Cabinet is the principal decision making body of the Government. It consists of all Ministers of the Crown and the Cabinet Secretary. The Premier, as the leader of the Government, is the Chairperson of Cabinet. Cabinet is a formal meeting of Ministers but has no legal powers or status. For example, there is no reference to Cabinet contained within Victoria’s Constitution. Its decisions have no formal force until they are either put into effect by its individual members as Ministers, or until they are endorsed by the Governor in Council or until legislative proposals are enacted by Parliament. However, by virtue of the authority that Members of Parliament accord to Cabinet, it is the vehicle through which the decisions of the Executive are determined.
Cabinet considers all important questions of policy and administration and the Government’s legislative program. Cabinet decisions are collective decisions and are binding on all Ministers as government policy. Collective responsibility is supported by the strict confidentiality attached to Cabinet documents and to discussions in the Cabinet Room. Cabinet and Cabinet Committees are forums in which Ministers, while working towards a collective position, are able to discuss proposals and a variety of options and views with complete freedom. The openness and frankness of discussions in the Cabinet Room are protected by the strict observance of confidentiality.