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The governor-general of Australia is the representative of the
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun) In Mod ...
, currently Queen
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke of York, Duke and Duchess of York (later Ki ...

Elizabeth II
, in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
.Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australiaofficial website
Retrieved 1 January 2015.
The governor-general is appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of government ministers. The governor-general has formal presidency over the Federal Executive Council and is
commander-in-chief A commander-in-chief or supreme commander is the person who exercises supreme command and control Image:CIC-USS-CarlVinson-2001.jpg, A watchstander at her station in the combat information center of USS Carl Vinson, USS ''Carl Vinson'' in the ...
of the
Australian Defence Force The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is the Armed forces, military organisation responsible for the defence of the Australia, Commonwealth of Australia and its national interests. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Army, R ...
. The functions of the governor-general include appointing ministers, judges, and ambassadors; giving royal assent to
legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolling, enacting, or promulgating Promulgation is the formal proclamation or the declaration that a new statute, statutory or administrative law is enacted after its final Enactment of a bill, approv ...
passed by
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws and overseeing the ...

parliament
; issuing writs for election; and bestowing Australian honours.Official websitethe Governor-General's role
Retrieved 1 January 2015.
In general, the governor-general observes the conventions of the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
and
responsible government Responsible government is a conception of a system of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normall ...
, maintaining a political neutrality, and has almost always acted only on the advice of the prime minister or other ministers or, in certain cases, parliament. The governor-general also has a ceremonial role: hosting events at either of the two official residences
Government House Government House is the name of many of the residences of governors-general, governors and lieutenant-governor A lieutenant governor, lieutenant-governor, or vice governor is a high officer of state, whose precise role and rank vary by jurisdictio ...

Government House
in the capital,
Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the List of citie ...

Canberra
, and Admiralty House in
Sydney Sydney ( ; Dharug The Darug or Dharug people are an Aboriginal Australian people, who share strong ties of kinship and, in Colonial Australia, pre-colonial times, survived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans, scattered throughou ...

Sydney
and travelling throughout Australia to open conferences, attend services and commemorations, and generally provide encouragement to individuals and groups who are contributing to their communities. When travelling abroad, the governor-general is seen as the representative of Australia, and of the Queen of Australia. The governor-general is supported by a staff (of 80 in 2018) headed by the
official secretary to the governor-general of Australia The official secretary to the governor-general of Australia and his staff provide support to the Governor-General of Australia to enable the governor-general to carry out their constitutional, statutory, ceremonial and public duties. Until 1903, ...
. A governor-general is not appointed for a specific term, but is generally expected to serve for five years subject to a possible short extension. Since 1 July 2019, the governor-general has been General
David Hurley General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral ...

David Hurley
. From Federation in 1901 until 1965, 11 out of the 15 governors-general were British aristocrats; they included four
baron Baron is a rank of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the ...

baron
s, three
viscount A viscount ( , for male) or viscountess (, for female) is a Title#Aristocratic titles, title used in certain European countries for a nobility, noble of varying status. In many countries a viscount, and its historical equivalents, was a non-her ...
s, three
earl Earl () is a rank of the nobility in Britain. The title originates in the Old English word ''eorl'', meaning "a man of noble birth or rank". The word is cognate with the Scandinavia Scandinavia, Sami languages, Sami: ''Skadesi-suolu''/''S ...

earl
s, and one royal duke. Since then, all but one of the governors-general have been Australian-born; the exception,
Sir Ninian Stephen Sir Ninian Martin Stephen (15 June 1923 – 29 October 2017) was an Australian judge who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 20th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1982 to 1989. He was previously a Justice of the Hig ...
, arrived in Australia as a teenager. Only one governor-general,
Dame Quentin Bryce Dame Quentin Alice Louise Bryce, (née Strachan; born 23 December 1942) is an Australian academic who served as the 25th Governor-General of Australia from 2008 to 2014. She is the List of elected and appointed female heads of state, first woman ...

Dame Quentin Bryce
(2008–2014), has been a woman. None has been of non-European or of
Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular ...
or
Torres Strait Islander Torres Strait Islanders () are the Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular pla ...
background.


Method of appointment

The governor-general is formally appointed by the monarch of Australia, in terms of
letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle and formerly the capital of the duchy of Lorraine ** Arrondiss ...
issued by the monarch at some time during their reign and counter-signed by the then
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpar ...
. When a new governor-general is to be appointed, the current prime minister recommends a name to the monarch, who by convention accepts that recommendation. The monarch then permits the recommendation to be publicly announced, usually several months before the end of the existing governor-general's term. During these months, the person recommended is referred to as the ''governor-general-designate''. After receiving their commission, the new governor-general takes an
Oath of Allegiance An oath of allegiance is an oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It sha ...
to the monarch and an
Oath of Office An oath of office is an oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American En ...
. These oaths are administered by the
chief justice of Australia The Chief Justice of Australia is the presiding justice of the High Court of Australia The High Court of Australia is the highest court in the Judiciary of Australia#Australian court hierarchy, Australian court hierarchy and the final appell ...
or another senior judge. Traditionally, the ceremony takes place in the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
chamber.


History

In 1919, Prime Minister
Billy Hughes William Morris Hughes, (25 September 1862 – 28 October 1952), was an Australian politician who served as the List of prime ministers of Australia by time in office, 7th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1915 to 1923. He is best kn ...

Billy Hughes
sent a memorandum to the Colonial Office in which he requested "a real and effective voice in the selection of the King's representative". He further proposed that the
Dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland ...

Dominion
s be able to nominate their own candidates and that "the field of selection should not exclude citizens of the Dominion itself". The memorandum met with strong opposition within the Colonial Office and was dismissed by
Lord Milner Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner, (23 March 185413 May 1925) was a British statesman A statesman or stateswoman is usually a politician A politician is a person active in party politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities t ...
, the Colonial Secretary; no response was given. The following year, as Ronald Munro Ferguson's term was about to expire, Hughes cabled the Colonial Office and asked that the appointment be made in accordance with the memorandum. To mollify Hughes, Milner offered him a choice between three candidates. After consulting his cabinet he chose
Henry Forster, 1st Baron Forster Henry William Forster, 1st Baron Forster, (31 January 1866 – 15 January 1936) was a British politician who served as the seventh Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1920 to 1925. He had previously been a government minister under A ...
. In 1925, under Prime Minister
Stanley Bruce Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1st Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, (15 April 1883 – 25 August 1967) was the List of prime ministers of Australia by time in office, 8th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1923 to 1929. He made wide-rangin ...

Stanley Bruce
, the same practice was followed for the appointment of Forster's successor Lord Stonehaven, with the Australian government publicly stating that his name "had been submitted, with others, to the Commonwealth ministry, who had selected him". The prime minister now advises the monarch to appoint their nominee. This has been the procedure since November 1930, when
James Scullin James Henry Scullin (18 September 1876 – 28 January 1953) was an Australian Labor Party politician and the ninth Prime Minister of Australia. Scullin led Labor to government at the 1929 election. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 The Wa ...
's proposed appointment of Sir
Isaac Isaacs Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs (6 August 1855 – 11 February 1948) was an Australian lawyer, politician, and judge who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, ninth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1931 to 1936. He had pre ...
was fiercely opposed by the British government. This was not because of any lack of regard for Isaacs personally, but because the British government considered that the choice of Governors-General was, since the 1926 Imperial Conference, a matter for the monarch's decision alone. (However, it became very clear in a conversation between Scullin and King
George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A co ...

George V
's private secretary, Lord Stamfordham, on 11 November 1930, that this was merely the official reason for the objection, with the real reason being that an Australian, no matter how highly regarded personally, was not considered appropriate to be a governor-general.) Scullin was equally insistent that the monarch must act on the relevant prime minister's direct advice (the practice until 1926 was that
Dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland ...

Dominion
prime ministers advised the monarch indirectly, through the British government, which effectively had a veto over any proposal it did not agree with). Scullin cited the precedents of the
prime minister of South Africa The prime minister of South Africa ( af, Eerste Minister van Suid-Afrika) was the head of government in South Africa between 1910 and 1984. History of the office The position of Prime Minister was established in 1910, when the Union of Sout ...
, J. B. M. Hertzog, who had recently insisted on his choice of the Earl of Clarendon as governor-general of that country, and the selection of an Irishman as
governor-general of the Irish Free State The Governor-General of the Irish Free State ( ga, Seanascal Shaorstát Éireann) was the official representative of the sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Ol ...
. Both of these appointments had been agreed to despite British government objections. Despite these precedents, George V remained reluctant to accept Scullin's recommendation of Isaacs and asked him to consider Field Marshal Sir William Birdwood. However, Scullin stood firm, saying he would be prepared to fight a general election on the issue of whether an Australian should be prevented from becoming governor-general because he was Australian. On 29 November, the King agreed to Isaacs's appointment, but made it clear that he did so only because he felt he had no option. (Lord Stamfordham had complained that Scullin had "put a gun to the King's head".) This right not only to advise the monarch directly, but also to expect that advice to be accepted, was soon taken up by all the other Dominion prime ministers. This, among other things, led to the
Statute of Westminster 1931 The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom In the United Kingdom an Act of Parliament is primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and ...
and to the formal separation of the Crowns of the Dominions. Now, the Queen of Australia is generally bound by constitutional convention to accept the advice of the Australian prime minister and state premiers about Australian and state constitutional matters, respectively.


Styles and titles of governors-general

Governors-general have during their tenure the style ''His/Her
Excellency Excellency is an honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term "honorific" is used in a more specific sense to refer to a ...
the Honourable The prefix The Honourable (or The Honorable in the United States and the Philippines), abbreviated to The Hon., Hon., or The Hon'ble, is an honorific Style (manner of address), style that is used before the names of certain classes of people ...
'' and their
spouses File:Holy Matrimony.JPG, A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other in a marriage, civil union, or common-law marriage. The term is Gender neutrality, gender neutral, whereas a male spouse is a husband and a female spouse is a wife. Alt ...
have the style ''His/Her Excellency''. Since May 2013, the style used by a former governor-general is ''the Honourable''; it was at the same time retrospectively granted for life to all previous holders of the office.The title 'the Honourable' for Governors-General
, ''Australian Government Special Gazette'' S No. 54 of 2013.
From the creation of the
Order of Australia The Order of Australia is an Order (distinction), honour that recognises Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service. It was established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Monarchy of Australia, Queen of Aust ...

Order of Australia
in 1975, the governor-general was, ''
ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term ''ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) ...
'', Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order, and therefore became entitled to the post-nominal AC. In 1976, the
letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle and formerly the capital of the duchy of Lorraine ** Arrondiss ...
for the Order were amended to introduce the rank of Knight and Dame to the Order, and from that time the governor-general became, ex officio, the Chancellor and Principal Knight of the Order. In 1986 the letters patent were amended again, and governors-general appointed from that time were again, ex officio, entitled to the post-nominal AC (although if they already held a knighthood in the Order that superior rank was retained). Until 1989, all governors-general were members of the
Privy Council of the United Kingdom The Privy Council of the United Kingdom, officially Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, or known simply as the Privy Council, is a privy council, formal body of advisers to the British monarchy, sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its ...
and thus held the additional style ''
the Right Honourable The Right Honourable (: The Rt Hon. or Rt Hon.) is an traditionally applied to certain persons and collective bodies in the , the former and the . The term is predominantly used today as a style associated with the holding of certain senior pu ...
'' for life. The same individuals were also usually either
peer Peer may refer to: Sociology * Peer, an equal in age, education or social class; see Peer group * Peer, a member of the peerage Computing * Peer, one of several functional units in the same layer of a network; See Peer group (computer networking) ...
s, knights, or both (the only Australian peer to be appointed as governor-general was the Lord Casey; and Sir
William McKell Sir William John McKell (26 September 1891 – 11 January 1985), often known as Bill McKell, was an Australian politician who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 12th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1947 to 1953. H ...
was knighted only in 1951, some years into his term, but he was entitled to the style "The Honourable" during his tenure as Premier of New South Wales, an office he held until almost immediately before his appointment). In 1989,
Bill Hayden William George Hayden (born 23 January 1933) is an Australian politician who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 21st Governor-General of Australia from 1989 to 1996. He was Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Labor Party ...
, a republican, declined appointment to the British Privy Council and any imperial honours. From that time until 2014, governors-general did not receive automatic titles or honours, other than the post-nominal AC by virtue of being Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Australia.
Dame Quentin Bryce Dame Quentin Alice Louise Bryce, (née Strachan; born 23 December 1942) is an Australian academic who served as the 25th Governor-General of Australia from 2008 to 2014. She is the List of elected and appointed female heads of state, first woman ...

Dame Quentin Bryce
was the first governor-general to have had no prior title or pre-nominal style. She was in office when, on 19 March 2014, the Queen, acting on the advice of Prime Minister
Tony Abbott Anthony John Abbott (; born 4 November 1957) is an Australian former politician. He served as the 28th prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is either the high ...

Tony Abbott
, amended the letters patent of the Order of Australia to provide, inter alia, that the governor-general would be, ex officio, Principal Knight or Principal Dame of the Order. Until 2015, the honour continued after the retirement from office of the governor-general. Formerly, the governor-general automatically became a knight or dame (if he or she was not already one previously) upon being sworn in.


Backgrounds of governors-general

All the governors-general until 1965 were
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
-born, except for Australian-born Sir Isaac Isaacs (1931–1936) and
Sir William McKell Sir William John McKell (26 September 1891 – 11 January 1985), often known as Bill McKell, was an Australian politician who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 12th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1947 to 1953. H ...
(1947–1953). There have been only Australian occupants since then, although
Sir Ninian Stephen Sir Ninian Martin Stephen (15 June 1923 – 29 October 2017) was an Australian judge who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 20th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1982 to 1989. He was previously a Justice of the Hig ...
(1982–1989) had been born in Britain.
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, (Henry William Frederick Albert; 31 March 1900 – 10 June 1974) was the third son and fourth child of King George V and Mary of Teck, Queen Mary. He served as Governor-General of Australia from 1945 to 1947, th ...

Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
, was a senior member of the royal family.
Dame Quentin Bryce Dame Quentin Alice Louise Bryce, (née Strachan; born 23 December 1942) is an Australian academic who served as the 25th Governor-General of Australia from 2008 to 2014. She is the List of elected and appointed female heads of state, first woman ...
(2008–2014) was the first woman to be appointed to the office. Sir Isaac Isaacs and Sir Zelman Cowen were
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jewish
;
Bill Hayden William George Hayden (born 23 January 1933) is an Australian politician who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 21st Governor-General of Australia from 1989 to 1996. He was Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Labor Party ...
was an avowed
atheist Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psy ...

atheist
during his term and he made an affirmation rather than swear an oath at the beginning of his commission; the remaining Governors-General have been at least nominally Christian. Various governors-general had previously served as governors of an Australian state or colony:
Lord Hopetoun John Adrian Louis Hope, 1st Marquess of Linlithgow, 7th Earl of Hopetoun, (25 September 1860 – 29 February 1908) was a British aristocrat and statesman who served as the first Governor-General of Australia The governor-general of Austr ...
(Victoria 1889–1895);
Lord Tennyson Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was a British poet. He was the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular British poets ...
(South Australia 1899–1902); Lord Gowrie (South Australia 1928–34; and New South Wales 1935–1936); Major General
Michael Jeffery Major General Philip Michael Jeffery, (12 December 1937 – 18 December 2020) was a senior Australian Army The Australian Army is the military land force of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovere ...

Michael Jeffery
(Western Australia 1993–2000);
Dame Quentin Bryce Dame Quentin Alice Louise Bryce, (née Strachan; born 23 December 1942) is an Australian academic who served as the 25th Governor-General of Australia from 2008 to 2014. She is the List of elected and appointed female heads of state, first woman ...

Dame Quentin Bryce
(Queensland 2003–2008); General
David Hurley General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral ...

David Hurley
(New South Wales 2014 - 2019). Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson had been offered the governorship of South Australia in 1895 and of Victoria in 1910, but refused both appointments. Lord Northcote was
Governor of Bombay Until the 18th century, Bombay consisted of Seven islands of Bombay, seven islands separated by shallow sea. These seven islands were part of a larger archipelago in the Arabian sea, off the western coast of India. The date of city's founding is ...
. Lord Casey was
Governor of Bengal A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be th ...
in between his periods of service to the
Australian Parliament The Parliament of Australia (officially the Federal Parliament, also called the Commonwealth Parliament) is the legislative branch A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind o ...

Australian Parliament
. Former leading politicians and members of the judiciary have figured prominently.
Lord Dudley Baron Dudley is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in circa 1440 for John Sutton, 1st Baron Dudley, John Sutton, a soldier who served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The title descended in the Sutton family until the 17th century when ...

Lord Dudley
was
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (), or more formally Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland, was the title of the chief governor of Ireland The chief governor was the senior official in the Dublin Castle administration, which maintained E ...
(1902–1905). Lord Stonehaven (as John Baird) was Minister for Transport in the Cabinets of
Bonar Law Andrew Bonar Law (; 16 September 1858 – 30 October 1923) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second hig ...
and
Stanley Baldwin Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, (3 August 186714 December 1947) was a British Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and ...
; and after his return to Britain he became Chairman of the UK
Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) *Conservative Party of Georgia *Conservative Party (Norway) *Conservative Party (UK) Histor ...

Conservative Party
. Sir Isaac Isaacs was successively Commonwealth Attorney-General, a High Court judge, and Chief Justice. Sir William McKell was Premier of New South Wales. (as William Morrison) was Speaker of the UK House of Commons. Lord De L'Isle was
Secretary of State for Air The Secretary of State for Air was a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state position in the British government, which existed from 1919 to 1964. The person holding this position was in charge of the Air Ministry. The Secretar ...
in
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The hea ...

Winston Churchill
's cabinet from 1951 to 1955. More recent governors-general in this category include Lord Casey, Sir Paul Hasluck,
Sir John Kerr Sir John Robert Kerr (24 September 1914 – 24 March 1991) was an Australian barrister and judge who served as the 18th Governor-General of Australia The governor-general of Australia is the representative of the monarch A monarch is ...
,
Sir Ninian Stephen Sir Ninian Martin Stephen (15 June 1923 – 29 October 2017) was an Australian judge who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 20th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1982 to 1989. He was previously a Justice of the Hig ...
,
Bill Hayden William George Hayden (born 23 January 1933) is an Australian politician who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 21st Governor-General of Australia from 1989 to 1996. He was Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Labor Party ...
and Sir William Deane. Of the eleven Australians appointed governor-general since 1965,
Lord Casey Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey, Baron Casey, (29 August 1890 – 17 June 1976) was an Australian statesman who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 16th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1965 to 1969. He was also a dist ...
, Sir Paul Hasluck and
Bill Hayden William George Hayden (born 23 January 1933) is an Australian politician who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 21st Governor-General of Australia from 1989 to 1996. He was Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Labor Party ...
were former federal parliamentarians; Sir John Kerr was the
Chief Justice The chief justice is the presiding member of a supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes betwee ...

Chief Justice
of the
Supreme Court of New South Wales The Supreme Court of New South Wales is the highest state court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out ...
; Sir Ninian Stephen and Sir William Deane were appointed from the bench of the
High Court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between ...

High Court
;
Sir Zelman Cowen Sir Zelman Cowen, (7 October 1919 – 8 December 2011) was an Australian legal scholar and university administrator who served as the 19th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1977 to 1982. Cowen was born in Melbourne Melbourn ...

Sir Zelman Cowen
was a
vice-chancellor A chancellor is a leader of a college or university, usually either the executive or ceremonial head of the university or of a university campus within a university system A university system is a set of multiple affiliated universities A un ...
of the
University of Queensland , mottoeng = By means of knowledge and hard work , established = , endowment = A$224.3 million , budget = A$2.1 billion , type = Public research university A public university or public college is a university A university ( la, un ...

University of Queensland
and constitutional lawyer;
Peter Hollingworth Peter John Hollingworth (born 10 April 1935) is an Australian retired Anglican bishop. Engaged in social work for several decades, he served as the archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane for 11 years from 1989 and was the 1991 Australian ...
was the
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; t ...

Anglican
Archbishop In many Christian Denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...
of
Brisbane Brisbane ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller low ...

Brisbane
; and Major-General Michael Jeffery was a retired
military officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an Military, armed force or Uniformed services, uniformed service. Broadly speaking, "officer" means a commissioned officer, a non-commissioned officer, or a warrant offic ...
and former
Governor of Western Australia The governor of Western Australia is the representative in Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published ...
. Quentin Bryce's appointment was announced during her term as Governor of Queensland; she had previously been the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner. General David Hurley was a retired Chief of the Defence Force (Australia), Chief of Defence Force and former Governor of New South Wales. Significant post-retirement activities of earlier Governors-General have included: Lord Tennyson was appointed List of Governors of the Isle of Wight, Deputy Governor of the Isle of Wight; Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson (by now Lord Novar) became Secretary of State for Scotland; and Lord Gowrie became Chairman of the Marylebone Cricket Club (Henry Forster, 1st Baron Forster, Lord Forster had also held this post, before his appointment as governor-general).


Tenure

The Constitution of Australia, constitution does not set a term of office, so a governor-general may continue to hold office for any agreed length of time. In recent decades the typical term of office has been five years. Some early governors-general were appointed to terms of just one year (
Lord Tennyson Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was a British poet. He was the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular British poets ...
) or two years (Henry Forster, 1st Baron Forster, Lord Forster; later extended). At the end of this initial term, a commission may be extended for a short time, usually to avoid conflict with an election or during political difficulties. The salary of the governor-general was initially set by the constitution, which fixed an annual amount of Australian pound, A£10,000 until the parliament decided otherwise. The constitution also provides that the salary of the governor-general cannot be "altered" during his or her term of office. Under the ''Governor-General Act 1974'', each new commission has resulted in a pay increase. Today, the law ensures the salary is higher than that for the Chief Justice of Australia, Chief Justice of the High Court, over a five-year period. The annual salary during Michael Jeffery's term was $365,000. Quentin Bryce's salary was $394,000.Herald Sun, 18 June 2008, governor-general Quentin Bryce to get pay rise
/ref> The current salary is $425,000 and there is a generous pension. Until 2001, Governors-General did not pay income tax on their salary; this was changed after the Queen agreed to pay tax. Three governors-general have resigned their commission. The first governor-general,
Lord Hopetoun John Adrian Louis Hope, 1st Marquess of Linlithgow, 7th Earl of Hopetoun, (25 September 1860 – 29 February 1908) was a British aristocrat and statesman who served as the first Governor-General of Australia The governor-general of Austr ...
, asked to be recalled to Britain in 1903 over a dispute about funding for the post.
Sir John Kerr Sir John Robert Kerr (24 September 1914 – 24 March 1991) was an Australian barrister and judge who served as the 18th Governor-General of Australia The governor-general of Australia is the representative of the monarch A monarch is ...
resigned in 1977, with his official reason being his decision to accept the position of Australian Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, a post which ultimately he did not take up, but the resignation also being motivated by the 1975 constitutional controversy. In 2003, Archbishop
Peter Hollingworth Peter John Hollingworth (born 10 April 1935) is an Australian retired Anglican bishop. Engaged in social work for several decades, he served as the archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane for 11 years from 1989 and was the 1991 Australian ...
voluntarily stood aside while controversial allegations against him were managed, and the
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of the office were amended to take account of this circumstance. He later "stepped down over the church's handling" of "allegations" of sexual abuse of boys, for which he apologised before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2016. In 1961, became the first and, to date, only governor-general to die while holding office. A governor-general may be recalled or dismissed by the monarch before their term is complete. By convention, this may only be upon advice from the prime minister, who retains responsibility for selecting an immediate replacement or letting the vacancy provisions take effect. No Australian governor-general has ever been dismissed, and it is unclear how quickly the monarch would act on such advice. The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, constitutional crisis of 1975 raised the possibility of the prime minister and the governor-general attempting to dismiss each other at the same time. According to William McMahon, Harold Holt considered having
Lord Casey Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey, Baron Casey, (29 August 1890 – 17 June 1976) was an Australian statesman who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 16th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1965 to 1969. He was also a dist ...
dismissed from the governor-generalship, and went as far as to have the necessary documents drawn up. Casey had twice called McMahon into Yarralumla to give him a "dressing down" over his poor relationship with Deputy Prime Minister John McEwen, which he believed was affecting the government. Holt believed that this was an improper use of his authority, but no further action was taken. A vacancy occurs on the resignation, death, or incapacity of the governor-general. A temporary vacancy occurs when the governor-general is overseas on official business representing Australia. A temporary vacancy also occurred in 2003 when Peter Hollingworth stood aside. Section 4 of the constitution allows the Queen to appoint an Administrator (Australia), administrator to carry out the role of governor-general when there is a vacancy. By convention, the longest-serving state governor holds a dormant commission, allowing an assumption of office to commence whenever a vacancy occurs. In 1975, Australian Labor Party, Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam advised the Queen that Sir Colin Hannah, then Governor of Queensland, should have his dormant commission revoked for having made public political statements.


Constitutional role and functions

The Constitution of Australia, section 2, provides:
A Governor-General appointed by the Queen shall be Her Majesty's representative in the Commonwealth, and shall have and may exercise in the Commonwealth during the Queen's pleasure, but subject to this Constitution, such powers and functions of the Queen as Her Majesty may be pleased to assign to him.
Such further powers are currently set out in
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of 2008 from Queen Elizabeth II; these contain no substantive powers, but provide for the case of a governor-general's absence or incapacity. The constitution also provides that the governor-general is the monarch's "representative" in exercising the executive power of the Commonwealth (section 61) and as commander-in-chief of the armed forces (section 68). Australian Solicitor-General Maurice Byers stated in 1974: "The constitutional prescription is that executive power is exercisable by the governor-general although vested in the Queen. What is exercisable is original executive power: that is, the very thing vested in the Queen by section 61. And it is exercisable by the Queen's representative, not her delegate or agent." The 1988 Constitutional Commission report explained: "the governor-general is in no sense a delegate of the Queen. The independence of the office is highlighted by changes which have been made in recent years to the Royal Instruments relating to it." The changes occurred in 1984 when Queen Victoria's letters patent and instructions were revoked and replaced with new letters patent, on Prime Minister Bob Hawke's advice, who stated that this would clarify the governor-general's position under the constitution. This remains the case even when the sovereign is in the country: Solicitor-General Kenneth Bailey (Australian lawyer), Kenneth Bailey, prior to the first tour of Australia by its reigning monarch in 1954, explained the position by saying:
the Constitution expressly vests in the Governor-General the power or duty to perform a number of the Crown's functions in the Legislature and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth... The executive power of the Commonwealth, by section 61 of the Constitution, is declared to be vested in the Queen. It is also, in the same section, declared to be "exercisable" by the Governor-General as the Queen's representative. In the face of this provision, I feel it is difficult to contend that the Queen, even though present in Australia, may exercise in person functions of executive government which are specifically assigned by the constitution to the Governor-General."
As early as 1901, the authoritative commentary by John Quick (politician), Quick and Robert Garran, Garran had noted that the governor-general of Australia was distinguished from other Empire governors-general by the fact that "[t]he principal and most important of his powers and functions, legislative as well as executive, are expressly conferred on him by the terms of the Constitution itself ... not by Royal authority, but by statutory authority". This view was also held by Senior Judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania Andrew Inglis Clark, who, with W. Harrison Moore (a contributor to the first draft of the constitution put before the 1897 Adelaide Convention and professor of law at the University of Melbourne), postulated that the
letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle and formerly the capital of the duchy of Lorraine ** Arrondiss ...
and the royal instructions issued by Queen Victoria were unnecessary "or even of doubtful legality". The monarch chose not to intervene during the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, in which Governor-General Sir John Kerr (governor-general), John Kerr dismissed the Labor government of Gough Whitlam, on the basis that such a decision is a matter "clearly placed within the jurisdiction of the Governor-General". Through her private secretary, she wrote that she "has no part in the decisions which the Governor-General must take in accordance with the Constitution". In an address to the Sydney Institute, January 2007, in connection with that event, Sir David Smith (public servant), David Smith, a retired
official secretary to the governor-general of Australia The official secretary to the governor-general of Australia and his staff provide support to the Governor-General of Australia to enable the governor-general to carry out their constitutional, statutory, ceremonial and public duties. Until 1903, ...
who had been Kerr's official secretary in 1975, described the constitution as conferring the powers and functions of Australia's head of state on the governor-general in "his own right". He stated that the governor-general was more than a representative of the sovereign, explaining: "under section 2 of the Constitution the Governor-General is the Queen's representative and exercises certain royal prerogative powers and functions; under section 61 of the Constitution the Governor-General is the holder of a quite separate and independent office created, not by the Crown, but by the Constitution, and empowered to exercise, in his own right as Governor-General... all the powers and functions of Australia's head of state."


Role in the Australian Parliament

The constitution describes the parliament of the commonwealth as consisting of the Queen, the
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and the Australian House of Representatives, House of Representatives. Section 5 states that "the Governor-General may appoint such times for holding the sessions of the Parliament [...] legislative session, prorogue the Parliament [and] dissolve the House of Representatives." These provisions make it clear that the Queen's role in the parliament is in name only and the actual responsibility belongs to the governor-general. Such decisions are usually taken on the advice of the prime minister, although that is not stated in the constitution. The governor-general has a ceremonial role in swearing in and accepting the resignations of members of Parliament. They appoint a deputy, to whom members make an Oath of Allegiance (Australia), oath of allegiance before they take their seats. On the day parliament opens, the governor-general makes a speech, entirely written by the government, explaining the government's proposed legislative program. The most important power is found in section 58: "When a proposed law passed by both Houses of Parliament is presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent, he shall declare ... that he assents in the Queen's name." The royal assent brings such laws into effect, as legislation, from the date of signing. Sections 58 to 60 allow the governor-general to withhold assent, suggest changes, refer to the Queen or proclaim that the Queen has annulled the legislation. A number of governors-general have reserved royal assent for particular legislation for the Queen. Such assent has usually been given during a scheduled visit to Australia by the Queen. On other occasions royal assent has been given elsewhere. Examples of this have been the Flags Act 1953, Flags Act (1953), the Royal Styles and Titles Acts (1953 and 1973), and the Australia Act 1986, Australia Act (1986).


Role in executive government

At the start of Chapter 2 on executive government, the constitution says "The executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen's representative". The governor-general presides over a Executive Council of Australia, Federal Executive Council. By convention, the prime minister is appointed to this council and advises as to which parliamentarians shall become ministers and Parliamentary Secretary, parliamentary secretaries. In the constitution, the words "Governor-General-in-council" mean the governor-general acting with the advice of the Council. Powers exercised in council, which are not reserve powers, include: * establishing government departments * appointing federal judges, and * appointing ambassadors and high commissioners All such actions are taken on the advice of ministers.


Military role

Under Section 68 of the Constitution of Australia, section 68 of the constitution, "the Commander-in-chief, command in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor‑General". In practice, the associated powers over the
Australian Defence Force The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is the Armed forces, military organisation responsible for the defence of the Australia, Commonwealth of Australia and its national interests. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Army, R ...
are only exercised on the advice of the prime minister or Minister for Defence (Australia), minister for defence, on behalf of cabinet. The actual powers of the governor-general as commander-in-chief are not defined in the constitution, but rather in the ''Defence Act 1903'' and other legislation. They include appointing the Chief of the Defence Force (Australia), chief of the Defence Force and authorising the deployment of troops. There is some ambiguity with regard to the role of the governor-general in declarations of war. In 1941 and 1942, the Curtin Government advised the governor-general to declare war on several Axis powers, but then had King George VI make identical proclamations on Australia's behalf. No formal declarations of war have been made since World War II, although in 1973 the Whitlam Government advised the governor-general to proclaim the end of Military history of Australia during the Vietnam War, Australia's involvement in Vietnam, despite the lack of an initiating proclamation. The powers of command-in-chief are vested in the governor-general rather than the "Governor-General in Council", meaning there is an element of personal discretion in their exercise. For instance, in 1970 Governor-General Paul Hasluck refused Prime Minister John Gorton's request to authorise a Pacific Islands Regiment peacekeeping mission in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, on the grounds that cabinet had not been consulted. Gorton agreed to put the matter to his ministers, and a cabinet meeting agreed that troops should only be called out if requested by the territory's List of Administrators and High Commissioners of Papua New Guinea, administrator; this did not occur. Defence Minister Malcolm Fraser, who opposed the call out, was responsible for informing Hasluck of the prime minister's lack of consultation. The incident contributed to Fraser's resignation from cabinet in 1971 and Gorton's subsequent Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill, 1971, loss of the prime ministership.


Reserve powers

In the United Kingdom, the reserve powers of the monarch (which are typically referred to as the "Royal prerogative in the United Kingdom, royal prerogative") are not explicitly stated in constitutional enactments, and are the province of convention and common law. In Australia, however, the powers are explicitly given to the governor-general in the constitution; it is their use that is the subject of convention. The reserve powers are, according to the Constitution of Australia: * The power to dissolve (or refuse to dissolve) the House of Representatives (section 5) * The power to dissolve Parliament on the occasion of a deadlock (section 57) * The power to withhold assent to bills (section 58) * The power to appoint (or dismiss) ministers (section 64) Those powers are generally and routinely exercised on ministerial advice, but the governor-general retains the ability to act independently in certain circumstances, as governed by convention. It is generally held that the governor-general may use powers without ministerial advice in the following situations: * if an election results in a parliament in which no party has a majority, the governor-general may select the prime minister * if a prime minister loses the support of the House of Representatives, the governor-general may appoint a new prime minister * if a prime minister advises a dissolution of the House of Representatives, the governor-general may refuse that request, or request further reasons why it should be granted; it is worth noting that convention does not give the governor-general the ability to dissolve either the House of Representatives or the Senate without advice The use of the reserve powers may arise in the following circumstances: * if a prime minister advises a dissolution of Parliament on the occasion of a deadlock between the Houses, the governor-general may refuse that request * if the governor-general is not satisfied with a legislative bill as presented, they may refuse royal assent * if a prime minister resigns after losing a vote of confidence, the governor-general may select a new replacement contrary to the advice of the outgoing prime minister * if a prime minister is unable to obtain supply and refuses to resign or advise a dissolution, the governor-general may dismiss him or her and appoint a new prime minister The above is not an exhaustive list, and new situations may arise. The most notable use of the reserve powers occurred in November 1975, in the course of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. On this occasion the governor-general,
Sir John Kerr Sir John Robert Kerr (24 September 1914 – 24 March 1991) was an Australian barrister and judge who served as the 18th Governor-General of Australia The governor-general of Australia is the representative of the monarch A monarch is ...
, dismissed the government of Gough Whitlam when the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
withheld Supply to the government, even though Whitlam retained the confidence of the Australian House of Representatives, House of Representatives. Kerr determined that he had both the right and the duty to dismiss the government and commission a new government that would recommend a dissolution of the Parliament. Events surrounding the dismissal remain extremely controversial.


Biosecurity emergencies

On 18 March 2020, a state of emergency, human biosecurity emergency was declared in Australia owing to the risks to human health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, after the National Security Committee (Australia), National Security Committee met the previous day. The ''Biosecurity Act 2015'' specifies that the governor-general may declare such an emergency exists if the Minister for Health (Australia), health minister (Greg Hunt at the time) is satisfied that "a listed human disease is posing a severe and immediate threat, or is causing harm, to human health on a nationally significant scale". This gives the minister sweeping powers, including imposing restrictions or preventing the movement of people and goods between specified places, and Emergency evacuation, evacuations. The ''Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) Declaration 2020'' was declared by Governor-General
David Hurley General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral ...

David Hurley
under Section 475 of the Act.


Ceremonial role

In addition to the formal constitutional role, the governor-general has a representative and ceremonial role, though the extent and nature of that role has depended on the expectations of the time, the individual in office at the time, the wishes of the incumbent government, and the individual's reputation in the wider community. Governors-general generally become patrons of various charitable institutions, present honours and awards, host functions for various groups of people including ambassadors to and from other countries, and travel widely throughout Australia. Sir William Deane (governor-general 1996–2001) described one of his functions as being "Chief Mourner" at prominent funerals. In ''Commentaries on the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia'', Garran noted that, since the Australian executive is national in nature (being dependent on the nationally elected House of Representatives, rather than the Senate), "the Governor-General, as the official head of the Executive, does not in the smallest degree represent any federal element; if he represents anything he is the image and embodiment of national unity and the outward and visible representation of the Imperial relationship of the Commonwealth". That role can become controversial, however, if the governor-general becomes unpopular with sections of the community. The public role adopted by Sir John Kerr was curtailed considerably after the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, constitutional crisis of 1975; Sir William Deane's public statements on political issues produced some hostility towards him; and some charities disassociated themselves from
Peter Hollingworth Peter John Hollingworth (born 10 April 1935) is an Australian retired Anglican bishop. Engaged in social work for several decades, he served as the archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane for 11 years from 1989 and was the 1991 Australian ...
after the issue of his management of sex abuse cases during his time as Anglican Anglican Diocese of Brisbane, Archbishop of Brisbane became a matter of controversy. At one time, governors-general wore the traditional Court uniform and dress in the United Kingdom#Foreign Service variants, court uniform, consisting of a dark navy wool double-breasted coatee with silver oak leaf and fern embroidery on the collar and cuffs trimmed with silver buttons embossed with the Royal Arms and with bullion edged epaulettes on the shoulders, dark navy trousers with a wide band of silver oak-leaf braid down the outside seam, silver sword belt with ceremonial sword, bicorne cocked hat with plume of ostrich feathers, black patent leather Wellington boots with spurs, etc., that is worn on ceremonial occasions. There is also a tropical version made of white tropical wool cut in a typical military fashion worn with a plumed helmet. However, that custom fell into disuse during the tenure of Sir Paul Hasluck. The governor-general now wears an ordinary lounge suit if a man or day dress if a woman.


Diplomatic role

The governor-general makes state visits overseas on behalf of Australia, during which an administrator of the government is appointed. The right of governors-general to make state visits was confirmed at the 1926 Imperial Conference, as it was deemed not feasible for the sovereign to pay state visits on behalf of countries other than the United Kingdom. However, an Australian governor-general did not exercise that right until 1971, when Paul Hasluck visited New Zealand. Hasluck's successor John Kerr (governor-general), John Kerr made state visits to eight countries, but Kerr's successor Zelman Cowen made only a single state visit – to Papua New Guinea – as he wished to concentrate on travelling within Australia. All subsequent governors-general have travelled widely while in office and made multiple state visits. Occasionally governors-general have made extended tours visiting multiple countries, notably in 2009 when Quentin Bryce visited nine African countries in 19 days.


The office of governor-general as an agency

The office of governor-general as an agency of the Commonwealth is regulated by the Governor-General Act 1974. The act provides the governor-general with a salary (fixed in 2014 at $425,000) and, after leaving office, a lifetime allowance fixed at two-thirds of the salary of the Chief Justice of the
High Court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between ...

High Court
. There is also provision for a surviving spouse or partner. The governor-general appoints an Official Secretary, who in turn appoints other staff. By convention, the governor-general and any family occupy an official residence in Canberra,
Government House Government House is the name of many of the residences of governors-general, governors and lieutenant-governor A lieutenant governor, lieutenant-governor, or vice governor is a high officer of state, whose precise role and rank vary by jurisdictio ...

Government House
(commonly referred to as Yarralumla). The governor-general travels in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine for ceremonial occasions, such as the State Opening of Parliament. However, governors-general more commonly use Australian-built luxury cars when on official business. The official cars of the governor-general fly the Flag of the Governor-General of Australia and display St. Edward's Crown instead of number plates. A similar arrangement is used for the governors of the six states. When the Queen is in Australia, the Queen's Personal Australian Flag is flown on the car in which she is travelling. During the Queen's 2011 visit to Australia, she and the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of Edinburgh were driven in a Range Rover Vogue.


History

The office of "governor-general" was previously used in Australia in the mid-19th century. Charles Augustus FitzRoy, Sir Charles FitzRoy (Governor of New South Wales from 1846–1855) and William Denison, Sir William Denison (Governor of New South Wales from 1855–1861) also carried the additional title of Governor-General because their jurisdiction extended to other colonies in Australia. The office of governor-general for the Commonwealth of Australia was conceived during the debates and conventions leading up to Federation of Australia, federation. The first Governor-General, the John Hope, 1st Marquess of Linlithgow, Earl of Hopetoun, was a previous governor of Victoria. He was appointed in July 1900, returning to Australia shortly before the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. After the initial confusion of the Hopetoun Blunder, he appointed the first prime minister of Australia, Edmund Barton, to a caretaker government, with the 1901 Australian federal election, inaugural 1901 federal election not occurring until March. Early governors-general were British and were appointed by the queen or king on the recommendation of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Colonial Office. The Australian Government was merely asked, as a matter of courtesy, whether they approved of the choice or not. Governors-general were expected to exercise a supervisory role over the Australian Government in the manner of a colonial governor. In a very real sense, they represented the British Government. They had the right to "reserve" legislation passed by the Parliament of Australia: in effect, to ask the Colonial Office in London for an opinion before giving the Royal Assent, royal assent. They exercised this power several times. The monarch, acting upon advice of the British Government, could also disallow any Australian legislation up to a year after the governor-general had given it the assent; although this power has never been used. These powers remain in section 59 of the Constitution of Australia, but today are regarded as dead letters. The early governors-general frequently sought advice on the exercise of their powers from judges of the High Court of Australia, Sir Samuel Griffith and Sir Edmund Barton. That practice has continued from time to time. During the 1920s, the importance of the position declined. As a result of decisions made at the 1926 Imperial Conference, the governor-general ceased to represent the British Government diplomatically, and the British right of supervision over Australian affairs was abolished. As the Balfour Declaration of 1926, later implemented as the
Statute of Westminster 1931 The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom In the United Kingdom an Act of Parliament is primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and ...
, put it:
It is desirable formally to place on record a definition of the position held by the Governor-General as His Majesty's representative in the Dominions. That position, though now generally well recognised, undoubtedly represents a development from an earlier stage when the Governor-General was appointed solely on the advice of His Majesty's Ministers in London and acted also as their representative. In our opinion it is an essential consequence of the equality of status existing among the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations that the Governor-General of a Dominion is the representative of the Crown, holding in all essential respects the same position in relation to the administration of public affairs in the Dominion as is held by His Majesty the King in Great Britain, and that he is not the representative or agent of His Majesty's Government in Great Britain or of any Department of that Government.
However, it remained unclear just whose prerogative it now became to decide who new governors-general would be. In 1930, King George V and the Australian Prime Minister
James Scullin James Henry Scullin (18 September 1876 – 28 January 1953) was an Australian Labor Party politician and the ninth Prime Minister of Australia. Scullin led Labor to government at the 1929 election. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 The Wa ...
discussed the appointment of a new Governor-General to replace Lord Stonehaven, whose term was coming to an end. The King maintained that it was now his sole prerogative to choose a governor-general, and he wanted William Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood, Field-Marshal Sir William Birdwood for the Australian post. Scullin recommended the Australian jurist Sir Isaac Isaacs, and he insisted that George V act on the advice of his Australian prime minister in this matter. Scullin was partially influenced by the precedent set by the Government of the Irish Free State, which always insisted upon having an Irishman as the governor-general of the Irish Free State. The King approved Scullin's choice, albeit with some displeasure. The usual wording of official announcements of this nature read "The King has been pleased to appoint ...", but on this occasion the announcement said merely "The King has appointed ...", and his Private Secretary to the Sovereign, private secretary ( Lord Stamfordham) asked the Australian solicitor-general, Sir Robert Garran, to make sure that Scullin was aware of the exact wording. The opposition Nationalist Party of Australia denounced the appointment as "practically republican", but Scullin had set a precedent. The convention gradually became established throughout the Commonwealth that the Governor-General is a citizen of the country concerned, and is appointed on the advice of the government of that country. In 1931, the transformation was concluded with the appointment of the first Australian governor-general, Isaacs, and the first British Representative in Australia, Ernest Crutchley. 1935 saw the appointment of the first List of High Commissioners of the United Kingdom to Australia, British high commissioner to Australia, Geoffrey Whiskard (in office 1936–1941). After Scullin's defeat in 1931 Australian federal election, 1931, non-Australian Labor Party, Labor governments continued to recommend British people for appointment as governor-general, but such appointments remained solely a matter between the Australian government and the monarch. In 1947, Labor appointed a second Australian Governor-General,
William McKell Sir William John McKell (26 September 1891 – 11 January 1985), often known as Bill McKell, was an Australian politician who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 12th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1947 to 1953. H ...
, who was in office as the Labor premier of New South Wales. The then leader of the Opposition, Robert Menzies, called McKell's appointment "shocking and humiliating". In 1965 the Menzies conservative government appointed an Australian,
Lord Casey Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey, Baron Casey, (29 August 1890 – 17 June 1976) was an Australian statesman who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 16th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1965 to 1969. He was also a dist ...
, and thereafter only Australians have held the position. Suggestions during the early 1980s that the Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince of Wales might become the governor-general came to nothing due to the prospective constitutional difficulty that might ensue if Prince Charles became king. In 2007 media outlets reported that Prince William might become governor-general of Australia. Both the prime minister, John Howard, and Clarence House repudiated the suggestion.


Patronage

The governor-general is generally invited to become patron of various charitable and service organisations. Historically the governor-general has also served as Scouts Australia, Chief Scout of Australia. The chief scout is nominated by the Scouting Association's National Executive Committee and is invited by the president of the Scout Association to accept the appointment.
Bill Hayden William George Hayden (born 23 January 1933) is an Australian politician who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, 21st Governor-General of Australia from 1989 to 1996. He was Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Labor Party ...
declined the office on the grounds of his atheism, which was incompatible with the Scout Promise. He did however serve as the association's patron during his term of office.


Spouse

Spouses of governors-general have no official duties but carry out the role of a vice-regal consort. They are entitled to the courtesy style ''Her Excellency'' or ''His Excellency'' during the office-holder's term of office. Most spouses of governors-general have been content to be quietly supportive. Some, however, have been notable in their own right, such as Dame Alexandra Hasluck, Maie Casey, Baroness Casey, Lady Casey and Michael Bryce.


List of governors-general of Australia


Living former governors-general

As of , there are five living former governors-general of Australia. The most recently deceased governor-general,
Michael Jeffery Major General Philip Michael Jeffery, (12 December 1937 – 18 December 2020) was a senior Australian Army The Australian Army is the military land force of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovere ...

Michael Jeffery
(2003–2008), died on 18 December 2020.


Timeline of governors-general


See also

* History of Australia * Constitutional history of Australia * Chapter II of the Constitution of Australia * Governors of the Australian states * British Empire * Royal Australian Air Force VIP aircraft * Governor-general (links to other countries which have Governors-General) * Australian VIP transport * Musical compositio
Earl's March
written by Australian author Walter J. Turner in 1889 dedicated to Adrian Hope, whilst in office.


References


Further reading

* * * * (pp 515, 519, 548) * * *


External links

* * * * * "The Constitution as in force on 1 June 2003 together with proclamation declaring the establishment of the Commonwealth, letters patent relating to the Office of Governor-General, Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942, Australia Act 1986."
A Mirror to the People
a 58-minute documentary film on the Office of Governor-General of Australia 1999. Dir: Daryl Dellora. Features Sir William Deane, Sir Zelman Cowen, Sir Ninian Stephen. Special Commendation ATOM Awards. {{DEFAULTSORT:Governor-General Of Australia Governors-General of Australia Westminster system Monarchy in Australia Parliament of Australia 1975 Australian constitutional crisis 1901 establishments in Australia