Role of the Governor
The Governor of Victoria is appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the Premier, to act as her representative as Head of State in Victoria. Since the Australia Acts of 1986, it is the Governor, and not the Queen, who exercises all the powers of the Head of State, and he or she is not subject to the direction or supervision of the Monarch. Upon appointment, he becomes a Viceroy. The Governor's main responsibilities fall into three categories; constitutional, ceremonial and community engagement.
The Governor’s primary constitutional responsibility is to be a guardian of the Victorian Constitution and secure the orderly transition of one government to the next.
Although the Governor is constitutionally bound to act in accordance with the advice of Ministers, there is no requirement of passive acceptance. The Governor has the right and responsibility to question and counsel Ministers. In certain circumstances, the Governor has the power to dissolve Parliament and call an election. The Governor supervises the transition between Governments, and may also exercise the Queen’s power in pardoning an offender.
The Governor acts as a safeguard to ensure that the Victorian Parliament acts within the boundaries of the Victorian Constitution, which provide for our system of representative democracy.
The Governor often speaks on behalf of or for the community.
The ceremonial duties of the Victorian Governor are probably the least demanding of all three primary responsibilities that are fulfilled by the Governor. They include events such as the Opening of Parliament, attending the Dawn Service and march past on ANZAC Day, swearing in of Supreme Court judges and Ministers, presiding at many investitures for the Order of Australia and awards to Scouts, Guides and others.
One of the Governor's main tasks is to promote the attitudes that support democracy and create a strong community. The Governor encourages people to reach a high level of achievement in voluntary service, industry, education, the arts, sport, bravery, caring for those in need and numerous other areas that benefit the community.
Whether delivering a speech, attending local or overseas engagements, supporting charities and organisations, presenting awards and honours, or visiting places of importance in Victoria, this commitment to service underlies all activities of the Governor and his or her spouse.
Both the Governor and the Governor's spouse work hard to learn about the Victorian community. They travel extensively in Victoria, meeting as many people and visiting as many places and organisations as they can. One of the key messages they carry with them on regional tours is that the Governor is Governor of Victoria and not just Melbourne.
When the Head of State of another country or senior public official comes to Victoria, they are usually invited to visit the Governor at Government House. Sometimes they stay as guests at Government House for the duration of their visit. The Governor will also receive an overseas Ambassador on their first official visit to Victoria.
As part of his duties, the Governor travels overseas on behalf of Victoria as Head of State at the request of the Premier. On these visits, the Governor’s role is to build friendship and good relations with other nations, and to promote Victoria’s economic and cultural interests. The advantage of having both a Governor and a Premier in Victoria is that the Governor is able to spend more time on building relationships in the international community than the Premier, who has the daily responsibilities of government.
As a leader with no political association, the Governor is seen as a symbol of unity who seeks to represent and understand the whole Victorian community and who encourages unity, mutual respect and confidence in the community.
Role of the Governor of Victoria Booklet (PDF, 898 KB)
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