1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
   Page tools: Print Print Page  
Contents >> Government >> The Governor-General

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

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;
  • 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;
  • choose and summon Executive Councillors, who hold office during the Governor-General's pleasure; and
  • appoint Ministers of State for the Commonwealth of Australia.

In addition, the Governor-General, as the Queen's representative, is Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces. 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 of the Australian Territories.

The Governor-General also has 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.

Holders of office

The present Governor-General is His Excellency the Right Reverend Dr Peter John Hollingworth, AO, OBE.

Those persons who have held the office of Governor-General from the inception of the Commonwealth of Australia are pictured below.

Rt Hon. John Adrian Louis,
Rt Hon. Hallam,
Rt Hon. Henry Stafford,
Rt Hon. William Humble,
Earl of Hopetoun,
Baron Tennyson,
Baron Northcote,
Earl of Dudley,
P.C., K.T., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O.
P.C., G.C.M.G.
P.C., G.C.M.G., G.C.I.E., C.B.
P.C., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O.

Rt Hon. Thomas,
Rt Hon. Sir Ronald
Rt Hon. Henry William,
Rt Hon. John Lawrence,
Baron Denman,
Craufurd Munro-Ferguson,
Baron Forster of Lepe,
Baron Stonehaven,
P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C.V.O.
P.C., G.C.M.G.
P.C., G.C.M.G., D.S.O.

Rt Hon. Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs,
Brigadier-General the Rt Hon. Alexander Gore Arkwright,
Baron Gowrie,
His Royal Highness Prince Henry William Frederick Albert, Duke of Gloucester,
Rt Hon. Sir William John McKell,
G.C.B., G.C.M.G., K.C.
V.C., P.C.,G.C.M.G., C.B., D.S.O., K.G.St.J.
K.G., P.C., K.T., K.P., G.C.B., G.C.M.G.,G.C.V.O.
G.C.M.G., Q.C.

Field Marshal Sir William
Rt Hon. William Shepherd,
Rt Hon. William Phillip,
Rt Hon. Richard Gardiner,
Joseph Slim,
Viscount Dunrossil,
Viscount De Lisle,
Baron Casey,
K.G., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., G.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., K.St.J.
P.C., G.C.M.G., M.C., K.St.J., Q.C.
V.C., P.C., G.C.M.G.,G.C.V.O., K.St.J.
K.G., P.C., G.C.M.G., C.H., D.S.O., M.C., K.St.J.

Rt Hon. Sir Paul Hasluck,
Rt Hon. Sir John Robert Kerr,
Rt Hon. Sir Zelman Cowan,
Rt Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen,
G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., K.St.J.
A.K., G.C.M.G., K.St.J., Q.C.
A.K., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., K.St.J., Q.C.
A.K., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., K.B.E.

His Excellency, Hon. William
George Hayden
Sir William Patrick Deane,
A.C., K.B.E

Previous PageNext Page