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Former National Party Leader and Baptist minister say Governor-General, Peter Hollingworth should consider his position.



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AM

 

Friday 2 May 2003

Former National Party Leader and Baptist minister say Governor-General, Peter Hollingworth should consider his position

 

LINDA MOTTRAM: The weight of the issues now swirling is driving a growing number of calls for the Governor-General to resign. Among those issuing those calls is veteran Federal Parliamentarian and former National Party Leader, Ian Sinclair, who says that he's concerned to uphold the tenability of the Vice-Regal Office. 

 

Nick Grimm reports. 

 

NICK GRIMM: Before jetting off to the United States, John Howard made it clear he has no intention of being remembered as the Prime Minister who sacked a Governor-General. 

 

For his part, Peter Hollingworth, has not yet addressed the question of his future in the wake of yesterday's report. In a statement he expressed regret, offered his apologies and admitted a serious error of judgement. 

 

But today he's being urged to consider the ongoing damage the controversy is doing to the Vice-Regal Office. 

 

TIM COSTELLO: This is therefore the worst imaginable situation for the Vice-Regal Office. 

 

NICK GRIMM: Former President of the Baptist Union of Australia, the Reverend Tim Costello, believes Peter Hollingworth should resign. 

 

TIM COSTELLO: Peter Hollingworth probably should offer his resignation since he admits it's an error of judgement and leave it then for the Prime Minister and the nation to decide.  

 

NICK GRIMM: And even staunch defenders of the Office of the Governor-General are now saying that Peter Hollingworth should consider his position. 

 

Former Federal National Party Leader and Chairman of the Constitutional Convention, Ian Sinclair. 

 

IAN SINCLAIR: Above all it's absolutely essential for the sake of our whole system that the Office and the individual are seen to be above any blemish.  

 

NICK GRIMM: Okay, so in your view should the Governor-General, Peter Hollingworth, step down from the position to keep the Office of Governor-General above controversy?  

 

IAN SINCLAIR: I think that for the Governor-General the issues that have now arisen are matters to which he must give serious attention and I think that it's tremendously important at this stage when Australians, having voted for the retention of a monarchy, that the Office of Governor-General is above all seen as above taint.  

 

NICK GRIMM: The Prime Minister has said that he won't sack the Governor-General, is that an appropriate position for him to take at this point?  

 

IAN SINCLAIR: I think so. I think it's very difficult for the Governor-General to be sacked on an issue that relates to matters that occurred so long before he assumed the Office. But it's because they did occur in another life that it's the Governor-General who really needs to reflect very seriously upon the, the findings that have now been made in Queensland.  

 

NICK GRIMM: So what will it do for the Office of Governor-General if Peter Hollingworth doesn't resign over this issue? 

 

IAN SINCLAIR: Well, I think that any taint that applies to the Office unfortunately tends to stretch to people questioning the Office itself and all of us respect it so much, the achievements by a number of the incumbents of the Office. One would want to ensure that that status that has been built into the Office is in no way lessened.  

 

LINDA MOTTRAM: Former Federal National Party Leader and Chairman of the Constitutional Convention, Ian Sinclair. Nick Grimm with that report.