Confidence and supply

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In a parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system, confidence and supply are required for a government to hold power. A confidence and supply agreement is an agreement that a minor party or independent member of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation (supply) votes by voting in favour or abstaining.[1][2]


In most parliamentary democracies, members of a parliament can propose a Motion of Confidence or Motion of No Confidence in the government or executive. The results of such motions show how much support the government currently has in parliament. Should a motion of confidence fail, or a motion of no confidence pass, the government will usually either resign and allow other politicians to form a new government, or call an election.


Most democracies require an appropriation bill or something similar to be passed by parliament in order for a government to receive money to enact its policies. If an appropriation bill fails, the government loses control of the money supply, and is therefore virtually powerless. The failure of a supply bill thus has the same effect as the failure of a confidence motion. In early modern England, the withholding of funds was one of parliament's few ways of controlling the monarch.

Examples of confidence and supply deals

New Zealand

John Key's National Party administration formed a minority government in 2008 thanks to a confidence and supply agreement with the ACT, United Future and the Maori Party.[3] A similar arrangement in 2005 had led to Helen Clark's Labour Party forming a coalition government with the Progressive Party, with support on confidence and supply from New Zealand First and United Future.


Julia Gillard's Australian Labor Party administration formed a minority government in 2010 thanks to a confidence and supply agreement with the Greens and three independent MPs.[4]

External links


  1. James Cook, Governments, coalitions and border politics, BBC News, 7 May 2010
  2. Why the PM is safe in No 10 for the moment, The Independent, 8 May 2010
  3. Bryant, Nick (7 May 2010). "Lessons from New Zealand in art of coalition building". BBC.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Rodgers, Emma (7 September 2010). "Labor clings to power". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>