PM’s Code of Conduct for Ministers

30 Jul 2022

The Albanese Government is committed to integrity, honesty and accountability and Ministers in my Government (including Assistant Ministers) will observe standards of probity, governance and behaviour worthy of the Australian people.

Ministers hold high public office and are entrusted with considerable privilege and power. The people of Australia are entitled to expect that, in the discharge of our duties, we will act in a manner that is consistent with the highest ethical standards.

The convention of collective responsibility which applies to the Federal Cabinet ensures that the Government is collectively accountable and responsible to the Parliament and to the people of Australia. This means that Ministers are responsible, both personally and as a group, for the way in which we carry out our official duties.

In 2007, the Labor Government introduced the Standards of Ministerial Ethics, requiring Ministers to conduct themselves to a higher standard of conduct than had been the case in the past.

In 2022, the Albanese Government also commits to higher standards, including to ensure ministerial-led workplaces embody the practices and behaviours required to maintain a safe and respectful work environment for all.

Everyone has the right to a safe and respectful workplace. Inappropriate behaviour in the workplace will not be tolerated.

This Code is underpinned by key principles that Ministers must act with due regard for integrity, fairness, accountability, responsibility and the public interest.

As Prime Minister, I expect my Ministers to demonstrate that they are complying with these high standards of conduct, and in doing so, living up to the expectations of the Australian public.

Each Minister is personally responsible for ensuring they comply with, and uphold, this Code.

Prime Minister – Code of Conduct for Ministers
Friday, 08 July 2022

1.Key Principles
1.1. The ethical standards required of Ministers in Australia’s system of government reflect the
fact that, as holders of public office, Ministers are entrusted with considerable privilege and
wide discretionary power.
1.2. In recognition that public office is a public trust, the people of Australia are entitled to expect
that, as a matter of principle, Ministers will act with due regard for integrity, fairness,
accountability, responsibility, and the public interest, as required by this Code.
1.3. In particular, in carrying out their duties:
(i) Ministers must ensure that they act with integrity – that is, through the lawful and
disinterested exercise of the statutory and other powers available to their office,
appropriate use of the resources available to their office for public purposes, in a
manner which is appropriate to the responsibilities of the Minister.
(ii) Ministers must observe fairness in making official decisions – that is, to act honestly and
reasonably, with consultation as appropriate to the matter at issue, taking proper
account of the merits of the matter, and giving due consideration to the rights and
interests of the persons involved, and the interests of Australia.
(iii) Ministers must accept they are accountable for the exercise of the powers and functions
of their office – that is, to ensure that their conduct, representations and decisions as
Ministers, and the conduct, representations and decisions of those who act as their
delegates or on their behalf – are open to public scrutiny and explanation.
(iv) Ministers must accept the full implications of the principle of ministerial responsibility.
They will be required to answer for the consequences of their decisions and actions –
that is, they must ensure that:
o their conduct in office is, in fact and in appearance, in accordance with this Code;
o they promote the observance of this Code by leadership and example in the public
bodies for which they are responsible; and
o their conduct in a private capacity upholds the laws of Australia, and demonstrates
appropriately high standards of personal integrity.
(v) When taking decisions in, or in connection with, their official capacity, Ministers must
act in the public interest – that is, based on their best judgment of what will advance
the common good of the people of Australia.
1.4. Ministers are expected to undertake whatever actions may be considered by the
Prime Minister to be reasonable in these circumstances to meet the general obligations set
out above, including the specific requirements and procedures outlined in this Code.