The dust is still settling on an extraordinary Federal Election but even with seats still in doubt, the well-oiled transition process to a new Government is well advanced.
The Australian Public Service prepares sets of briefs for the parties most likely to form government. Work on the Red Book (Labor) and the Blue Book (Coalition) began before the election was even called.
Each outlines key issues for a new Government, what commitments were made in the campaign and how they can be delivered.
Incoming Prime Minister Anthony Albanese received his first transitional download from senior bureaucrats before the election, and a further briefing on Sunday.
He was sworn in today, along with four of his most senior ministers – Richard Marles (Defence and Deputy PM), Penny Wong (Foreign Minister), Jim Chalmers (Treasurer) and Katy Gallagher (Attorney-General).
Putting an interim cabinet in place enabled the PM and Minister Wong to fly to the Quad meeting in Tokyo and has been common practice since Gough Whitlam’s “It’s Time” election of 1972.
While the PM is away, you can expect the Labor Party factions to negotiate the distribution of portfolios, with the ALP Caucus due to meet and confirm all jobs on 30th May.
Ministers will be sworn in immediately after and briefed by their department heads about any issues they need to know about or appointments they need to make.
Life doesn’t stand still for the losers. The Ministerial Wing of Parliament House is buzzing to the sounds of personal documents being shredded, with official Cabinet records and departmental assets being handed over to the bureaucracy.
Thus is the nature of transition of power in our well-functioning democracy.
Craig Regan, Senior Account Director