(with Pat Weller, Griffith University and Dennis Grube, University of Tasmania)
We have been awarded an Australian Research Council grant of AUD 239,000. The project will last for three years ending in 2018. It looks at collective decision-making through a cabinet of ministers as a way of ‘doing’ government. Cabinet remains the key formal executive decision-making forum in parliamentary systems across the world. Yet, the evidence on how cabinet government actually works is slim. It is an inherently secretive forum. Records are held in confidence for decades, even from the eyes of succeeding ministers. In some jurisdictions cabinet appears to be thriving, whilst in others it is seen in both popular and academic literatures as broken or under pressure. The aim of this project is to open up the black box of how cabinet actually operates in Australia, Britain, Denmark, The Netherland and Switzerland. It asks two questions.
When, how and why is collective agreement identified and obtained in cabinet systems?
Under what conditions can cabinet government operate in conjunction with strong individual leadership?