Talk:Governors of the Australian states

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earlier comment[edit]

I will fix the lists of governors of the remaining three states tomorrow. Adam 13:03, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)


anyone else think this needs some subheads? (quick look) --Samwisebruce 17:42, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Australia Act[edit]

I read somewhere that the Australia Act 1986 removed any role that Britain had in the appointing of Australian Governors. If this is true, then it should be mentioned in the article. Snottygobble | Talk 05:04, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

It's not true, AFAIK. But then, what do you mean by "Britain"? The Premiers of the States of Australia still advise/tell the Queen who to appoint, much like the Prime Minister has his nomination appointed Governor-General. The Australia Act certainly didn't replace the process with the Canadian model, whereby the Prime Minister would nominate State Governors, if that's what you're referring to.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 07:37, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

The Queen they advise is the Queen of Australia, so Britain plays no role whatever in the appointment of state governors. Adam 09:12, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

  • I see your points.

I went digging back through my reading, and found the paragraph. This is from Boyce, Peter. Introduction, in Black, David (ed) (1991). The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832–1990. Parliament of Western Australia, Perth:

"Between 1890 and the proclamation of the Australia Acts in 1986 responsible government in Western Australia, as in the other Australian states, was qualified by subordination to the British Parliament in the event of legislation repugnant to imperial statute, and by sections of the State Constitution itself, chiefly section 73. The Australia Acts removed all forms of subordination to the Westminster Parliament just as they eliminated any role for the British Government in appointing or directing the functions of the State Governors. The passage of these Acts leaves the federal Constitution's division of powers between national and State Parliaments as the sole limitation on the latter's legislative competence."

Note that the above quote says that the Australia Act eliminated any role for the British Government, which includes both the British Parliament and the Queen of England. But not, as you say, the Queen of Australia. Snottygobble | Talk 12:00, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

The passage states "qualified by the event of legislation repugnant to imperial statute". I would take this to mean WA was suboridinate insofar as the British Parliament could (theorectically, of course,) repeal and/or modify the Act by which it achieved self-governance. But, on second thought, because no equivalent of the Statute of Westminster was ever passed in respect of the States, you are probably right that the British Parliament still had a (theorectical) power to advise the Queen vis-à-vis the Governors. If this is to be mentioned in the article, I would suggest that we state that it was the British Parliament - as including the Queen and the Government - that retained a theoretical power to influence the appointment of Governor, rather than the "British Government". It should probably also be noted that convention dictated contrary to this. --Cyberjunkie | Talk 15:10, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
(Oh, and there is no "Queen of England". She ended way back in 1707 ;-))--Cyberjunkie | Talk 15:14, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Subordination didn't just mean that self-governance could be repealed; it was much more than that. The governor had Royal Instructions to reserve any bill that was potentially contrary to British law or interests. And it wasn't just theoretical; I can think of one situation, I think in the 1950s, where the Governor of WA reserved a bill that discriminated against asians, because it was potentially contrary to British (i.e. British commonwealth) interests. The Royal Instructions existed until they were withdrawn by the issuing of a new Letters Patent following the passage of the Australia Act.
I think we all agree that the Australia Act 1986 played an important role in redefining the function/role/powers of the Governor of the Australian States. I think this should be mentioned in the article, but I don't have the expertise to tackle it. After reading Talk:Queen of Australia this morning, I suspect that Adam is the best person to decide whether/how to action this. Snottygobble | Talk 00:12, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't think the Australia Act redefined the role of the Governors per se, but rather confirmed what had been the pratice. It would good if we could provide an example of an instant where a Governor acted upon Royal Instructions; the WA example sounds good. --Cyberjunkie | Talk 03:59, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Was just reading up an unrelated issue, but I came across something related to this. It appears that prior to the Australia Act, the States did not in fact advise directly to the Queen. Rather, they advised the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary (in essence, the evolved Colonial Secretary) of their nomination for Governor. The Secretary would then advise the Queen (on their behalf) before their appointment would be confirmed. The Australia Act thus did redefine the procedure by which State Governors were appointed, as well as removing the legislative power of the British Parliament over the States. This is described as a "colonial relic" (something Keating is fond of saying) and a "vestige of the time when Britain retained a rarely invoked ultimate legislative authority in relation to the self-governing colonies" (vide D. McDougall, Australian Foreign Relations: Contemporary Perspectives, Longman, South Melbourne, 1998, p.98). It was apparently at the request of the States that the Statute of Westminster did not earlier abrogate this. --Cyberjunkie | Talk 03:47, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

The states were adamant that nothing in the Statute of Westminster should affect their independent relationship with the Crown. From memory, there is a clause in the Statute making this clear. Adam 03:56, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Section 9, Clause 2 (and possibly s.9(i)) would seem to apply:

(2) Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to require the concurrence of the Parliament or Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, in any law made by the Parliament of the United Kingdom with respect to any matter within the authority of the States of Australia, not being a matter within the authority of the Parliament or Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, in any case where it would have been in accordance with the constitutional practice existing before the commencement of this Act that the Parliament of the United Kingdom should make that law without such concurrence.

--Cyberjunkie | Talk 04:24, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Yes. And of course the states still have an independent relationship with the Crown. The only thing that has changed is that the Crown is now the Crown of Australia rather than the Crown of the United Kingdom. Adam 04:46, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

But was the relationship entirely independent prior to the Australia Act? The Statute indicates that the States' relationship with the Crown was independent of the Commonwealth, but not of the British Parliament. The Australia Act maintained independence from the Commonwealth, but also allowed for direct communication between the States and the Queen, completely independent of the British Parliament.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 04:59, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Well, the Crown, whether in the UK or Australia, only acts on the advice of ministers. The question has been, which ministers advise the Crown on the appointment of state Governors? There are three candidates: (a) British ministers (b) Commonwealth ministers and (c) state ministers. In the 19th century British ministers, specifically the Colonial Secretary, advised the Crown on the appointment of colonial Governors. Through force of intertia, this practice remained undisturbed until quite recently (I don't know exactly when, but it was still in place in 1975, when Whitlam got the UK Labour government to revoke Sir Colin Hannah's dormant commission). When the Statute of Westminster was passed, the states were concerned that Commonwealth ministers would use the Statute to sever this independent relationship with the Crown (via UK ministers): hence the above clause. The Australia Act formally and finally excluded UK ministers from the process. State ministers now directly advise the Queen of Australia on the appointment of state Governors. Adam 06:15, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Part-time Governor?[edit]

The line that mentions that NSW has a 'part-time' Governor sounds biased towards the monarchists' case against having the Governor removed from Government House. Is the Governor oficially 'part-time'? Should this line be removed? Jleonau 07:25, 22 October 2006 (UTC)


How long are the terms of Governors? It seems from context (the discussion on Colin Hannah and either Marie Bashir or Governors of New South Wales) that Governors have fixed terms. What is the truth here? -Rrius (talk) 03:31, 19 March 2009 (UTC)