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PRESIDENTIAL POWERS
Executive Council

The power chart also shows a shift of real power from the Governor-General to the Federal Executive Council under a republic. While it could be argued that it is more democratic to have the Federal Executive Council have an increase in such powers because they are elected to parliament it must be remembered that they are not elected to the various ministerial positions by the electorate; they are nominated by the Prime Minister.

In any of the proposed republics, additional and significant powers would be given to the Federal Executive Council. The problem here is that there is no sensible and effective minimum number of ministers that must make up the Executive Council. It was under this loophole that Gough Whitlam was able to establish his now famous two-man ministry which advised the Governor-General. The precedent for small ministries has now been established and there is no safeguard to prevent such a thing happening again. Nor is there anything from preventing the establishment of a one-man ministry consisting solely of the Prime Minister. Under any of the proposed republican models, the Prime Minister would acquire additional and significant powers - including that of Command-in-Chief - which would then give a Prime Minister the powers of a dictator!

Do you want our politicians to have an increase in powers in a revision to the constitution?