Friday, October 10, 2008

Of governors and presidents

from w
We are lucky ducks in Australia to have such a fine, competent, compassionate, smart Governor General - not like our cousins in places like USA or Fiji where the presidents have serious problems! (Not much explanation needed except that a court case concluded that the Fiji President has extraordinary powers that can even ratonalize a coup!) And our Australian Governor-General is a woman. Hoorah!
from today's Age - because she has been visiting the people along the Murray-Daling basin where continual drought has threatened not only the ecology of the rivers and land but the livelihoods of the farming communities.

Reaching out: Quentin Bryce does not intend to be a passive and speechless figurehead in the vice-regal role. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer

Governor-General has no taste for politics but believes that her bipartisan role doesn't have to be silent
Tony Wright
October 11, 2008

GOVERNOR-GENERAL QuentinBryce has defended her right tospeak out on social issues, andsays Australians have made itclear they want to discuss withher a wide range of mattersthat are important to them.

However, she told The Age she would never become involved in partisan politics or the political process.

The vice-regal traditional of bipartisanship was enormously significant, and highly valued by Australians.

"But that doesn't mean you can't express views and opinions on matters of importance to the community," she said.

The view that a governor-general's job should be little more than snipping ribbons to open flower shows was "a very old-fashioned idea".

Ms Bryce said she agreed with former governor-general Sir Zelman Cowen's description of the vice-regal role as "holding a mirror up to Australia".

In a long interview with The Age, Ms Bryce said her most important job was to be part of the Australian conversation, and most importantly, to listen.

She likened her job to that of a local council constantly organising social, cultural and sporting events to give people a sense of community by bringing them together and giving them a chance to discuss their lives.

The financial crisis and the drought "makes it more important than ever for people to get together and just ask 'How are you going'," she said. In such circumstances, people could look at friends doing it tough and say "Listen mate, you better go and see the shire counselling services", Ms Bryce said.

The Governor-General said women concerned by financial and family stresses had approached her during her week-long tour down the Darling and Murray rivers. They were among scores of people who had made it obvious from Bourke to Mildura that they wanted to draw her into discussion about their concerns about the environment, their families and their communities. etc. etc.
So, what is the role of a governor-general or a president?

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Blogger Penny said...

well she was supposed to come down to the lower lakes area but due to a ministerial stuff up I think she only flew over which would give her a better view any way. Have heard some very negative stuff about her from Qld friends, she is very labor and i thought GG's were supposed to be non political. She didnt get to the riverland and what can she do any way? Make it rain? They didnt want a horde of angry people confronting her.
She didnt seem to go down well in SA, but then labor is on the nose here any way, our esteemed leader away again, and only gives us the good news and there is not much of that at the moment.
Wont get political again!!

8:04 PM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Penny. Yes, as GG she has to be seen as impartial, absolutely. Maybe she does think though that mixing with people is better than just opening bunfights and cuttng ribbons. Perhaps she does really want to know what is happening. But as for water, the poor Murray River is suffering badly. I lived near the Murray as a child and we never thought then that it would become a problem.
And regarding political parties, my Dad was asked to stand for the Liberal seat in Swan Hill one time but with Mum and five kids to think about, he said he didn't want to go to Canberra.

12:53 AM  

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