Positions within Parliament come with a range of titles which must be used when formally addressing the person holding that position. While these follow similar patterns, the use of such titles varies from State to State. The five common titles of the Federal Parliament, and when to use them, are outlined below.
Individuals elected to the House of Representatives receive the post-nominal MP (meaning Member of Parliament) while they hold their position in Parliament. The post-nominal should be included in the address for envelopes and letters (Mr John Doe MP) but not in the first line of the letter or email or when speaking directly to them (Mr Doe).
Individuals elected to the Senate receive the title of Senator while they hold their position in Parliament. The title replaces Mr/Ms on envelopes (Senator John Doe) and should be used by itself in the first line of the letter or email or when speaking directly to them (Senator). By definition, a Senator cannot also be a Member of the House of Representatives, so you should never see Senator and MP together (Senator John Doe MP).
Minister and Assistant Ministers
Ministers and Assistant Ministers can be appointed from either the House of Representatives or the Senate. The title (Minister or Assistant Minister) should be used in the first line of a letter or email or when speaking directly to them. It is not included in their name on an envelope, but their full Ministerial title should be used as their position in the second line of the address block.
When writing to someone who has a Ministerial position, it is also important to consider whether you are writing to them in their capacity as a Minister or as the representative for their electorate. For example, if you are writing to the Minister for Education about an issue in their electorate (such as parking) you would instead use their MP title and electoral office address.
Example writing about education:
The Hon. John Doe
Minister for Education
Example writing about parking in their electorate:
The Hon. John Doe MP
Member for Electorate
[Electoral office address]
Ministers and Assistant Ministers are appointed to the Executive Council and this brings with it the title of ‘Honourable’ which they usually hold even once they are no longer in the position, for example as a result of a change of government. The title is usually shortened to ‘The Hon.’ except when formally and verbally introducing them, such as at an event. On letters, The Hon. replaces Mr/Ms for individuals in the House of Representatives (The Hon. John Doe MP) and follows Senator for individuals in the Senate (Senator the Hon. John Doe) in the address block. It is not used in the first line of a letter or email or when speaking directly to them.
Prime Minister/Speaker and other prominent positions
A number of prominent positions receive specific titles which usually follow the same pattern as Ministers titles. The title of Prime Minister, just like other Ministers, is included as the individual’s position in the address block and replaces their name in the first line of a letter or email or when addressing them directly. This also applies to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate but is preceded by Mr/Ms in the first line of a letter or email or when speaking directly to them (Mr Speaker/Mr President). The Prime Minister is part of the Executive Council and therefore receives the ‘honourable’ title, and it has become common practice to also give this title to the Speaker and President whilst in office.
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