The Governor of New South Wales Part Four
Written by Thomas Flynn   
Wednesday, 15 June 2011

This is part four of the educational video produced in New South Wales during the governorship of Sir David Martin.

Republicans seem to think that the ceremonial role is the only role a Governor or Governor-General plays. Nevertheless the ceremonial function of a governor - like the formal opening of parliament it is one of the public expressions of a state - is important.

In this section Governor Martin emphasises the importance of an impartial figure at public ceremonies. The Governor is someone "who can be be given salutes and marks of respect without anyone wondering whose side he is on, who he's representing, how much money he's got, what religion he is, what party he belongs to. Impartial."

It is striking that the reasons for the constitutional role of the governor as someone above politics ("without anyone wondering whose side he is on...what party he belongs to") are precisely those Governor Martin cites to justify the Governor having a ceremonial role. The roles are inextricably linked. The only reason the ceremonial role has any validity is because of the governor's constitutional role. Otherwise there would be no meaning to it and you might as well have an actor in a military uniform.