Shadow minister

This article is about the political institution. For other uses, see Shadow Cabinet (disambiguation).

The Shadow Cabinet is a feature of the Westminster system of government. It comprises a senior group of opposition spokespeople who, under the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition, form an alternative cabinet to that of the government, and whose members shadow or mark each individual member of the Cabinet.[1] Members of a shadow cabinet are often but not always appointed to a Cabinet post if and when their party gets into government. It is the Shadow Cabinet's responsibility to criticize the policies and actions of the government, as well as offering an alternative program.

In most countries, a member of the shadow cabinet is referred to as a Shadow Minister. In Canada, however, the term Opposition Critic is more usual. In the United Kingdom's House of Lords and in New Zealand, the term "spokesperson" is used instead of "shadow".[1]

Cultural applications

In the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia the major opposition party and specifically its shadow cabinet is called His or Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.[2] The adjective "loyal" is used because, while the role of the opposition is to oppose Her Majesty's Government, it does not dispute the sovereign's right to the throne and therefore the legitimacy of the government. However in other countries that use the Westminster system (for example, New Zealand), the opposition is known simply as The Parliamentary Opposition instead of shadow.[3]

Some parliamentary parties, notably the Australian Labor Party, elect all the members of their shadow cabinets in a party room ballot, with the Leader of the Opposition then allocating portfolios to the Shadow Ministers.[4] In other parliamentary parties, the membership and composition of the Shadow Cabinet is generally determined solely by the Leader of the Opposition.

In many jurisdictions, third parties (which are neither participant in the government or in the official opposition) may also form their own parliamentary front benches of spokespersons; however, parliamentary standing orders on the right of parties to speak often dictate that it can only be granted to a party or group if a minimum number of members can be recorded by the party. In Ireland, for example, technical groups are often formed by third parties and independent TDs in the Dáil Éireann in order to increase the members' right to speak against larger parties which can afford the right to speak as Front Benches in Government or Opposition.[5][6]

While the practice of a parliamentary shadow cabinets or frontbenches is not widespread in Germany, party leaders have often formed boards of experts and advisors ("teams of experts", or Kompetenzteam, in CDU/CSU and SPD parlance; alternate "top team", or Spitzenteam, in Alliance '90/The Greens parlance).

List of Shadow Cabinets

Australia
New South Wales
The Bahamas
Canada
  • Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet of the 41st Parliament of Canada (New Democratic Party) (Thomas Mulcair)
Ontario
France
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Lithuania
Malaysia
New Zealand
  • Frontbench Team of Phil Goff
  • Frontbench Team of David Shearer
Poland
Romania
  • Shadow Cabinet (Romanian: Cabinetul din umbră)
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Thailand
Ukraine
United Kingdom
Scotland
Wales

See also

References

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