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Major policy commitments

Major policy commitments

Governments avoid making major policy decisions during the caretaker period that are likely to commit an incoming government. Whether a particular policy decision qualifies as ‘major’ is a matter for judgment. Relevant considerations include not only the significance of the commitment in terms of policy and resources, but also whether the decision is a matter of contention between the Government and opposition parties in the election campaign.

The conventions apply to the making of commitments, not to their announcement. Accordingly, the conventions are not necessarily contravened where commitments made before the calling of an election are announced during the caretaker period. However, where possible, commitments about policies that have been agreed but not made public should be announced ahead of the caretaker period if their announcement is likely to cause controversy during the election campaign.

The conventions do not apply to promises on future policies that the party in government announces as part of its election campaign.

If circumstances require the Government to make a major policy commitment during the caretaker period that would bind an incoming government, the relevant Minister, after agreement with the Premier, would usually consult the Opposition spokesperson beforehand.

Operational note

Consultation by non-government parties or Members of Parliament with departmental officers must only occur with the express authorisation of the Premier. If a non-government party or Member makes direct contact with an agency they should be referred to the Head of the Premier’s Office.

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