Minority party government and independent MPs

a comparative analysis of Australia and Ireland

Glenn Kefford, Liam Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Minority government is becoming more common. With support declining for traditional parties and increasing for anti-establishment movements, government formation is becoming increasingly difficult in many jurisdictions. While minority government has been the subject of much normative debate, one type of minority arrangement that has not attracted much attention is that involving independent parliamentarians. Government in most countries tends to be party government, but in this article, we examine the experience in Australia and Ireland of independents supporting minority government. We assess the performance of these administrations in terms of their stability, their productivity and their electoral performance. We find that, contrary to expectation, minority government involving independents is not a recipe for instability nor necessarily results in an efficient parliament.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-107
Number of pages19
JournalParliamentary Affairs
Issue number1
Early online date23 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020



  • political parties
  • Australia
  • Ireland
  • parliament

Cite this