General Peter Cosgrove Appointed Governor-General

General Peter Cosgrove has been appointed Australia’s 26th Governor-General. He will replace Quentin Bryce, who retires in March.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the appointment at Parliament House, accompanied by General and Mrs. Lynne Cosgrove. Abbott said he could not think of a finer person for the job.

Cosgrove

Abbott paid tribute to outgoing Governor-General Quentin Bryce who has served in the position since 2008. He said Cosgrove was a “worthy” successor. [Read more…]


General Peter Cosgrove Reportedly Abbott’s Choice For Next Governor-General

Retired General Peter Cosgrove is to be Australia’s next Governor-General, according to a report in today’s edition of The Australian.

CosgroveCosgrove has been rumoured to be the choice of Prime Minister Tony Abbott for some time. Whilst the newspaper says Abbott refused to comment on its report, the news comes as no real surprise.

The newspaper says the appointment will be announced at the end of January.

The current Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has held the position since September 5, 2008 and will retire in March. Her 5-year appointment was extended by six months by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, due to the proximity of the federal election.

Cosgrove will be Australia’s 26th Governor-General since 1901. The last Governor-General with a military background was Bryce’s predecessor, Major-General Michael Jeffery. [Read more…]


Governor-General Quentin Bryce Calls For A Republic And Same-Sex Marriage

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has called for an Australian republic and same-sex marriage in the last of her Boyer Lectures, delivered just four months before she retires from the Vice-Regal role.

Bryce

Bryce’s remarks came at the end of a speech titled “Advance Australia Fair”. She concluded by imagining a nation of care and equality, “where people are free to love and marry whom they choose and where, perhaps, my friends, one day, one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation’s first head of state”. [Read more…]


Governor-General Quentin Bryce Opens 44th Parliament

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has officially opened the 44th Parliament.

Bryce

After a day of ceremonies, including the swearing-in of the new House of Representatives, Bryce summoned members to the Senate and delivered the traditional government-written speech outlining the government’s program for the new Parliament.

The government will be “active” but not “big”, Bryce said. She outlined Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s plan to “repeal the carbon tax, abolish the mining tax, cut the waste and build the roads of the 21st century”.

Bryce’s 30-minute speech was followed by a 19-gun salute by military cannons outside Parliament House.

Earlier, the House of Representatives elected Bronwyn Bishop as its new Speaker, replacing Anna Burke, the last of three speakers in the 43rd Parliament.

The Parliament gets down to business tomorrow when it is expected that the bills to repeal the carbon tax will be introduced in the morning. Abbott and new Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will face off in Question Time at 2pm.

Today’s speech was Quentin Bryce’s last opening of Parliament. She retires in March next year.

Transcript of Governor-General Quentin Bryce’s Address at the Opening of the First Session of the Forty-Fourth Commonwealth Parliament.

Bryce

Introduction

Honourable Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia.

Today, at the opening of the 44th Commonwealth Parliament, we celebrate the enduring health of our democracy.

One hundred and twelve years after the first Federal election, nearly 14 million Australians have cast their votes in another free and fair election.

For only the fourth time in three decades, the Australian people have voted for a change of government. [Read more…]


Governor-General’s Proclamation Summoning Parliament

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has issued a proclamation summoning the Parliament to meet on November 12.

The proclamation is issued under Section 5 of the Constitution, which empowers the Governor-General to “appoint such times for holding the sessions of the Parliament as he thinks fit”.

As in all such matters, the proclamation is issued on the advice of the Prime Minister. It is the government that has decided when Parliament is to meet, not the Governor-General. [Read more…]


Abbott Rejects Governor-General’s Offer To Resign Over Shorten

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has offered to retire early because her son-in-law has been elected Leader of the Opposition, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declined the offer.

Bill Shorten is Bryce’s son-in-law. Shorten’s election as leader of the ALP was announced earlier today.

Bryce is due to retire in March. She offered to leave earlier to avoid any perception of bias.

Abbott refused her offer on the grounds that her retirement is only a few months away and his “government commands the House of Representatives with a significant margin”.

Statement by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Statement from the Prime Minister

In anticipation of the election of the Hon Bill Shorten MP as Leader of the Opposition, I have spoken with Governor-General, Her Excellency the Hon Quentin Bryce AC.

The Governor-General offered to leave office early to avoid any perception of bias but due to the fact that she will retire in March next year and that the Government commands the House of Representatives with a significant margin, I have thanked her for her magnanimity but declined to accept her resignation, instead asking that she conclude her full term.

I am grateful that she has kindly agreed to my request.

The Governor-General is currently serving an extended term in office that she did not seek. Her agreement to stay on was a measure of her personal commitment to provide continuity at a time of political turbulence and she should be commended for her dedication to public service.

Her Excellency Quentin Bryce has served the people of Australia with distinction and has provided a gracious note to our constitutional arrangements through her widespread engagement with the community.

I believe it is only fit and proper that she be permitted to conclude her term and be accorded the appropriate farewell that her exemplary service merits.


Why Is Kevin Rudd Still Prime Minister?

The federal election was held ten days ago. The Labor government was defeated. Tony Abbott has announced his new ministry. But Kevin Rudd is still prime minister.

Rudd will remain prime minister until tomorrow morning.

At that time, Abbott will be sworn in as prime minister and his ministers will take the oath of office.

Rudd-Abbott

Until that moment, Kevin Rudd remains caretaker prime minister, as he has been since the beginning of the election campaign.

This is quite normal.

  • In 2007, Kevin Rudd won the election on November 24 but was not sworn in as prime minister until December 3. John Howard remained prime minister until that date.
  • In 1996, the election was held on March 2 but John Howard did not replace Paul Keating as prime minister until March 11.
  • In 1983, the election was held on March 5 but Bob Hawke was not sworn in to replace Malcolm Fraser until March 11.
  • In 1949, the election was held on December 10 but Robert Menzies was not sworn in to replace Ben Chifley until December 19.

Excluding the immediate installation of Malcolm Fraser as prime minister, following the dismissal of Gough Whitlam, on November 11, 1975, the fastest transfer of the prime ministership in recent decades took place in 1972. Because Gough Whitlam wanted to get down to business immediately, he was sworn in as prime minister three days after the December 2 election in which he had defeated William McMahon and the Liberal-Country Party coalition. Whitlam and his deputy, Lance Barnard, served as a two-man government until December 19.

Transferring the Prime Ministership

The process followed this year by Rudd and Abbott is part of a long tradition.

On September 8, the day after the election, Rudd tendered his resignation to the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.

Rudd

In resigning, Rudd surrendered his commission to the Governor-General. Bryce accepted Rudd’s resignation but asked him to remain as caretaker prime minister until the swearing-in of the new ministry.

Bryce

Rudd’s resignation will take effect the second that Abbott is sworn in. In this way, there is always a prime minister in place. [Read more…]