May 22

Restoring confidence in the office of the governor of Tasmania

A public relations campaign is to be launched to revive public confidence in Tasmanian governors after the Richard Butler debacle, according to The Australian, 20 May 2005.

The state budget makes provision to prepare programs to " promote a wider understanding of the activities and role" of the governor.

The Premier, Mr Paul Lennon is to be congratulated on this initiative. He did not recommend the appointment of Mr Butler, but he was widely commended for the way in which he ensured that the conventions surrounding the office were to be observed. While this new budgetary measure includes plans to " bring a wider range of people" to Government House, there is no suggestion that Mr Lennon is going to follow Mr Bob Carr in evicting the governor from the NSW Government House, a senseless and expensive assault on the independence of the office.

 One of the criticisms levelled at Richard Butler was that the very rank and file organisation, the Order of St John, had to move its traditional annual function from Government House to St Davids Cathedral, and that the Governor had refused to accept office in the Order as a Deputy Prior. It is good that Mr Lennon clearly understands and respects the role and function of the Governor, now the widely respected former chief justice, the Hon. William Cox.

Until next time,

David Flint


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