Political advisors to heads of government occupy such a privileged sphere of influence that their role is a source of consternation among democratic idealists. Our interviews with advisors to prime ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom inform a small body of comparative literature about political advising in the Commonwealth. We find that first ministers consider input from many advisors and therefore the counsel of any one advisor is limited. Further research is needed to understand the extent to which these agents project the power of the executive office and make decisions on the principal’s behalf.

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