Thursday, June 02, 2016

Her Maj Rules in Oz

The Queen can't visit us anymore as she is too old to travel in luxury for such long distances. Luckily she has her representatives in Australia, except she does not pay for them. We do. It really is a ridiculous thing, but if we rid ourselves of The Queens representatives, others would take their place in similar roles. They mostly do good works in the community, opening metaphorical fetes etc, but they do have to put their signatures to any government legislation. 

You need some information. The Commonwealth of Australia has a Governor General, technically appointed by The Queen, but it is on the advice of our Federal Government. At the moment it is a bloke but the previous one was a woman and the first female Governor General of Australia, Quentin Bryce.

Then each state has a Governor, also technically appointed by The Queen, but practically, on the advice of the State Governments. 

Governor sounds quite blokey, yes? Dame Roma Michell was the first female governor in Australia, appointed as Governor of the State of South Australia in 1991. Oddly, while the state capital of South Australia, Adelaide, is described as the city of churches, it has always been quite socially progressive.

Then there is the Northern Territory, another case altogether. The NT does not want to become a state as its status as an Australian territory means it is funded by the Federal Government. It is not a state and so does not have a Governor but it does have an Administrator, appointed by Australia's Governor General, remembering that the GG is The Queen's rep in Australia, but the appointment is on the advice of the Federal Government, but of course also in consultation with the Government of the Northern Territory.

I am not going to list all the female Governors of Australia, but I think every state has had at least one. At the moment the balance is:

New South Wales, male
Victoria, female
South Australia, male
Western Australia, female
Queensland, male
Tasmania, female

All very nicely balanced until you add in the Northern Territory Administrator, male.

Nearly oops, forgot the ACT. I felt EC drumming her fingers at my neglect.  Unlike the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory does not have an Administrator. It has the seat of our federal government in the city of Canberra and The Queen is represented in the ACT by our Governor General of Australia, a male.

Does the Governor General and the Governors have any real power. They do indeed. They must sign off on legislation before it becomes law and they do this in the name of The Queen. In 1975 in the name of The Queen, the Governor General of Australia sacked Australia's Prime Minister. 

20 comments:

  1. Sigh. And since 'self-government' was forced on us, we WOULD like to become a state. Not least because then the Feds couldn't change our laws at their whim.

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    1. EC, like the marriage laws, important to me as Sister and Bone Doctor were married in your city for the brief time it was allowed. Howard annulled their marriage.

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  2. I suppose it's no different to here. The Queen asks the head of the winning political party to be the Prime Minister and select a government. Here though she has a weekly meeting with the PM to see what he's been up to. I wonder if she skypes yours. What she says in the meetings is never revealed and publicly she never makes a political statement.

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    1. Truly Marie, I think the contact would be quite infrequent between here and Her Maj as there is really no need for it. I remember reports of frosty meetings between Her Maj and Thatcher during Thatcher's peak of power. With my republican hat on, why would an independent country such as Australia need to continue this connection?

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    2. Must be because you love us so much!

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  3. Good topic Andrew!

    The idea of admiring a royal head of state just because their great, great, great grandpa was a ruler of some European principality seems too silly for words. But the idea of a head of state having political power to intervene in a democratically elected Parliament (a la France or the USA) fills me with dread.

    If Australia ever leaves the monarchy, I want a personal guarantee that no future head of state will ever intervene in Australian democracy. If he/she does anything but open Olympic Games, head up national charities and give rousing Christmas speeches, I would be having a good look at Britain, Canada or New Zealand as a future home.

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    1. Hels, I agree totally with you on your opinion of heads of state. It was Howard's doing, to phrase the referendum on independence in such a way that Australia rejected it. It was not what we wanted. The weather is probably better in New Zealand.

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  4. Why did she not retire at 65 like the rest of the world and all these heads of state do they really do much.
    Merle..........

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    1. A valid point Merle. She is quite old, but she does seem to have her head together. They are ceremonial roles, but what price to put on them? I don't know.

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  5. Steeped in history is the monarchy. Battles, double crossing etc. fought thousand of years ago, the winner the King. Many women tried to be Queen but it never happened for years to come...interesting history.

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    1. Margaret, I think to my regret I never selected English or European history at school, and I rather wish I had. I am quite ignorant about both, mostly knowing what I have learnt in later life.

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  6. All those governors! I had no idea, which shows how ignorant I am when it comes to politics. I knew about the GG of course.
    Anyway, with them and all the others who come after, MPs and such, I fear there may be altogether far too many chiefs among us Indians.

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    1. River, and then the governors have staff as well, along with workers to look after their palaces, that we pay for too. I like the way Gosia expresses it below, too many clerks.

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    1. Indeed Gosia, you are so right.

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  8. oh Hels if Her Maj had retired at 65 we'd have had decades of that dumbcluck son. I like her because she stays out of the fray. all monarchies are silly and I cite The Marx Bros Hail Hail Freedonia ....

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    1. Annie, Chas has never been given a chance to prove himself. He may not have been so bad. It now looks like we will jump a generation. I don't know that movie but the plot outline sounds good.

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  9. I can't believe that in 200 years Australia will still have a foreigner living in a foreign country as our Head of State. If we do, then at least I will be six feet under and blissfully unaware of that fact.

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    1. Victor, I would put my money on us not have a foreign head in 200 hundred years. One day a smart politician will see a way to get rid of the foreign ruler to his or her advantage. Post 1975 and Kerr, it hasn't seemed to have mattered too match. Good to see a lot of woman have had the role bestowed on them, and no surprise, Australia did not implode.

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    2. I hate doing this, but match = much.

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