Jan 18, 2008

The Role Of The Governor-General

Our concern at the politicisation of the office of the Governor-General by the appointment of a partisan Official Secretary at Government House has certainly stirred the pot. On the right we have people talking Coup d'etat and on the left we are being called ridiculous and being told we don't understand our constitutional law, that it is all set down in the Cabinet Office Manual, the GG has no discretion etc.

Well we don't like being told that we don't understand constitutional law or that we don't know the contents of the Cabinet Office Manual. In fact we know this very well. And it is for this reason we are concerned. We quote (from the manual):

1.7 The office of Governor-General is apolitical. By convention, the Governor-General
avoids becoming overtly involved in the “party politics” of government, despite having
an integral place in the formal process of government.
1.8 In exercising the powers and functions of office, the Governor-General, like the
Sovereign, acts on the advice of Ministers. This advice is tendered either within the
forum of the Executive Council, or directly to the Governor-General by the Prime
Minister or another Minister of the Crown. By convention, the Governor-General will
act on the advice of Ministers unless the government of the day has lost the support of
the House of Representatives.
1.9 Similarly, the Governor-General will act on the advice of the Prime Minister so long as
the Prime Minister appears to command the support of the House.
1.10 Only in a very few cases may the Governor-General exercise a degree of personal
discretion, under what are known as the “reserve powers” (and even then convention
usually dictates what decision should be taken).

Now do you see our reason for concern??

And since when does expressing concern about the politicisation of the public service and breaking with convention make one "right wing"?