This is the latest of a series of reports on this subject. These can be accessed by clicking on this icon on the front page , left hand column of the front page of this site, www.norepublic.com.au
A separate section can be found on the role and function of the NSW Governor; go down the same column and click on this icon:
You can hear Alan Jones latest broadcast on returning the Governor to Government House here ( 2GB 16/6: interview with Professor Flint)
Former NSW Premier Bob Carr's surprise 1996 decision to throw the Governor of New South Wales out of Government House was a disaster. Former Prime Minister Paul Keating blamed Carr’s action for the loss of the Federal election that year.
The protest demonstration called by ACM was one of the most peaceful and largest held in Sydney. And it was not about the wages and conditions of those taking part.
Over 20,000 people assembled between Parliament House and Government House. Over 60,000 signed a petition to Parliament calling on Carr to reverse his decision.
All of the public reasons given, including cost, were proven wrong. What was even more disturbing was the one Carr revealed when he left office to work as a consultant for Macquarie Bank on a reputed half million dollar annual retainer.
...saving Carr’s face…
To save face, successive governments devised a plan to show that Carr was half right. This was to put the Governor in the secretary's house, which is behind Government House.
Then Government House could remain a museum – a museum curiously also used for political photo and political opportunities.
Now it may well be that in this day and age it may be more convenient and comfortable to live in the secretary’s house.
There is an important principle here. It has to do with the independence, real and perceived, of the Governor. Remember that Carr admitted after he left office that the reason for his action was the reserve powers. The Governor must be independent and be seen to be independent.
It is not for the government of New South Wales to put the Governor into a house behind Government House. The whole viceregal domain should be placed here and now under the control of the Governor, as it was for all of the life of the State, except for the period from 1996 to 2011.
Where the Governor actually sleeps is his or her business and not the government's. Government House should no longer be a museum under the control of the Historic Houses Trust. It should be returned for the purpose for which it was built.
ACM has written to the Premier, the hon. Barry O'Farrell along these lines.
This issue was discussed on Thursday on Australia’s leading public affairs programme. This can be heard here.