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Howard Announces Appointment of Major-General Michael Jeffery As New Governor-General

The former Governor of Western Australia, Major-General Michael Jeffery, is to be Australia’s next Governor-General.

The announcement was made today by the Prime Minister, John Howard.

Jeffery will be Australia’s 24th Governor-General. He will take up the position on August 11.

Text of the media statement released by the Prime Minister, John Howard, announcing the appointment of Australia’s 24th Governor-General.


JefferyI am pleased to announce that Her Majesty The Queen has accepted my recommendation to appoint Major-General Michael Jeffery, AC,CVO,MC as Australia’s next Governor-General.

While the appointment, when formally made, will be at royal pleasure, it is expected that General Jeffery will serve between three and four years.

General Jeffery has a long and distinguished record of public service. He was Governor of Western Australia from 1993 to 2000, during which period he twice served as Administrator of the Commonwealth. General Jeffery is currently Chairman of the not-for-profit public policy think-tank, Future Directions International.

He was born in Wiluna, Western Australia in 1937 and was educated at Cannington and East Victoria Park State Schools and Kent Street High School.

After attending the Royal Military College, Duntroon, General Jeffery served with distinction in the Australian Defence Force in many capacities until 1993. During a tour of duty in Vietnam, as an infantry company commander with the 8th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, he was awarded the Military Cross for courageous action and the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

In 1976 he assumed command of the SAS regiment in Perth and was subsequently promoted to Colonel as the first Director of the Army’s Special Action Forces. From 1981-1983 he headed Australia’s national counter terrorist co-ordination authority.

After attending the Royal College of Defence Studies in London, and promoted to Major-General, from 1986 General Jeffery commanded the Army’s 15,000-man 1st Division. He later served as Deputy Chief of the General Staff, responsible for the day to day running of a 65,000 person army.

General Jeffery will be the first Australian born Governor-General to have had a full-time military career.

It was during his time in Papua New Guinea with the 1st Battalion, the Pacific Islands Regiment that, in 1967, he married Marlena Kerr from Manly, Sydney. He and
Marlena have three sons, one daughter and four grandchildren.

General and Mrs Jeffery have in recent years made their home in Canberra.

I am sure that this appointment will be warmly welcomed throughout the Australian community.

The swearing in of General Jeffery as Governor-General will take place in the Senate Chamber on 11 August 2003. Further details of the ceremony will be announced later.

Sir Guy Green, Governor of Tasmania, will continue to administer the Commonwealth of Australia until the swearing in of the new Governor-General.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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