First Whitlam Ministry

The First Whitlam Ministry, often known as the "two-man Ministry" or the "Duumvirate", was the forty-eighth Australian Commonwealth ministry, and ran from 5 to 19 December 1972.[1]

This Ministry, the smallest in Australian history, was sworn in pending the election of a full Ministry by the Australian Labor Party caucus. Longstanding precedent called for the outgoing Prime Minister--in this case, William McMahon--to stay on as a caretaker until the final results were released on 15 December. However, Labor leader Gough Whitlam was unwilling to wait that long, since the result was beyond doubt. He thus had himself and his deputy leader, Lance Barnard, sworn in as an interim two-man government. Whitlam and Barnard held 27 portfolios between them until the full ministry could be chosen.

Portfolio Minister

Prime Minister
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for Customs and Excise
Minister for Trade and Industry
Minister for Shipping and Transport
Minister for Education and Science
Minister for Civil Aviation
Minister for Housing
Minister for Works
Minister for External Territories
Minister for Environment, Aborigines and the Arts

Hon Gough Whitlam, QC MP

Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Defence
Minister for Supply
Minister for the Army
Minister for the Navy
Minister for Air
Minister for Labour and National Service
Minister for Social Services
Minister for Immigration
Minister for the Interior
Minister for Primary Industry
Minister for Repatriation
Minister for Health
Minister for National Development

Hon Lance Barnard, MP


  1. "Ministries and Cabinets". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
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