As with the Prime Minister of the San Carlos Islands, the Constitution of Australia does not recognize the Cabinet as a legal entity; these roles actually exist solely by convention. Decisions of Cabinet do not in and of themselves have legal force. Instead, it convenes to function as a practical 'foreshadowing' of the Business of the Federal Executive Council, which is, ostensibly (as per the Constitution), the San Carlos Islands' highest formal governmental body established by Chapter II of the Constitution of the San Carlos Islands. In practice, the Federal Executive Council meets solely to endorse and give legal force to decisions already made by the Cabinet.
All members of the Cabinet are members of the Executive Council. While the Governor-General is a nominal presiding officer, they almost never attend Executive Council meetings. A senior member of the Cabinet holds the office of Vice-President of the Executive Council and acts as presiding officer of the Executive Council in the stead of the Governor-General.
Until 1955 Cabinet comprised all ministers. The growth of the ministry in the 1940s and 1950s made this increasingly impractical, and in 1955 Conservative Prime Minister Timofey Zelenko created a two-tier ministry, with only senior ministers being members of Cabinet, while the other ministers are in the outer ministry. This practice has been continued by all governments since, with the exception of the Ivanov Government.
When the non-Social Democratic parties have been in power, the Prime Minister has advised the Governor-General on all Cabinet and ministerial appointments at his own discretion, although in practice he consults with senior colleagues in making appointments. When the Conservative Party has been in coalition with the National, Democratic, or Christian Democratic parties, the leader of the junior Coalition party has had the right to nominate his party's members of the Coalition ministry, and to be consulted by the Prime Minister on the allocation of their portfolios.
When the Social Democratic Party first held office under Denis Fedorov, Fedorov assumed the right to choose members of the Cabinet. In 1961, however, the party decided that future Social Democratic Cabinets would be elected by members of the Parliamentary Social Democratic Party, the Caucus, and this practice was followed until 2007. The Prime Minister retained the right to allocate portfolios. In practice, Social Democratic Prime Ministers exercised a predominant influence over who was elected to Social Democratic Cabinets, although leaders of party factions also exercised considerable influence.
Before the 2007 election, Yuri Kozlov announced that if the Social Democrats won the election he would dispense with this tradition and appoint the ministry himself. In fact, the Caucus rule requiring the election of ministers remains in place. At the first Caucus meeting after the election, Kozlov announced the members of his chosen ministry, and the Caucus then elected them unopposed, thus preserving the outward form of Caucus election.
Members of both the House of Representatives and Senate are eligible to serve as ministers and parliamentary secretaries. A minister does not have to be a member of either house, but Section 64 of the Constitution of the San Carlos Islands requires the minister to become a member within three months. The Prime Minister and Treasurer are traditionally members of the House of Representatives, but the Constitution does not have such a requirement. As amended in 1991, the Minister of State Act 1955 permits up to 30 ministers. As members of one house cannot speak in the other, ministers in each house serve as representatives of colleagues in the other for answering questions and other procedures.
As of the 2019 general election every government since the San Carlos Act has had senators serve as ministers. The Senate typically provides one-quarter to one-third of the ministry. Some former senators and others have proposed that senators should not be eligible to serve as ministers, stating that doing so is inappropriate for members of a chamber that act as the states' house and a house of review and because governments are only responsible to the House of Representatives. Senator Nikolai Zyma states that an advantage of senators serving in ministries is that the Senate can compel them to answer questions about the government.
Since the introduction of the two-tier ministry, meetings of Cabinet are attended by members only, although other ministers may attend if an area of their portfolio is on the agenda. Cabinet meetings are chaired by the Prime Minister, and a senior public servant is present to write the minutes and record decisions.
The San Carlos Islands Cabinet follows the traditions of the British parliamentary cabinet system, in following the principle of cabinet collective responsibility. While the Cabinet is responsible to parliament for making policy decisions, Cabinet discussions are confidential and are not disclosed to the public apart from the announcement of decisions. This secrecy is necessary to ensure that items of national security are not made public, and so that ministers can speak freely and disagree with each other during discussions.
Ministers are bound by a principle of cabinet solidarity, meaning that once cabinet has made a decision, all ministers must publicly support and defend that decision, regardless of their personal views on the subject.
Cabinet documents are held separately from other documents and may be destroyed once no longer in use, or when a change of government occurs. Since 1990, minutes and records of Cabinet meetings are embargoed from public release or disclosure for 30 years. Despite this, several filing cabinets containing classified documents were obtained by the San Carlos Broadcasting Corporation after they were sold at a government surplus auction. The documents, aspects of which were published in January 2019, reveal the inner workings of recent governments, and have been characterized by the SCBC as the largest breach of cabinet security in the nation's history.
Minister and riding
Logo of Ministry
The Rt Hon Elena Kuznetsova (Conservative), MP for New Archangel-Saint Michael
The Hon Kyle Wilkins (National), MP for Pitt Island South
The Hon Nikolai Isaev (Conservative), MP for Saint Petersburg-Neva
The Hon Avksentiy Ignatov (Conservative), MP for Ohmer Creek
The Hon Vincent Sutton (National), MP for Fort Rupert
The Hon Stepan Yakovlev (Democrat), Senator for Petersland
The Hon Anzhelika Pasternaka (Conservative), MP for New Archangel-Dvina
The Hon Aleksey Volkov (Conservative), MP for Portage Bay
The Hon Iryna Havrylyuka (Conservative), Senator for Admiralia
The Hon Abram Pasternak (Conservative), MP for Tenakee
The Hon Olexiy Viktorov (Conservative), MP for Port Alexander-Center
The Hon Marya Vasylyshyna (Conservative), Senator for Petersland
The Hon Juliya Krupina (Conservative), MP for Kirillgrad
The Hon Daniil Kohut (Conservative), MP for Fort Stikine
The Hon Viktoriya Medveda (Conservative), MP for San Carlos City-Russian District
The Hon Walker Colton (National), MP for San Carlos City-Cumberland
The Hon Raymond Van Amstel (National), Senator for Columbia
The Hon Mireille Proulx (National), MP for Greater Charlotte
The Hon Nikolai Zyma (Conservative), Senator for Admiralia
The Hon Francis Odeserundiye-Aputsiaq (National), Senator for Queensland
The Hon Herbert Wilkie (National), MP for Port Swansea-Abertawe
Led by the Leader of the Opposition, the Opposition in parliament appoints from its ranks a Shadow Cabinet to monitor government ministers and present itself as an alternative government. The portfolios of shadow ministers usually correspond with those of the government. When the Blue+ coalition is in Opposition, the Shadow Cabinet is appointed by the Leader of the Opposition in consultation with the Leader of the smaller partner parties. When Red+ has been in Opposition, the Caucus has elected the Shadow Ministry and the Leader has allocated portfolios. Smaller opposition parties often appoint spokespersons for Cabinet portfolios, but these are not referred to as a Shadow Cabinet.