A central part of the Governor’s role at any time is to engage with different sectors of the Victorian community, hearing both about great endeavour and achievement in our State, as well as about challenges and difficulties.
The Governor and Mr Howard connect with the Victorian community in a variety of different ways. This includes the traditional formats of hosting events at Government House and visits in person across Victoria. The Governor and Mr Howard also make full use of technology to engage across the State and internationally. This technology is particularly valuable during the physical restrictions necessitated by COVID-19, however online engagement has been and will continue to be one of the ways of connecting well beyond the restrictions of the pandemic.
All sectors of the Victorian community are encouraged to continue to make requests for engagements with the Governor and Mr Howard, for both now and in the future, remembering that many engagements can be conducted through online technology. Requests can be made to email@example.com.
Examples of how the Governor and Mr Howard use technology to engage with the Victorian community, include:
Official Calls and Virtual Roundtables
The Governor and Mr Howard use technology to undertake an extensive program of official calls and virtual roundtables, receiving regular briefings from leaders across all sectors of the Victoria community. Virtual roundtables provide a valuable opportunity to hear from small groups of people from a particular sector or community and to gain an in-depth understanding of the State’s achievements, opportunities and challenges. See an example of a virtual call here and a virtual roundtable here.
Virtual visits enable the Governor and Mr Howard to visit somewhere online when a physical visit may not be possible at that time. In a virtual visit the Governor and Mr Howard have the opportunity to meet people and see things in the same way they would if they were visiting in person. Some examples of virtual visits include those to factories, hospitals, schools and farms. Learn more about one virtual visit here.
Governor in Schools Program
One of the ongoing priorities of the Governor and Mr Howard is to facilitate an understanding of the modern role of the Governor, particularly among young people. The Governor and Mr Howard regularly welcome school groups to Government House Victoria, where they are given an opportunity to tour the State Apartments, learn about the Governor’s role in our democracy, and ask questions. These tours are often conducted by the Governor’s husband, Mr Howard. The Governor and Mr Howard also visit schools across our community as part of their regular ongoing program.
Recognising that not all schools are able to travel to Government House, the Governor in Schools Program was created to allow students in all regions of Victoria the opportunity to meet the Governor and Mr Howard and to learn about the role the Governor plays in our democracy and system of government. The program is aimed particularly at students currently studying subjects such as Civics and Citizenship, VCE Australian and Global Politics and VCE Legal Studies. Facilitated through video conferencing, each group spends approximately thirty minutes speaking with and asking questions of the Governor and Mr Howard. Schools wishing to participate in the Governor in Schools Program are invited to submit their request via email.
Virtual Regional Tours
Regional visits are a regular highlight of the Governor and Mr Howard’s program. The Governor and Mr Howard appreciate the opportunity to meet and hear from many members of Victoria’s regional centres whether that be in person or online. During the COVID-19 restrictions, virtual regional tours have been especially valuable. See an example here.
From time to time the Governor provides video messages to groups and events in Victoria when it is not possible for her to attend in person. Whether acknowledging an important event in Victoria’s calendar, providing a message of support to the people of Victoria, or celebrating important community milestones, the Governor has recorded numerous video messages which can be accessed here.
Virtual openings and award ceremonies
The Governor is often asked to attend and speak at significant cultural and business events, major conventions and conference openings in Victoria, as well as at events that reflect her role in international engagement. A large part of the Governor’s role is also acknowledging the achievements of the many Victorians who contribute to our State. Through the use of video conferencing the Governor is still participating in these important celebrations.
Due to COVID-19, the investiture ceremonies scheduled to be held for the 2020 Australia Day and Queen’s Birthday Order of Australia recipients had to be cancelled. Whilst most recipients will wait for the resumption of physical investitures at Government House, some recipients in special circumstances have been invested by the Governor virtually. If your Order of Australia award has been announced and you have not yet been invested, and there are special circumstances that make it difficult to wait for a physical investiture, you may be able to be invested virtually. Information on past virtual investitures ceremonies can be found here. To speak to the Office of the Governor about whether you may be able to be invested virtually, please contact the Office via email.
Government House Virtual Tours
The Governor and Mr Howard have made it a priority to create opportunities for the Victorian community to visit and appreciate Government House as a heritage treasure of the State and an important community asset. Throughout the year thousands of Victorians are invited to tour Government House as part of the Government House tour program, Open Days and open public events, as well as through the regular Vice-Regal program.
In 2020 the Government House tour program is virtual and includes a tour of the State Apartments hosted by the Governor and Mr Howard, which was originally filmed for the 2020 Open House Melbourne Weekend in July.
A five-part documentary series provides an overview of the historic and contemporary role of the Victorian Governor and Victoria’s heritage-listed Government House.
A series of short videos are also available and give the viewer a 'behind the scenes' look at some of the fascinating aspects of this landmark building.
Victorian organisations are encouraged to contact the Office of the Governor at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about:
- Online calls and roundtables
- Virtual visits by the Governor and Mr Howard across the community
- The Governor in Schools program
- Virtual regional tours
- Video messages
- Online openings and award ceremonies
- Virtual investitures
The Governor is active on Twitter and Instagram. Photographs and videos from both in-person and online events may be posted on either of these social media accounts. You are encouraged to publish your own images on social media and to tag @VicGovernor and #GovHouseVic