The Powers of the Governor-General
Written by Australian Constitution   
Monday, 23 August 2004
Powers exercisable in Council (i.e. with the advice of the Federal Executive 
Council - Constitution, s. 63)
1. Issue writs for House of Representatives elections
ss. 32, 33
2. Establish Departments of State
s. 64
3. Appoint and, on address from both Houses, remove Justices of the High Court and judges of other Federal courts
4. Appoint members of the Inter-State Commission, if it exists
s. 103


Powers conferred on the Governor-General
The Governor-General and the Legislature
1. Dissolve the House of Representatives at any time during its term
ss. 5, 28
2. Dissolve the Senate as well as the House of Representatives in the event
of a deadlock and, if the election fails to resolve that deadlock, may convene
a joint sitting of both Houses
s. 57
3. Summon Parliament, fix session times and prorogue Parliament (i.e. determine when sessions end)
4. In the absence of the President of the Senate, notify the Governor of a State of a vacancy in that State's Senate representation
5. Assent to, or withhold assent from, a law passed by Parliament, reserve a law for the Queen's pleasure or return a law with recommendations for amendment
6. Recommend the appropriation of moneys (without such a recommendation Parliament cannot appropriate moneys)
7. Submit a referendum proposal to the people if it is the subject of a deadlock between the two Houses


The Governor-General and the Executive
8. Appoint and dismiss Ministers and, in the absence of parliamentary provision, direct what offices Ministers shall hold ss. 64,65
9. Appoint and dismiss members of the Federal Executive Council ss. 62
10. Command the defence forces ss. 68
11. On behalf of the Queen, exercise the executive power of the Commonwealth. This includes traditional Crown prerogatives (e.g. declare war and peace, enter into treaties, make contracts), preventing breaches of the Constitution and Commonwealth laws and making regulations and various other orders s. 61


The Governor-General as the Queen's Representative
12. In addition to the powers expressly conferred by the Constitution, 'such powers and functions of the Queen as Her Majesty may be pleased to assign to him' s.2
13. With the Queen's consent, appoint a deputy with authority to exercise his or her powers and functions s.126