The office of Governor is established by the Constitution of Queensland. Section 29 of the Constitution as passed in 2001 provides that the office of Governor must exist and be appointed by the Sovereign, but parts of the earlier Constitution Act of 1867 relating to the Governor are still in force owing to the double entrenchment of them within the constitution by the government of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who feared that the office and powers of state Governor might be abolished following the controversies of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis at a federal level.
In accordance with the conventions of the Westminster system of parliamentary government, the Governor nearly always acts solely on the advice of the head of the elected government, the Premier of Queensland. Nevertheless, the Governor retains the reserve powers of the Crown, and has the right to appoint and dismiss Ministers, issue pardons, and dissolve Parliament.
The Queensland constitution expressly provides that the Governor is not subject to direction by any person and is not limited as to the Governor's sources of advice on the appointment or dismissal of Ministers (s. 35), another provision inserted by the Bjelke-Petersen government in the wake of the 1975 federal dismissal. This provision worked against Bjelke-Petersen when, in the dying days of his government in November 1987, he tried and failed to convince Governor Sir Walter Campbell to remove several ministers to shore up his own support within Parliament. When the parliamentary wing of the National Party deposed Bjelke-Petersen and elected one of the dissident ministers, Mike Ahern, as new Leader of the National Party, Sir Joh initially refused to resign as Premier and Sir Walter resisted calls to dismiss him. Sir Joh elected to resign on 1 December 1987.
The Governor is head of the Executive Council, a Queensland equivalent to the Federal Executive Council. The Council is composed of ministers from the government of the day. The Chief Justice of Queensland and other judges in the Queensland judicial system are appointed by the Governor acting on the advice of the Executive Council.