Leader of the Opposition
|Leader of the Opposition|
|Style||The Right Honourable|
|Appointer||Members of the Official Opposition|
|Term length||While leader of the largest party not in government|
The Leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition in is the politician who leads the largest non-governing party on the floor of the House of Assembly. Where a coalition exists, the leader of the largest party is considered the Leader of the Opposition.
The office of Opposition Leader can be traced back to the emerge of the party system in the House of Assembly in the 1890s. With the formation of the Liberal Party in 1890, a co-ordinated opposition to the government existed for the first time.
Function and role
The chief function of the Opposition Leader is present himself and the Official Opposition as an alternative Prime Minister and government to the elected government of the day. In this role, the Opposition Leader is responsible for presenting alternative policies to those of the government, selecting members of the opposition to be shadow ministers, leading the Shadow Cabinet, acting as the chief opposition spokesman, chairing meetings in which the opposition discusses policies and examines bills, and ultimately leading the opposition in a general election.
In important matters, the Leader of the Opposition may be consulted and kept informed of events and intelligence that is considered to be of great or significant national importance. Reports from the Inspector-General of Intelligence, the Secret Service Bureau, and the National Security Intelligence Bureau are provided to the Leader of the Opposition, just as they are provided to members of the Security and Intelligence Committee of Cabinet.
A Leader of the Opposition is entitled to the same levels of pay and privileges as a Member of the Executive Council. The Leader of the Opposition ranks amongst the gentry in the order of precedence, after Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the Guelphian Order of Merit and before members of the Executive Council who are not already ranked higher in precedence as peers, royalty or members of Cabinet.
On the floor of the House of Assembly, the Opposition Leader is entitled to sit at the table and directly across from the Prime Minister. He is also given certain additional rights under parliamentary standing orders, such as extended time limits for speeches. Furthermore, if the Prime Minister makes a speech to the chamber, the Leader of the Opposition usually receives the right of reply, which means being given equal time to speak on the issue.
References and notes
- The salary of a Opposition Leader is the same as that of a Minister of State. As of the opening of the 56th Parliament, all Senators and MHAs receive a salary of approximately £45 per sitting day plus a per diem amount for expenses. In addition, the Opposition Leader receives an additional salary of £4,278.