The Shadow Ministry is composed of senior Members of the Opposition in the Parliament who occupy the Opposition front benches in either the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council. They are allocated ‘shadow’ portfolios to match those of the Government.
A Shadow Minister’s role is to scrutinise, appraise and criticise policies and actions of a particular Government Minister and government departments under his or her responsibility. Shadow Ministry members are the Opposition’s main spokespeople in Parliament and to the public through the media. Unlike Ministers, Shadow Ministers may also serve on Parliamentary Committees.
In the Western Australian Parliament ‘Shadow Ministries’ date back to 1974 but they do not have official status. Only party Leaders, Deputy Leaders and party Whips receive an extra salary allowance for their roles.