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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…]


Governor-General Attacked And Defended

The Governor-General, Michael Jeffery, has been attacked by a newspaper columnist, prompting a rare public defence from Government House.

The Governor-General’s Official Secretary, Malcolm Hazell, has written to the Brisbane Courier-Mail defending his boss against the charge of having “risen without trace”. Hazell has outlined the range of activities the Governor-General has been involved in, including 850 speeches and 750 official functions since his appointment in 2003.

This is the text of the article by Mike O’Connor in the Brisbane Courier-Mail on February 3, 2008.

Governor-General stirs into action over cricket issue

There is nothing quite like the prospect of joining the ranks of the unemployed to galvanise a body into action. [Read more…]