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Western Australian Governor John Sanderson’s Appointment Extended

The Governor of Western Australia, Lieutenant General John Sanderson, has had his term of office extended for a further two years.

SandersonThe announcement was made today by the Premier of Western Australia, Geoff Gallop.

Sanderson has held the position since August 2000. His three-year term would have expired in August this year. The extension is in keeping with the convention federally and in most of the States that the vice-regal role is a 5-year appointment.

The Governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Premier of the day.

Text of announcement from the Premier of Western Australia, Geoff Gallop.

Premier Geoff Gallop has announced that the appointment of the Governor, His Excellency Lieutenant General John Sanderson AC, has been extended for a further two years.

“The Governor and Mrs Sanderson have carried out their duties and responsibilities with distinction and have clearly won the affection of the Western Australian public,” Dr Gallop said.

“I am delighted that Lieutenant General Sanderson has agreed to stay in the position and continue his good work.”

The Governor was originally appointed for a three-year term on August 18, 2000.

This is the biography of the Western Australian Governor, Lieutenant-General John Sanderson, as posted on the official Government House website.

On 18 August 2000 His Excellency Lieutenant General John Sanderson was sworn in as 29th Governor of Western Australia.

Lieutenant General Sanderson was born on 4 November 1940 in Geraldton, Western Australia and later educated at Bunbury Senior High School. He entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in February 1958 and graduated as a lieutenant into the Royal Australian Engineers on 13 December 1961.

Trained and educated as both a military and civil engineer, General Sanderson spent his early career in construction and training appointments, with operational deployments to both Borneo and South Vietnam. He was an instructor at the Australian and British Schools of Military Engineering. He has also been an instructor at the Australian Staff College and the British Army Staff College, Camberley and has commanded at all levels including the 1st (Mechanised) Brigade from 1987-88. In addition, he was the Airborne Force Commander for the Australian Defence Force.

In November 1991, General Sanderson was seconded to Secretary General of the United Nations to complete planning for the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia. From February 1992 to October 1993, as a Lieutenant General, he commanded an international force of 16,000 troops from 34 nations, securing Cambodia and supporting the conduct of an election of a constitutional assembly. At the successful conclusion of this operation, General Sanderson returned to Australia, where he became the first Commander Joint Forces Australia, a position that was eventually designated Commander Australian Theatre.

Over time General Sanderson’s service to Australia has been recognised by the award of Member of the Order of Australia (1985), Officer of the Order (1991) and Companion of the Order (1994). General Sanderson has also been recognised by the United States of America for his service to the region and the alliance by the award of the Legion of Merit – Commander Class.

His nearly four decades of dedicated service culminated in his appointment to the pinnacle of Australian Military service as Chief of the Army in 1995.

Lieutenant General Sanderson is a graduate of the Royal Military College Duntroon, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Civil Engineering), the Australian Staff College, the Joint Services Staff College, and the United States Army War College. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia, and a member of many Australian and international institutions and societies.

He and his wife, Lorraine, have been married for 40 years. They have three children and six grand children. Both General and Mrs Sanderson enjoy music, theatre and the visual arts and are keen walkers, cyclists and golfers.

Official statement of the powers of the Western Australian Governor, as posted on the Government House website.

The constitutional laws of Western Australia provide for a Governor to represent the Sovereign as Head of State.

The Governor’s role includes important constitutional, ceremonial and community functions. In performing these functions the Governor is required to act in an entirely apolitical way.

Before the granting of self-government to Western Australia, Governors were appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the United Kingdom Government. Since the Australia Acts 1986, the Governor is appointed on the advice of the Premier and may be dismissed only by the Sovereign on the advice of the Premier. The Governor is now no longer subject to the control, supervision or veto of the Sovereign or the United Kingdom Government. Since the Australia Acts were passed in 1986 by the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom at the request of all State Parliaments, the Governor acts on the advice of the Premier, Ministers and Executive Council.

The Governor’s powers and functions are set out in the Letters Patent, under which the Governor is appointed, and the Constitution Act 1889. These include:

  • presiding over Executive Council;
  • appointing Ministers, Judges, Magistrates and Justices of the Peace;
  • fixing the time and place for each session of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council; and the proroguing and dissolving of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council;
  • accepting the resignation of members of the Legislative Council;
  • appointing the President of the Legislative Council;
  • issuing writs for general elections; and
  • taking, or authorising some person to take, the oath or affirmation of allegiance from members of the Houses of Parliament.

The Governor signs and approves Treasury authorities for the appropriation of funds for the running of the State. A vote, resolution or Bill for the spending of public money cannot be passed by the Western Australian Parliament unless the Governor sends a message to the Legislative Assembly recommending it. In each of these things the Governor acts on the advice of the Premier.

All Bills passed by the Western Australian Parliament require the Governor’s signature before they become law (i.e. an Act). The appointment of senior officials in the public sector require the formal approval of the Governor in Executive Council.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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