Do dominant leaders erode the liberal-democratic balance of powers? Is this a concern for Australia? Have Australian PMs become far more powerful over time or has prime ministerial authority been contingent on cyclical opportunity, contrary to perceptions of linear growth? We lack evidence: despite major studies of individual PMs, cabinet government, and the bureaucracy, no study of the office s development exists, nor is there a comparative analysis of Australian prime ministerships. This project offers a systematic basis for assessing the evolving capacities of the office to facilitate or constrain individual PMs; and for understanding the interplay between institutions, individuals and events shaping the office s evolution since 1901.