Some members of the 1965 Menzies Cabinet.

Cabinet is the key decision-making body of the Australian Government. Comprising the Prime Minister and senior government ministers, the Cabinet has been a key part of the Australian political system since Federation in 1901.

Cabinet decisions are given legal effect by their formal ratification by the Executive Council, which comprises all ministers, with the Governor-General presiding.

Cabinet records represent the top of a three-tier system of Australian Government recordkeeping. The other two levels are the files of the Cabinet Office and the records of government departments. The public can view Cabinet records once they reach the open period.

Cabinet records reflect decisions made at the highest levels of government. Yet they also reveal how the Cabinet has been concerned with issues affecting the states, local communities and individuals, as well as with those affecting the nation as a whole, its international relations and its defence. The decisions recorded in Cabinet records have profoundly shaped the social, cultural and political life of Australia.

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    Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019