November 14

Governors in their place

[ *This letter was published  in the Sunday Telegraph, the newspaper which  commands the largest circulation in the nation. It appeared on 14 November 2010 under this heading, but with the deletion of the words in italics and the formal words.]

Dear Editor, 

Are you really saying the Governor or the Lieutenant Governor should not receive visitors over dinner at Government House (“Judges $5000 dinner”, Sunday Telegraph 7/11) ?  Are we to be the only capital in the world where the head of state cannot offer this courtesy?

You say the Governor does not live there to save money. The Auditor General found it cost $600,000 more to provide  the Governor with a city office and have her live in the suburbs – apart from the enormous inconvenience it is for her.

Until Bob Carr turned the governors out of their purpose built home and office, they did not have to go to an outside caterer to have a function at Government House. If the Governor lived there the cost of the odd dinner would be marginal.


It means a person who doesn’t already have a house in Sydney cannot be appointed – an insult to country New South Wales.

…Carr's justifications all failed… 

Carr’s public reasons all failed. It did not save money, make the place more accessible, allow the governor to be part time, unconstitutionally head a statutory agency, or stop him or her from mixing with the people. After all, there are occasions when we need someone who is above politics.

Carr hinted at another reason when he quipped “This one’s for Jack Lang”

(The Governor Sir Philip Game dismissed Jack Lang as Premier in 1932 when, despite warnings, he persisted in illegal activities).

After Carr retired, he admitted he evicted the governors because of the “potentially corrupting role of the vice regal office”.

This was a warning to our governors and governors-general not to take their reserve powers seriously. Happily it hasn’t worked.

The next NSW government must return the governor to Government House.

Yours Sincerely ,
David Flint,
National Convenor

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy


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