The priorities that shape the program and activities of the Governor of Victoria, the Hon. Linda Dessau AC, and Mr Anthony Howard AM QC.

Statement of Priorities 2020

The role of the Governor of Victoria has four principal aspects: constitutional, ceremonial, community and international.

  • the Governor’s primary constitutional responsibility is to represent The Queen at the head of Victoria’s system of constitutional democracy. The Governor’s role helps to ensure that the Victorian Parliament and Government act within the boundaries of the Victorian Constitution, which provides for Victoria’s system of representative democracy. This constitutional role includes presiding at weekly meetings of the Victorian Executive Council and signing into effect legislation of the Victorian Parliament.
  • the ceremonial duties of the Governor include events such as the Opening of Parliament, the Dawn Service and march past on ANZAC Day, the flag raising on Australia Day, the swearing in of Supreme Court Judges and Ministers, and presiding at investitures.
  • the Governor promotes the attitudes that support democracy and create a strong community.  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, who provides support and encouragement during times of hardship, and who encourages unity, mutual respect and confidence in the community.
  • as part of her international duties, the Governor receives diplomats, international visitors and delegations at Government House and travels overseas on behalf of Victoria. On these occasions, the Governor’s role is to build friendship and good relations with other nations, and to promote Victoria’s social, economic and cultural interests. 

The Governor, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC

The Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, at her inauguration as Governor, described her desire to be a “Governor of our times” and “to contribute in any way possible to a stable, democratic and prosperous State, and a united, peaceful, respectful and caring community.” Similarly, the Governor spoke of her intention to celebrate and facilitate “all the individuals, organisations, businesses and communities that … show courage by combining in the quest for unity and togetherness, and who work tirelessly for peace and prosperity in this, our wonderful State of Victoria.”

In furtherance of these objectives, this Statement sets out those areas of her role to which the Governor will give particular priority in 2020.

Nothing in this statement detracts from nor limits the discharge of the Governor’s role in all its breadth and variety, nor does it limit the responsibility of the Office of the Governor to serve the Governor and her spouse, former judge Mr Anthony Howard AM QC, in the exercise of their work and their life at Government House, and to care for Government House and its grounds.


Hosting Victoria's Multicultural Awards for Excellence

The Governor's priorities

In shaping the Governor’s program and activities in 2020, the following themes will continue to be subject to special attention.

  • promoting community resilience and social unity and highlighting the benefits of diversity in Victoria
  • creating opportunities to highlight the work and achievements of Victorian individuals, organisations and businesses
  • visiting Victorian communities across the State, both in metropolitan Melbourne and in urban and regional areas
  • highlighting the essential place in Victorian life, both present and historical, of Victoria’s Aboriginal people 
  • supporting present and former members of the Australian Defence Force and Victoria’s emergency services
  • showcasing Victorian innovation, manufacturing and technology, particularly in the areas of design, startups, biomedicine and biotechnology and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)
  • supporting Victoria’s international engagement priorities, particularly in relation to the State’s economic, social and cultural interests at home and abroad
  • highlighting the value and importance of volunteering in the community, including by continuing to pursue volunteering opportunities herself
  • identifying and reaching groups not previously touched by the work of the Governor or familiar with Government House
  • continuing to foster community partnerships through the Peace & Prosperity kitchen garden at Government House
  • celebrating Victorian excellence in education, the arts and in sport
  • creating expanded opportunities for the Victorian public to visit and appreciate Government House as a heritage treasure of the State and an important community asset
  • facilitating understanding of the role of the Governor, particularly among young people

Attention to these themes will inform, first and foremost, proactive opportunities for community engagement which the Office of the Governor will identify for the Governor’s consideration. Further, they will, as appropriate, inform the way the Office responds to invitations for the Governor’s hospitality or her participation.


The Governor and Mr Howard attending an AFL Pride Game
The Governor and Mr Howard attending an AFL Pride Game

Mr Howard's Priorities

In shaping Mr Howard’s program in 2020, in addition to his role in supporting the work of the Governor, the following themes will similarly be subject to special attention:

  • continuing and expanding the community tours program at Government House
  • creating opportunities to highlight the work and achievements of Victorian individuals, organisations and businesses
  • highlighting the value and importance of volunteering in the community, including by continuing to pursue volunteering opportunities himself
  • recognising the impact of drug abuse in the community and the work done by those assisting people affected by drug abuse
  • highlighting the challenges facing young people affected by mental health issues, suicide and homelessness
  • supporting programs that mentor and support young people

Just as for the Governor, these themes will inform both the program opportunities created for Mr Howard and the way requests or invitations are considered.