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Is David Flint ( National Convenor since 1998) the republicans best asset, as some claim?
ACM Home arrow Royal Finances arrow A Sydney MPs Strange Obsession

A Sydney MPs Strange Obsession Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 31 May 2005

According to Malcolm Farr, MP Daryl Melham vows that if ever he were appointed governor-general he would resign from the Revesby Workers' Club. Mr Farr was writing in the Daily Telegraph on 30May, 2005 in a piece headed somewhat impertinently, “TIME FOR G-G TO FACE A FEW FACTS.”

Mr.Farr says this vow is no big deal.

Mr. Melham has been federal member for the Sydney electorate of Banks for the past 15 years, is vice-president of the Revesby club and was raised in the area.

Mr Melham seems to be unusually interested in matters vice-regal, and indeed royal. Since the election he has asked 21 questions on this. That is right. Twenty one questions! This must be a record. Answering a question is of course not inexpensive, and frankly it is difficult to see what the purpose of this campaign -and that is what it is- achieves. This was mirrored in the recent Senate Estimates hearing - another expensive and often wasteful indulgence -where a senator actually demanded to know whether the Governor-General is a freemason. This is surely a personal matter, of no concern to the examination of the nation’s accounts.

Mr Melham is a barrister, who worked as a public solicitor and public defender before he went into parliament in 1990. As an MP, he has been to Syria, The Lebanon, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. He was on the opposition front bench until 22 October 2004.

On his offer to resign from the Revesby Workers Club, a vast establishment in the western suburbs of Sydney, Malcolm Farr wrote:

“Mr. Melham would agree that porcine squadrons would need be airborne before he was given the vice-regal nod. He thinks he would be terrific in the job but doubts it will ever come his way.

Nevertheless, his offer of a Revesby Workers' Club sacrifice is not flippant.

Mr Melham wants to define and establish a principle: governors-general must divest themselves of outside allegiances, or at least publicly declare them, on taking office.

Otherwise, the public will not be able to determine whether questionable or politically biased organisations are benefiting by vice-regal association.

For example, Mr Melham says, the public should know whether the official residences of Yarralumla in Canberra and Admiralty House in Sydney are being used for non-public purposes when the governor-general hosts organisations there.”

Mr Farr points out that while the Masonic Lodge is not the secret organisation it once was and certainly does not constitute a criminal or dangerous body, Mr Melham does not approve like it because Masons do not admit women members, and he thinks a governor-general ought not to belong to a sexist group. For the same reasons, he disapproves of Mr Jeffery's membership of men-only clubs in Sydney and Melbourne.

That would make it difficult for a female viceroy. Most women’s clubs do not have male members, which I would have thought was their business, not that of an MP!

Malcolm Farr refers to some unsubstantiated rumours about the Governor-General, for example that he is pushy with ministers. But if he asks questions about the advice the ministers tender to him, that is surely his job.

But Mr Farr than says that from his knowledge, all he knows for a fact is that people who have witnessed investitures have admired how Major-General Jeffery (Mr Farr says “Mr Jeffery”, but that may be the house style of News Limited that is down on titles) has carefully prepared for each recipient of an award and been able to knowledgably and sympathetically discuss their work with them.

As Mr Farr says, the Governor-General gives good gong!

But just what is driving Mr Melham? Surely his feverish activity has not been authorised from above - although the Senate Estimates fiasco would give some credence to this scenario. Surely the compensation for going to the back bench is not some mission to denigrate our Governor-General? Surely no Opposition would waste its resources-and ours- on such an unworthy project one, one which is doomed from the start? I cannot believe that any opposition would be so foolish. So we must assume that this is a personal folly of Mr Melham. The voters in his electorate of Banks, whose lives are made so difficult by the many problems which those who live in Sydney have to face every day, would like him to put his efforts into measures to improve their lives.

As you may wish to know just what interests Mr Melham, his questions, and the answers given by the Prime Minister, and the Foreign Minister, follow.

Until next time,
David Flint

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governors-General

(Question No. 518)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 8 February 2005:

(1)

Were copies of Cabinet submissions and Cabinet minutes regularly provided to Sir William Deane and Dr Peter Hollingworth during their service as Governor-General.

(2)

Were Cabinet submissions provided to both the former Governors-General prior to their consideration by Cabinet.

(3)

Were there any categories of Cabinet documents that were not routinely circulated to the former Governors-General, for example, those relating to the office of the Governor-General.

(4)

Did the former Governors-General regularly receive copies of papers prepared for or arising from meetings of the National Security Committee of Cabinet.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)

No.

(2)

No.

(3)

Not applicable; see above.

(4)

No.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General

(Question No. 141)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

(1)

Does the Governor-General receive copies of Cabinet submissions and Cabinet Minutes.

(2)

Are Cabinet submissions provided to the Governor-General prior to their consideration by Cabinet.

(3)

Are there any categories of Cabinet documents that are not routinely circulated to the Governor-General, for example, those relating to the office of the Governor-General.

(4)

Does the Governor-General regularly receive copies of papers prepared for or arising from meetings of the National Security Committee of Cabinet.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)

The Governor-General receives copies of Cabinet Minutes except those relating to the National Security Committee and Cabinet Committee meetings held as part of the Budget process. He does not receive Cabinet submissions or memoranda.

(2)

No.

(3)

The Governor-General does not receive submissions, memoranda or other papers prepared for consideration by Cabinet or Cabinet Committees; nor does he receive any papers arising from meetings of the National Security Committee or from meetings of Cabinet Committees held as part of the Budget process.

(4)

No.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General

(Question No. 143 amended)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

Will he provide a complete list of the organisations for which (a) the Governor-General, and (b) Her Excellency Mrs Jeffrey have agreed to serve as Patron or Patron-in-Chief.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

On Monday 14 March 2005, (Hansard page 102), in response to Question on Notice No 143, I advised the House, based on advice provided by the Official Secretary to the Governor-General, of the organisations for which the Governor-General is Patron or Patron-in-Chief.

The Official Secretary has now advised that, contrary to the information provided to me earlier, the Governor-General is not Patron or Patron-in-Chief of the following organisations, but rather has the association described below:

Australia Club – Melbourne

Honorary Member

Australia Club –Sydney

Honorary Member

Bowral Golf Club

Honorary Lifetime Guest

Commonwealth Club

Honorary Member

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in Australia

National President

Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey  Memorial Fund

Honorary Member

Kurrajong-Waratah Industries

No association

Naval, Military and Air Force Club of South Australia

Honorary Member

Newcastle Club

Honorary Member

Order of St John of Jerusalem in Australia

Prior

Papua New Guinea Association of Australia

Personal Patron and Honorary Member

Proposed Bennelong Cultural Centre – Sydney

No association

Queensland Club

Honorary Member

Relationships Australia

Friend of

Royal Adelaide Golf Club

Honorary Member

Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club

Honorary Member

Royal Sydney Golf Club

Honorary Member

Special Air Service Regiment

Honorary Colonel

The American Club – Sydney

Honorary Member

Union Club of Sydney

Honorary Member

University and Schools Club

Honorary Member

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Lodge

Honorary Member

Western Australian Club

Honorary Member

 

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Federal Executive Council

(Question No. 146)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

(1)

For each financial year since 1996-97, how many meetings of the Federal Executive Council were presided over by (a) the Governor-General, (b) an Administrator of the Commonwealth, and (c) the Vice-President of the Executive Council.

(2)

For each financial year since 1996-97, how many meetings of the Federal Executive Council were attended by (a) him, (b), the Deputy Prime Minister, (c) the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and (d) the Vice-President of the Executive Council.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—I am advised that the answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)

For each financial year since 1996-97:

(a)

the Governor-General presided over:

32 meetings of the Federal Executive Council in 1996-97;

34 meetings in 1997-98;

24 meetings in 1998-99;

32 meetings in 1999-2000;

29 meetings in 2000-01;

31 meetings in 2001-02;

27 meetings in 2002-03;

22 meetings in 2003-04; and

15 meetings (so far) in 2004-05;

(b)

an Administrator of the Commonwealth presided over:

1 meeting of the Federal Executive Council in 1998-99;

1 meeting in 2000-01;

7 meetings in 2002-03;

7 meetings in 2003-04; and

no meetings in 1996-97, 1997-98, 1999-2000, 2001-02, and none so far in 2004-05; and

(c)

the Vice-President of the Executive Council has not presided over any meetings of the Federal Executive Council in any financial year since 1996-97 up to the present.

(2)

For each financial year since 1996-97:

(a)

I attended:

1 meeting of the Federal Executive Council in 1996-97;

3 meetings in 1997-98;

1 meeting in 1998-99;

no meetings in 1999-2000;

1 meeting in 2000-01;

1 meeting in 2001-02;

no meetings in 2002-03;

no meetings in 2003-04; and

1 meeting (so far) in 2004-05;

(b)

the Deputy Prime Minister attended:

2 meetings of the Federal Executive Council in 1996-97;

1 meeting in 1997-98;

2 meetings in 1998-99;

1 meeting in 1999-2000;

no meetings in 2000-01;

1 meeting in 2001-02;

1 meeting in 2002-03;

no meetings in 2003-04; and

1 meeting (so far) in 2004-05;

(c)

the Leader of the Government in the Senate attended:

1 meeting of the Federal Executive Council in 1996-97;

no meetings in 1997-98;

no meetings in 1998-99;

3 meetings in 1999-2000;

1 meeting in 2000-01;

2 meetings in 2001-02;

1 meeting in 2002-03;

no meetings in 2003-04; and

no meetings (so far) in 2004-05; and

(d)

the Vice-President of the Executive Council attended:

1 meeting of the Federal Executive Council in 1996-97;

1 meeting in 1997-98;

no meetings in 1998-99;

1 meeting in 1999-2000;

2 meetings in 2000-01;

no meetings in 2001-02;

no meetings in 2002-03;

1 meeting in 2003-04; and

no meetings (so far) in 2004-05.

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Overseas Travel

(Question No. 151)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

(1)

Which countries have been visited by (a) Sir William Deane, (b) Dr Peter Hollingworth, and (c) Major-General Michael Jeffery in their capacity as Australian Governor-General.

(2)

In respect of each visit, (a) when did it take place, and (b) what was its primary purpose.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s questions is as follows:

(1)

and (2) I am advised that information on the overseas travel undertaken by His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC, the Right Reverend Dr Peter Hollingworth AC OBE and Sir William Deane in their capacity as Governor-General can be found in the annual reports of the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General, which are available on the Governor-General’s web site. No relevant travel was undertaken between 1 July 2004 and the date of the question.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General

(Question No. 152)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

(1)

In respect of the Governor-General’s position under Section 2 of the Constitution as “Her Majesty’s representative in the Commonwealth” and the fact that the Governor-General cannot discharge his constitutional functions while outside Australia, is it necessary to seek formal approval from The Queen before the Governor-General travels overseas.

(2)

In granting approval for overseas travel by the Governor-General, is The Queen advised directly by the Prime Minister or is the advice conveyed to The Queen with the Prime Minister’s approval by the Governor-General.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)

and (2) There is no necessity to seek approval from The Queen before the Governor-General travels overseas. I am advised by the Official Secretary to the Governor-General that it is usual practice for the Official Secretary to advise the Private Secretary to The Queen when the Governor-General is absent from Australia and what arrangements have been put in place for the Administration of the Government of the Commonwealth.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Former Governor-General

(Question No. 157)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

What sum has been provided for facilities, accommodation, staff, travel arrangements etc. for the former Governor-General, Dr Peter Hollingworth, since his resignation as Governor-General on 28 May 2003.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—I am advised by my department that the answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The costs incurred during the period from Dr Hollingworth’s resignation to 31 December 2004 are provided in the following table.

Item

Cost

Property Operating Expenses

$200,302

Fitout for permanent accommodation

$240,898

Staff

$110,268

Support

$61,632

Travel (including vehicles)

$35,575

Total

$648,675

The support provided to Dr Hollingworth as former Governor-General is consistent with that provided to all former Governors-General and the costs incurred are comparable.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Federal Executive Council

(Question No. 251)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 1 December 2004:

(1)

During 2003-2004, were any Executive Council Minutes not approved by the Governor-General-in-Council at the Federal Executive Council meeting at which the Minute was first considered; if so, how many.

(2)

On how many occasions during 2003-2004 did the Governor-General, before approving an Executive Council Minute, seek information and/or advice from the Government in addition to that contained in the relevant Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Minute.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)

The deliberations of the Federal Executive Council are confidential.

(2)

As above.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Order of St John

(Question No. 559)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 10 February 2005:

Is it still the Australian Government’s position, as stated by the then Prime Minister in answer to question No. 27 (Hansard, 22 March 1977, page 470), that the Order of St John in Australia (a) is a private organisation, (b) that any awards that it might make to its members are for the organisation to determine and are not a matter involving the Government, and (c) that its awards are not part of the Government’s recognised honours system and hence have no official recognition.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(a) and (b) The government’s position has not changed. (c) As stated by the then Prime Minister in answer to question No. 2000 (Hansard, 24 October 1989, p. 1782), the Order of St John is listed in the Australian Order of Precedence of Honours and Awards because of its long history, respected standing in the Australian community and the fact that the Order’s Sovereign Head is The Queen, and the Prior in Australia is the Governor-General.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General

(Question No. 143)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

Will he provide a complete list of the organisations for which (a) the Governor-General, and (b) Her Excellency Mrs Jeffery have agreed to serve as Patron or Patron-in- Chief.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(a)

I am advised by the Official Secretary to the Governor-General that organisations for which the Governor-General has agreed to serve as Patron or Patron-in-Chief are as follows:

Abilympics Australia Association Inc

Access Dinghy Foundation Inc

ACT Association of the Most Excellent Order of British Empire

ACT Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society

Aids Trust of Australia

Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Society ( Australia) known as Alzheimer’s Association Australia

AMOS (Anglican Military – Outreach and Service) Foundation

ANZAC Research Institute (formerly ANZAC Health & Medical Research Foundation)

Austcare

Australia-Britain Society

Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences

Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists

Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens

Australian Association of Ryder-Cheshire Foundations

Australian Automobile Association

Australian Ballet (known as Australian Ballet Foundation)

Australian Capital Territory Rug by Union

Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

Australian Cerebral Palsy Association Inc

Australian Club - Melbourne

Australian Club - Sydney

Australian Commonwealth Games Association

Australian Council for the Teaching of Swimming and Water Safety

Australian Council of Stoma Associations

Australian Croquet Association (formerly known as Australian Croquet Council)

Australian Defence Colleges Association

Australian Entomological Society

Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex Servicemen and Women

Australian Fresh Water Fishermen’s Assembly Incorporated

Australian Institute of International Affairs

Australian Institute of Navigation

Australian Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management Limited Australian Lung Foundation

Australian Meals on Wheels Association

Australian National Academy of Music

Australian National Eisteddfod Society

Australian Nuffield Farming Scholars Association

Australian Olympic Committee

Australian Paralympic Committee

Australian Philatelic Federation

Australian Pony Club Council

Australian Rostrum

Australian Rug by Union

Australian Singing Competition

Australian Society of Musicology and Composition

Australian Universities International Alumni Convention

Australian Veterans and Defence Services Council

Australian Veterans’ Children Assistance Trust

Australian Volleyball Federation Inc

Australian Water Association Battle for Australia Commemoration National Council

Blinded Soldiers of St Dunstan’s Australia

Bowls Australia Inc

Bowral Golf Club

Boys’ Brigade Australia

Canberra Legacy

Care Australia

Carers Australia

Children’s Week Council of Australia

Commercial Education Society of Australia

Commonwealth Club

Company of Master Mariners of Australia

Constitution Education Fund - Australia

Cystic Fibrosis Australia

Diabetes Australia

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Australia – ACT Committee

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Australia

Early Childhood Australia (formerly known as Australian Early Childhood Association Inc)

Federation of the Alliances Françaises in Australia Inc

Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey Memorial Fund

Foodbank Australia

Foundation for Australian Literary Studies

Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

Foundation of the Polish Ex-Servicemen’s Association in Australia Ltd

Future Summit 2004

General Sir John Monash Foundation

Group Training Australia

GROW – (Group Recovery Organisation of the World)

Hands-On-Health Australia

Harvey Golf Club Inc

JOB futures

Kidsafe – Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia

Kokoda Track Foundation

Korea and South East Asia Forces Association of Australia 

Kurrajong-Waratah Industries Limited

Life Education Australia

Local Government Managers Australia

Lymphoedema Association of Australia Inc

Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra and Queanbeyan Inc

National Association of Extremely Disabled War Veterans

National Association of Government School Chaplaincy Providers (NAGSCP)

National Committee on Human Rights Education

National Council of Royal Commonwealth Societies in Australia

National Education and Employment

National Federation of Australia Japan Societies

National Gallery of Australia Foundation

National Heart Foundation of Australia

National Rifle Association of Australia

National Rose Society of Australia

National Stroke Foundation

National Youth Science Forum

Naval Association of Australia

Naval, Military and Air Force Club of South Australia

Navy League of Australia

Newcastle Club

Open Family Australia

Order of Australia Association

Order of Australia Association Foundation

Order of St John of Jerusalem

Outdoor Education Group

Outward Bound Australia

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Polish Ex-Servicemen’s Association – Branch Australia Inc

Polocrosse Association of Australia

Professional Centre of Australia

Proposed Bennelong Cultural Centre – Sydney

Queensland Club

Regular Defence Force Welfare Association Inc

Relationships Australia

Reserve Forces Day Council

Returned and Services League of Australia – ACT Branch

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC)

Rotary National MUNA Committee

Rotary Overseas Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC)

Rotary’s Australian Corporate Alliance Program

Royal Adelaide Golf Club

Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons

Royal Australian Air Force Association

Royal Australian Regiment Foundation

Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia

Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia

Royal Humane Society of Australasia

Royal Life Saving Society Australia

Royal Motor Yacht Club of New South Wales

Royal Overseas League

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

Royal Society of New South Wales

Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club

Royal Sydney Golf Club

Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron

Royal United Services Institute of Australia

Safety Institute of Australia (Incorporated)

Save the Children Australia

Scouts Australia

Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Foundation (The Menzies Foundation)

Society of Australian Genealogists

Special Air Service Regiment

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia

St Andrew’s Church Conservation and Restoration Foundation

Surf Life Saving Australia

The Alan Duff Charitable Foundation for Books in Homes Australia

The American Club – Sydney

The Australasian CHARGE Association

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

The Global Foundation

The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem Grand Priory of Australia

The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal 2004

The School Volunteer Program

The Zero to One Foundation Ltd

Toc H Australia

Tourism, Hospitality and Catering Institute of Australia

Transplant Australia

UNICEF Australia

Union Club, Sydney

United Nations Association of Australia

United Service Club

United Service Institution of the Australian Capital Territory Inc

University and Schools Club

Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship

Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Lodge

War Widows’ Guild of Australia

Western Australian Club

Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

World Wide Fund For Nature Australia

Year of the Built Environment 2004

Young Endeavour Youth Scheme

Youth Hostels Association (YHA Australia)

(b)

I am advised by the Official Secretary to the Governor-General that organisations for which Her Excellency Mrs Jeffery has agreed to serve as Patron or Patron-in-Chief are as follows:

The Girls’ Brigade Australia Inc

Australian Women of Year Association

War Widows’ Guild of Australia (ACT) Inc

Voluntary Guides of the Australian War Memorial

L’Arche Genesaret

Council on the Ageing (ACT)

Australian Red Cross

Karinya House for Mothers and Babies

Friends of the School of Music-ANU

Hartley Lifecare Incorporated

Guides Australia

National Council of Women of Australia

SIDS and Kids ACT

John James Hospital

Friends of John James Hospital Memorial Hospital

The Richmond Fellowship of the ACT Inc

The Cancer Council ACT

Women’s Golf Australia Inc (Vic)

Woden Senior Citizens Club Inc

ACT Defence Widows’ Support Group

The Country Women’s Association of Australia

Clare Holland House

Orthopaedic Outreach

Klavier Music Association

The Alexandra Club

The Queen’s Club

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General

(Question No. 150)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

(1)

In respect of the Governor-General’s interview reported in the Sunday Herald-Sun on 7 November 2004 in which the Governor-General referred to his “new role of ‘super diplomat’ representing Australian interests overseas”, can he explain Government’s position on the Governor-General’s role in the foreign relations of Australia.

(2)

Is it appropriate for the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister or relevant Ministers, to engage in substantive discussions of foreign policy and strategic issues with foreign Heads of State, Ministers or officials.

(3)

Does he contemplate that the Governor-General will engage in such exchanges while travelling overseas.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)

I am advised that the term “new role of ‘super diplomat’ representing Australian interests overseas” was terminology used by the journalist in question and not the Governor-General.

(2)

and (3) Consistent with long standing tradition, the purpose of the Governor-General’s overseas visits is to represent Australia’s interests through a range of meetings and functions which promote Australia and facilitate better links with those countries through high-level personal contacts.

        In doing so, he is supported by senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (who travel abroad with him), together with the senior personnel from the Australian Mission involved.

 

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General: Counter-Terrorism Exercises

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

(1) What was the nature of the Governor-General's participation in the national counter-terrorism exercise known as Mercury 04?

(2) Did the Governor-General's participation in the Mercury 04 exercise relate to procedures for callingout of the Australian Defence Force?

(3) Has the Governor-General participated in any other counter-terrorism or other emergency preparedness exercises; if so, what has been the nature of the Governor-General's involvement?

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) As the first ever multi-jurisdictional counter-terrorism exercise, Mercury 04 was the largest counter-terrorism exercise ever conducted in Australia, involving the Australian Government and the governments of Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

The Governor-General participated in exercise Mercury 04 through simulated Executive Council meetings. The purpose of these meetings was for the Governor-General, acting on the advice of senior ministers, to consider applications for call out of the Australian Defence Force in support of state and territory civilian authorities, in accordance with arrangements set out under the National Counter-Terrorism Plan.

During the exercise, the Governor-General also visited the National Crisis Centre and Exercise Control Central, both of which were located in the Protective Security Coordination Centre of the Attorney-General's Department.

(2) See above.

(3) As indicated above, Mercury 04 was the first exercise of its type and scope conducted in Australia. I am advised that the Governor-General has not participated directly in previous counter-terrorism exercises, although he has been briefed on issues relating to these exercises. The Official Secretary to the Governor-General has represented the Governor-General in previous annual national counter-terrorism exercises by participating in simulated Executive Council meetings to consider applications for call out of the Australian Defence Force.

 

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General: Patronage

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

(1) What guidelines or other arrangements are in place in relation to decisions to extend vice-regal patronage to organisations.

(2) What criteria are applied in determining whether the Governor-General or Her Excellency Mrs Jeffery agree to serve as patron of an organisation.

(3) Does the Governor-General seek advice from him or his department before the Governor-General or Her Excellency Mrs Jeffery agree or decline to serve as patron of charitable or other organisations.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (3) I am advised by the Official Secretary to the Governor-General that requests for the granting of Vice Regal Patronage are considered on a case by case basis and on their merits. Factors such as, but not confined to, the nature and aims of the organisation, its financial status and source of funding, the degree to which the organisation has a national focus, and evidence of long standing credibility, are taken into consideration.

I am also advised that the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General consults officials from government departments, business and community groups and academia as necessary in formulating advice for the Governor-General and Mrs Jeffery.

 

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General: China Visit

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

(1) Can he confirm that the Governor-General will visit China in 2005 as indicated in the Governor-General's interview in the Sunday Herald-Sun on 7 November 2004; if so, (a) when will the visit take place, (b) will it be a State Visit, (c) will the Governor-General be received by the Chinese President when he visits Beijing, and (d) will the Governor-General visit any other countries; if so, which countries.

(2) Did the Governor-General consult with him, the Minister for Foreign Affairs or any other Minister or relevant Department about the Governor-General's public announcement of the visit to China.

(3) Did the Australian Government consult with the Chinese Government concerning the Governor-General's announcement of the visit to China.

(4) When will a formal announcement of the Governor-General's planned visit to China be made by (a) him, and (b) the Chinese Government.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (4) The Governor-General has received an invitation from The President of the People's Republic of China to visit China and, consistent with well-established practice, the Governor-General has discussed the possibility of such a visit with me, along with visits to other overseas countries.

Any announcement concerning the timing of a visit by the Governor-General to China will be a matter for mutual agreement between the Governments of The People's Republic of China and Australia.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General: 41st Parliament Opening Speech

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 29 November 2004:

(1) In respect of the report in the Sydney Morning Herald on 17 November 2004 that the Governor-General wished to make personal additions or amendments to His Excellency's speech at the opening of the 41st Parliament, what is his understanding of the Conventions that apply to the drafting and delivery of the Governor-General's speech to the Parliament.

(2) What latitude is there for the Governor-General to amend the text submitted to him by the Government.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) Established practice is that a draft is submitted to the Governor-General for his consideration. In accordance with that practice, a draft of the speech was given to the Governor-General on 10 November 2004, and he made minor changes to reflect his stylistic preferences.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Commonwealth: Administrator

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 18 November 2004:

(1) Is it the case that since the 1963 Premiers' Conference it has been agreed by the Commonwealth and the States that State Governors are called on to administer the Commonwealth in order of their seniority of appointment to State office.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Governor-General: Letters Patent

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in   writing , on 18 November 2004:

Is any person or persons currently appointed under section 126 of the Constitution and in accordance with paragraph VI of the Letters Patent dated 21 August 1984 to serve as a deputy or deputies to the Governor-General; if so, when were the appointments made and what are the terms of the instruments of appointment.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Three persons are currently appointed pursuant to section 126 of the Constitution and in accordance with clause IV of the Letters Patent dated 21 August 1984 to be the Governor-General's deputies:

Professor Marie Bashir, AC, Governor of the State of New South Wales;

John Michael Landy, AC, MBE, Governor of the State of Victoria; and

the Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council.

The appointments were each made on 11 August 2003. The instruments of appointment were gazetted in accordance with clause VI of the Letters Patent, and are available from the House of Representatives Table

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Commonwealth Games: Opening Ceremony

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in   writing , on 7 December 2004:

(1) Does the Government anticipate that Australia's Head of State, The Queen of Australia, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, will open the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.

(2) Has Her Majesty, The Queen given in principle agreement that she will attend the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

I am advised that the Chairman of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, Mr Ron Walker, AC, CBE, approached Buckingham Palace in May 2004 to discuss the possibility of Her Majesty The Queen's attendance at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. I am further advised that Her Majesty has not yet made final decisions about her travel plans in 2006.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Commonwealth: Administrator

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in   writing , on 18 November 2004:

(1) Is it the case that since the 1963 Premiers' Conference it has been agreed by the Commonwealth and the States that State Governors are called on to administer the Commonwealth in order of their seniority of appointment to State office.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Commonwealth: Dormant Commissions

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Prime Minister, in   writing , on 18 November 2004:

(1) Is it the case that on 20 May 2003 all State Governors were issued with new Dormant Commissions to Administer the Commonwealth to take into account changes in the Letters Patent made in May 2003.

(2) Is it also the case that Dormant Commissions have not been issued to the two State Governors appointed since May 2003.

(3) Has he decided not to advise the Queen to issue a Dormant Commission to the Governor of Queensland, Her Excellency Quent in Bryce, who was appointed on 29 July 2003; if so, why.

Mr Howard ( Bennelong— Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) Dormant Commissions have not been issued for the three State Governor appointments made since May 2003. These are the Governor of Queensland, the former Governor of Tasmania, and the new Governor of Tasmania. Dormant Commissions are issued periodically, e.g. prior to May 2003 Dormant Commissions were last issued in March 2002 (to four Governors), and in September 1997 (to four Governors).

(3) No.

 

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Foreign Affairs: Protocol Guidelines

(Question No. 348)

Mr Melham ( Banks)  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in   writing , on 7 December 2004:

(1)

Is it the case that the Protocol Guidelines issued by his department and most recently amended in October 2004 state that: “ Australia’s Head of State is The Queen of Australia, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Under the Australian Constitution, the executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in The Queen and is exercised by the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative.”

(2)

Is it the case that the Protocol Guidelines further advise foreign embassies that Letters of Credence and Letters of Recall should be addressed to The Queen of Australia as Australia’s Head of State: “Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her Other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth”.

(3)

Did he and/or the Secretary of his department approve the October 2004 Protocol Guidelines before they were provided to foreign embassies and released to the public on his department’s website.

(4)

Is The Queen of Australia, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Australia’s Head of State.

Mr Downer ( Mayo— Minister for Foreign Affairs)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)

Yes.

(2)

Yes.

(3)

The department’s Protocol Guidelines are approved by the Chief of Protocol.

(4)

I am of the view that it is appropriate to regard The Queen as the formal head of state and the Governor-General as the effective head of state. While the Governor-General, as The Queen’s representative, performs certa in duties traditionally associated with the functions of the head of state, The Queen remains the head of state in the conventional sense.


 
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Prince Charles

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