Minister for Health and Ageing (Australia)

Minister for Health and Ageing (Australia)
Minister for Health and Ageing
Nicola Roxon

since 3 December 2007
Style The Honourable
Appointer Prime Minister of Australia
Inaugural holder Robert Best
Formation 1908

The Minister for Health and Ageing is a portfolio in the Government of Australia with the responsibility for national health policy. The current Minister for Health and Ageing is Nicola Roxon. The ministry is administered through the Department of Health and Ageing.[1]



Under Secta ion 51(ix) of the Australian Constitution, the Commonwealth Parliament had the power to "make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to Quarantine." This was the only area of public health in which the Commonwealth had authority at the time of Federation. The federal parliament did not use this power until the proclamation of the Quarantine Act 1908. The control of the administration of quarantine was under the administration of the Minister for Trade and Customs from 1908 until 1921. This Minister's responsibilities in health matters increased as the Australian Government took a greater role in the provision of public health services during the early 20th century, in particular after the First World War.

A separate Department of Health was established on 10 March 1921, and the position of Minister for Health was then formally created. The role of the Department of Health has continued to expand and further federal responsibility for health was authorised by the passage, at referendum, of a constitutional amendment in 1946.

Section 51 (xxiiiA) of the Constitution now states the Commonwealth (federal) Parliament has the power to

make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth [of Australia] with respect to the provision of maternity allowances, widows' pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services (but not so as to authorise any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances.

As a result of this amendment the federal government now has a key role in financing and providing medical services through entities such as Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

From 1972-1975 under Doug Everingham, the Ministry was named the "Ministry of Helth" in some contexts due to Everingham's support of Spelling Reform.[2][3][4]

List of Ministers for Health

Minister Party affiliation Period Prime
Ministerial Title
Robert Best Commonwealth Liberal Party 1908–1910 Deakin
Minister for Trade and Customs
Frank Tudor Australian Labor Party 1910–1913 Fisher
Littleton Groom Commonwealth Liberal Party 1913–1914 Cook
Frank Tudor Australian Labor Party 1914–1915 Fisher
1915–1916 Hughes
Billy Hughes 1916
William Archibald National Labor Party 1916–1917
Jens Jensen Nationalist 1917–1918
William Watt 1918–1919
Walter Massy-Greene 1919–1921
Minister for Health
Austin Chapman 1923–1924 Bruce
Littleton Groom 1924
Herbert Pratten 1924–1925
Sir Neville Howse 1925–1927
Stanley Bruce 1927–1928
Sir Neville Howse 1928–1929
Frank Anstey Australian Labor Party 1929–1931 Scullin
John McNeill 1931–1932
Charles Marr United Australia Party 1932–1934 Lyons
Billy Hughes 1934–1935
Joseph Lyons 1935–1936
Billy Hughes 1936–1937
(Sir) Earle Page Country Party 1937–1938
Harry Foll United Australia Party 1938–1939
1939 Page
Sir Frederick Stewart 1939–1940 Menzies
Harold Thorby Country Party 1940
Sir Frederick Stewart United Australia Party 1940–1941
1941 Fadden
Jack Holloway Australian Labor Party 1941–1943 Curtin
James Fraser 1943–1945
1945 Forde
1945–1946 Chifley
Nick McKenna 1946–1949
Sir Earle Page Country Party 1949–1956 Menzies
Donald Cameron Liberal Party 1956–1961
Harrie Wade Country Party 1961–1964
Reginald Swartz Liberal Party 1964–1966
Jim Forbes 1966–1971 Holt
1967–1968 McEwen
1968–1971 Gorton
1971 McMahon
Ivor Greenwood 1971
Sir Ken Anderson 1971–1972
Lance Barnard Australian Labor Party 1972 Whitlam
Doug Everingham 1972–1975
Minister for Helth (or Health)[note 1]
Don Chipp Liberal Party 1975 Fraser
Minister for Health
Ralph Hunt National Country Party 1975–1979
Michael MacKellar Liberal Party 1979–1982
Peter Baume 1982
Jim Carlton 1982–1983
Neal Blewett Australian Labor Party 1983–1987 Hawke
Minister for Community Services and Health
Brian Howe 1990–1991
1991–1993 Keating
Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services
Graham Richardson 1993–1994
Minister for Health
Carmen Lawrence 1994–1996
Minister for Human Services and Health
Michael Wooldridge Liberal Party 1996–1998 Howard
Minister for Health and Family Services
Minister for Health and Aged Care
Kay Patterson 2001–2003
Minister for Health and Ageing
Tony Abbott 2003–2007
Nicola Roxon Australian Labor Party 2007–2010 Rudd
2010- Gillard


  1. ^ Everingham was a supporter of Spelling Reform (see above).


External links

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