The Prime Ministers' Craft: Why Some Succeed and Others Fail in Westminster Systems

ISBN : 9780199646203

Patrick Weller
288 ページ
156 x 234 mm

Two images of prime ministers fill the headlines. The first stresses how dominant they are: cabinet government has been replaced by prime ministerial government. The second speculates on when they will fall, as they so often do. How can the picture of both the all-powerful and the weak be consistent? This book seeks to explain how prime ministers work and what are the conditions that allows both conditions to prevail, depending on the skills of the prime ministers. Comparing four parliamentary systems (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom) over the past 40 years, it examines the way that prime minister win and keep power, and the means by which they choose to run their governments. It is a study in the exercise of power, in the importance of maintaining links with all parts of the political system and, above all, in the craft of being prime minister.


1 Prime Ministers: Conundrums and Dilemmas
2 Getting There, Staying There
3 The Job: Assumptions, Visions, and Workloads
4 The Inner Circle: Prime Ministers and Their Advisers
5 Prime Ministers and Their Ministers
6 Prime Ministers and Cabinet Government
7 Prime Ministers, Party, and Parliament
8 Prime Ministers and the Public
9 Prime Ministers as National Leaders
10 Conclusion: Why Prime Ministers Succeed (Or Not)


Patrick Weller is Professor Emeritus, Centre for Governance and Public Policy, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University. He is the author or co-author of some 20 books on Australian politics, comparative politics, and international organization, including First among Equals (Allen and Unwin,1985), Malcolm Fraser: Prime Minister (Penguin, 1989) Cabinet Government in Australia 1900 to 2006 ( 2007), Westminster Compared (co-authored with R.A.W. Rhodes and John Wanna, 2009), and Kevin Rudd: Twice Prime Minister (Melbourne, University Press, 2014).