinet, and the Minister should provide copies of the final letter to the Secretary of the Cabinet and the chief executive of the department concerned. As for Associate Ministers, the letter should set out clearly the Parliamentary Under-Secretary’s area of responsibility, including any limits on authority, on the ability to make public statements, and on the relationship with the department. Details of assignments to Parliamentary Under-Secretaries may be included in the Schedule of Responsibilities Delegated to Associate Ministers (see paragraphs 2.34(c) and 2.37).

2.51 As members of the Executive, Parliamentary Under-Secretaries are bound by the principle of collective responsibility (see paragraphs 5.245.31).

Last updated: 
Saturday, 24 June 2017

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