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Ministers are members of the federal government who have been given an area of responsibility for how Australia is run. This area of responsibility is known as a portfolio. Examples of federal ministerial portfolios include health, environment, finance, education, defence, foreign affairs, trade, community welfare, and immigration.
Most ministers are in charge of a government department or assist in the administration of a department, such as the Department of Defence, Department of Health or Treasury. They assist ministers in developing government policy and implementing laws. Ministers work with their department, community organisations and professional associations to prepare new laws and change existing laws which need updating or improving.
When a minister introduces a bill (proposed law) into the Parliament, they must explain why the law is necessary and how it will solve a particular problem. If the bill becomes a law, the minister and their department are responsible for putting the law into action.