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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Contents >> Government >> The Governor-General

THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL

The Governor-General is the representative of the Sovereign, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Australian Prime Minister.

His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC, CVO, MC (Retd) has been Governor-General since 11 August 2003.


Powers and functions

The Governor-General exercises the executive power of the Commonwealth of Australia on the advice of the Prime Minister. Certain other powers and functions conferred by the Constitution include the powers to:

  • appoint times for holding the sessions of the Parliament
  • prorogue Parliament
  • dissolve the House of Representatives
  • dissolve the House of Representatives and the Senate in the event of a double dissolution
  • cause writs to be issued for general elections of members of the House of Representatives
  • assent in the Queen's name to a proposed law passed by both Houses of the Parliament
  • appoint ministers of state for the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Governor-General, 'as the Queen's representative', is Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force.

Many Acts of the Commonwealth Parliament provide that the Governor-General may make Regulations to give effect to such Acts. The Governor-General may also be authorised by statute to issue proclamations, for example, to declare an Act in force. The Governor-General has been given power by statute to legislate for certain Australian territories.The Governor-General also possesses what are referred to as 'reserve powers'. These may be used without the advice of the Prime Minister, but are used only in times of political uncertainty.

The Queen may appoint an Administrator of the Commonwealth when the Governor-General is out of the country, ill, or when the position of Governor-General is vacant. By convention, the longest-serving state governor is appointed as Administrator.

Pictures of all holders of the office can be found below.

    Image - Rt Hon. John Adrian Louis Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun
    Image - Rt Hon. Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson
    Image - Rt Hon. Henry Stafford Northcote, 1st Baron Northcote
    Rt Hon. John Adrian Louis Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun,
    PC, KT, GCMG, GCVO
    Rt Hon. Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson,
    PC, GCMG
    Rt Hon. Henry Stafford Northcote, 1st Baron Northcote,
    PC, GCMG, GCIE, CB
    1901–03
    1903–04
    1904–08
    Image - Rt Hon. William Humble Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley
    Image - Rt Hon. Thomas Denman, 3rd Baron Denman
    Image - Rt Hon. Sir Ronald Craufurd Munro-Ferguson
    Rt Hon. William Humble Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley,
    PC, GCB, GCMG, GCVO
    Rt Hon. Thomas Denman, 3rd Baron Denman,
    PC, GCMG, KCVO
    Rt Hon. Sir Ronald Craufurd Munro-Ferguson,
    GCMG
    1908–11
    1911–14
    1914–20
    Image - Rt Hon. Henry William Forster, 1st Baron Forster
    Image - Rt Hon. John Lawrence Baird, 1st Baron Stonehaven
    Image - Rt Hon. Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs
    Rt Hon. Henry William Forster, 1st Baron Forster,
    PC, GCMG
    Rt Hon. John Lawrence Baird, 1st Baron Stonehaven,
    PC, GCMG, DSO
    Rt Hon. Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs,
    GCB, GCMG, KC
    1920–25
    1925–31
    1931–36
    Image - Brigadier-General the Rt  Hon. Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven, 1st Baron Gowrie
    Image - His Royal Highness Prince Henry William Frederick Albert, Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster and Baron Cullodenj
    Image - Rt Hon. Sir William John McKell
    Brigadier General the Rt Hon. Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven, 1st Baron Gowrie,
    VC, PC, GCMG, CB, DSO, KGStJ
    His Royal Highness Prince Henry William Frederick Albert, Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster and Baron Culloden
    KG, PC, KT, KP, GCB, GCMG, GCVO
    Rt Hon. Sir William John McKell,
    GCMG, QC
    1936–45
    1945–47
    1947–53
    Image - Field Marshal Sir William Joseph Slim
    Image - Rt Hon. William Shepherd Morrison, 1st Viscount Dunrossil
    Image - Rt Hon. William Phillip Sidney De L'Isle, 1st Viscount De Lisle
    Field Marshal Sir William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim (Yarralumla and Bishopston),
    KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC, KStJ
    Rt Hon. William Shepherd Morrison, 1st Viscount Dunrossil,
    PC, GCMG, MC, KStJ, QC
    Rt Hon. William Phillip Sidney De L'Isle, 1st Viscount De Lisle,
    VC, PC, GCMG, GCVO, KStJ
    1953–60
    1960–61
    1961–65
    Image - Rt Hon. Richard Gardiner Casey, Baron Casey
    Image - Rt Hon. Sir Paul Meernaa Caedwalla Hasluck
    Image - Rt Hon. Sir John Robert Kerr
    Rt Hon. Richard Gardiner Casey, Baron Casey,
    KG, PC, GCMG, CH, DSO, MC, KStJ
    Rt Hon. Sir Paul Meernaa Caedwalla Hasluck,
    GCMG, GCVO, KStJ
    Rt Hon. Sir John Robert Kerr,
    AK, GCMG, KStJ, QC
    1965–69
    1969–74
    1974–77
    Image - Rt Hon. Sir Zelman Cowan
    Image - Rt Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen
    Image - The Honourable  William George Hayden
    Rt Hon. Sir Zelman Cowan,
    AK, GCMG, GCVO, KStJ, QC
    Rt Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen,
    KG, AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE
    The Honourable William
    George Hayden
    ,
    AC
    1977–82
    1982–89
    1989–96
    Image - The Honourable Sir William Patrick Deane
    Image - The Right Reverend Dr Peter John Hollingworth
    Image - His Excellency, Major General Michael Jeffery
    The Honourable Sir William Patrick Deane,
    AC, KBE
    The Right Reverend Dr Peter Hollingworth,
    AC, OBE
    His Excellency, Major General Michael Jeffery,
    AC, CVO, MC (Retd)
    1996–2001
    2001–03
    2003–
    LIST OF HONOURS, AND QUALIFICATIONS AWARDED TO AUSTRALIAN GOVERNORS-GENERAL
      AC
    Companion of the Order of Australia
      AK
    Knight of the Order of Australia
      CB
    Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
      CH
    Companion of Honour
      CVO
    Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
      DSO
    Companion of the Distinguished Service Order
      GBE
    Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
      GCB
    Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
      GCIE
    Knight Grand Cross of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire
      GCMG
    Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
      GCVO
    Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
      KBE
    Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
      KC
    Kings Council
      KCVO
    Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
      KG
    Knight of the Garter
      KGStJ
    Knight of Grace, Order of St John of Jerusalem
      KP
    Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick
      KStJ
    Knight, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem
      KT
    Knight of the Thistle
      MC
    Military Cross
      OBE
    Officer of the Order of the British Empire
      PC
    Privy Councillor
      QC
    Queens Council
      VC
    Victoria Cross





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