Former military chief Peter Cosgrove becomes Australian governor-general

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 March, 2014, 10:04pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 March, 2014, 10:05pm


Former military chief Peter Cosgrove became Australia's governor general yesterday, and vowed to uphold the values of equity and compassion as British Queen Elizabeth's representative in the country.

Cosgrove, who will also receive a knighthood after Prime Minister Tony Abbott this week revived the honours system, said he would be bipartisan and attend to matters which sat within Australian values.

"Values that respect, and uphold equity, compassion, generosity, tolerance and energetic ambition," he said.

Cosgrove, who replaces Australia's first woman governor general, Quentin Bryce, assumed the office in a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra. He is the 26th person and 13th Australian in the role.

"I am at once humbled and proud to assume the office as governor general, humbled to know something of the great men and the one woman to have preceded me," he told the upper house Senate.

The governor general's role is to maintain direct contact with the queen, who is Australia's head of state, and the British monarch delegates executive power to them in almost every respect.

They can open and dissolve parliament, commission the prime minister and appoint ministers, rubber-stamp laws passed by parliament and appoint judges and diplomats.

Abbott, a staunch monarchist, stoked republican dissent with his revival of the honours system, but a 1999 referendum to become a republic failed and the queen is well loved in Australia.

Cosgrove said he would be guided by "the will of the people".