Career soldier to become G-G

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced General Peter Cosgrove as our next governor-general yesterday.

A popular choice, Mr Cosgrove’s appointment was approved by many including the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Michael Ronaldson, who noted

“General Cosgrove has had a distinguished career in the military and as the Chief of the Defence Force”.

In addition to winning a Military Cross during service in Vietnam, General Cosgrove was named Australian of the Year in 2001.

On the issue of whether Australia should cut ties with the British monarchy and become a republic, General Cosgrove says his “guiding light” would be the will of the people.

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Opinion: Who wants another G-G?

I don’t. But don’t get me wrong. I’m sure General Cosgrove is a nice bloke and a good choice as G-G, but really, shouldn’t we have grown up sufficiently by now to strike out on our own instead of appointing yet another Queen’s representative? 

Australia Day – or Invasion Day to many – has generated much pontificating upon what it means to be an Australian, including the announcement of ‘Australian of the Year’ awards across various categories. A disappointing lack of women, but situation normal on that score. Now we have the Prime Minister’s announcement that General Peter Cosgrove is to become our next governor-general when Quentin Bryce ends her term in March. Nice people, one and all. But can they really add much at all while we are still shackled to the ‘mother’ country? I doubt it.

The debate about becoming a republic was dealt a massive blow back in 1999 when former PM John Howard offered a referendum questions which told us we could not vote for the president. The subsequent ‘no’ vote may well have been different if we were asked in the first instance the simple question, Should Australia become a republic? Over time the sentiment to cut our ties with the crown has increased.

In September last year the incumbent G-G, Quentin Bryce, suggested a republic was our next logical move, and some 48 per cent of those polled in the following days agreed with her. Now Geoff Gallop, leader of the Australian Republican Movement, believes a majority of Australians are keen to see this change take place.

I think he’s right. I now believe there is a critical mass which would prefer our nation lead it’s own way in the world, by severing our constitutional ties with the English Crown. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Peter Cosgrove was not just a successful governor-general – but also our last?

ABC Boyer Lectures 

What do you think? Do we still need a Governor General? Or should we press harder to get on with the business of becoming a republic?

Written by Kaye Fallick