The Principals of the Council are the Parliamentary Leaders of the four main political parties in the Federal Parliament. The Principals are:
- The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia
- The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Australian Labor Party
- The Hon Michael McCormack MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of The Nationals
- Senator Richard Di Natale, Leader of the Australian Greens
|The Hon Alan Ferguson
Chairman of the Australian Political Exchange Council
(Appointed March 2014)
Members (in order of appointment)
Senator Dean Smith
The Hon Michael Danby
Mr Noah Carroll
Senator Janet Rice
Mr Andrew Hirst
|The Hon Mark Coulton MP
Member for Parkes
(Appointed September 2018)
The Minister with portfolio responsibility for the political exchange program is the Special Minister of State.
History of the Council
In 1981, a program for political exchanges was established by the then Prime Minister, the late Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH, with the support of the leaders of the major Parliamentary political parties, to arrange visits of young political leaders between Australia and other countries. An Interim Committee was created with the leaders of the major federal Parliamentary parties as its Principals.
With the agreement of the Principals, the Interim Committee became the Australian Political Exchange Committee in August 1983 and subsequently the Australian Political Exchange Council in September 1991.
The first exchange took place in June 1982 when a delegation from Australia, led by Mr James Porter MP (then Member for Barker) travelled to the United States of America. This was reciprocated in November 1982 when a delegation from the United States of America, led jointly by Mr T Ryan Jr (Republican) and Mr R Spencer (Democrat), travelled to Australia.
Since that time the Council has established a number of successful exchange programs and continues to explore further opportunities that may benefit Australia's next generation of political leaders.