Five facts about the Governor-General

Five facts about the Governor-General

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Image of the Hon David John Hurley AC DSC (Retd)

His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) was sworn in as the Commonwealth of Australia’s 27th Governor-General on 1 July 2019.

The Governor-General has a unique role to play in the Australian landscape. The role takes him across Australia, and the world, performing different activities every single day – many of them going unseen.

So here’s five facts about the role of the Governor-General you might not have known:

  1. The Governor-General plays an integral role in maintaining positive relationships with Australia’s foreign counterparts. In addition to welcoming visiting Heads of State to Australia and representing Australia at overseas events, one of his ceremonial duties is to receive the credentials of all incoming Ambassadors and High Commissioners.
  2. Got a milestone coming up? You might just receive a letter from the Governor-General, who sends congratulatory messages to Australians who achieve significant milestones in their lives. These include individuals celebrating their 100th birthday or couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
  3. The Governor-General is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. 
  4. The Governor-General has specific constitutional and statutory powers. The Governor-General acts on the advice of Ministers who are responsible to Parliament (and ultimately, through elections, the Australian people).
  5. Taking residence in Government House and Admiralty House means the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley will open the doors of their home to tens of thousands of different guests each year, from foreign dignitaries to school children. Each year more than 25,000 school children tour Government House to learn about our history and the role of the Governor-General. Open Days are held regularly, allowing members of the public to walk through their residence (check out a virtual tour of Government House) - it is well worth doing if you get the chance!

(Source: The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia website)