This video describes the Caretaker Conventions that apply in the lead up to a Federal election and provides guidance for APS employees on how to conduct themselves during this time.
- Understand Caretaker conventions and their purpose.
- Behave in accordance with the conventions.
- Ask supervisors for help when unsure of expectations.
Caretaker Conventions Video
When a Federal election is called, the House of Representatives is dissolved. This means there is no popular chamber to which Executive Government can be accountable
Also, elections bring the possibility the government will change.
For these reasons the Government assumes a caretaker role from the dissolution of the House, until the outcome if the election is clear or, if there is a change, the new government is sworn in.
During this period business-as-usual administration continues however, governments refrain from actions that would bind an incoming government and limit its freedom.
By convention the government avoids:
- Making major policy decisions that are likely to commit an incoming government.
- Making significant appointments; and
- Entering major contracts or undertakings
The APS adopts practices that support these conventions.
During the Caretaker period it is important to uphold the apolitical nature and reputation of the APS.
We need to take care to avoid the use of Commonwealth resources in any way that would advantage one political party over another. This can include taking extra care with:
- advertising and information campaigns
- website content
- agency social media posts
- use of agency premises; and
- requests from Ministers ‘ offices for information.
If you are unsure whether something you are working on could be affected, please talk to your supervisor about it.
APS employees should also ensure they do not personally use their position or APS resources to support political parties or issues.
For more detailed information you can read: Guidance on Caretaker Conventions on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Website.
Craft and User Level
This content aligns with the Working in Government Craft at the Foundation level.
Integrity; Values; Representation; Communication; Risk management; Policy; Parliament and government
This content has been provided by the APS Academy.