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In the period preceding an election, the Australian Government assumes a caretaker role. The caretaker period begins at the time the House of Representatives is dissolved and continues until the election result is clear or, if there is a change of government, until the new government is appointed.
During the caretaker period there are specific requirements for the Australian Government, specified in the Caretaker Conventions, including:
- not to make major policy decisions
- to defer significant appointments
- to avoid entering major contracts
- to defer international negotiations or visits
- to avoid Australian Public Service involvement in election activities.
Agencies are required to undertake additional steps when managing agency and ministerial websites during caretaker to ensure the management of these sites are consistent with the Caretaker Conventions.
Section 6. 2 of the Guidance on Caretaker Conventions covers internet and electronic communications, including:
- ensuring that agency funded websites are not used to support any particular political party
- existing materials that may be retained on websites and materials that may be added
- linking from websites
- maintenance of ministerial websites during caretaker periods.
If further advice is required in relation to the caretaker period, departments and agencies should contact the Government Division, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on (02) 6271 5399.
Last updated: 21 July 2015