Tony Abbott is NOT “the Prime Minister-Elect”

Tony Abbott is NOT “the Prime Minister-Elect”

It has been all over news sources over the past few days that Mr Abbott is now the “prime minister elect”.  The term “-elect” indicates that a person has been elected to a position but is yet to fulfill formality requirements (eg swearing in).  However Mr Abbott has not been elected to the position of Prime Minister.  Rather, he’s the “Member for Warringah”-elect.   This is because citizens don’t elect Prime Ministers in Australia.  Rather, after the elections the person who can command the confidence of a majority of the Lower House can approach the Governor General to be appointed to that position.  While Mr Abbott will no doubt be able to do this, that only makes him the Prime Minister presumptive or similar (Wikipedia suggests -designate).

I wonder whether this is a by product of US reporting (where, by the way President-elect is an entirely appropriate description)?


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