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Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Page: 14070

Mr IRONS (SwanAssistant Minister to the Prime Minister) (11:54): I'd like to thank the members who have participated in this debate for this simple amendment. But, as I heard from the Minister for Health, why say in one minute what you can say in 15? I'm glad the contributions from some of those on the opposite side didn't stray into the area where I would have to call them on standing order 88 in regard to diminishing the role of both the Governor-General and the Queen, or the monarchy, but I must admit they did sail a bit close to the wind. But they opened the door, saying that this particular monarchy is still very important to many Australians.

I attended a recent RSL event where I laid a wreath for the Vietnam veterans. Veterans were very proud and loud when they sang 'God Save The Queen' at their particular ceremony. These are people who actually fought and put their lives on the line for Australia. Many Australians haven't done that and probably don't recognise the importance of these guys and how they respect the monarchy.

The purpose of this bill is to set an annual salary of $495,000 during the term of the appointment of His Excellency General the Hon. David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) as Governor-General. General Hurley is a former Chief of the Defence Force and has been a very popular Governor of New South Wales. General Hurley is known for being generous and approachable to old and young alike, as seen in his weekly boxing work-outs with Indigenous children as part of the Tribal Warrior program or during his frequent regional trips. He has dedicated his life to serving the Australian community. General Hurley's compassion and commitment to Australia was displayed during his 42 years in the Australian Army, for which he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Australian Defence Force, and in his leadership and service during Operation Solace in Somalia in 1993, for which he received the Distinguished Service Cross.

Under section 3 of the Constitution, the salary of the Governor-General cannot be altered during the term of an appointment. This means that alteration to the Governor-General's salary must occur prior to the commencement of a new Governor-General's term. It has been a longstanding practice that the Governor-General's salary is calculated with reference to the salary of the Chief Justice of the High Court. The proposed salary has therefore been determined through forecasting the projected wage growth of the Chief Justice's salary over the next five years. The Governor-General designate has requested that his salary take into consideration his Commonwealth funded superannuation from his previous service in the Australian Defence Force. This is in line with precedent established by His Excellency Sir William Deane in 1995 and continued most recently by General Cosgrove in 2014, both of whom were entitled to Commonwealth funded pensions through their previous work. The proposed salary for General Hurley as Governor-General has therefore been calculated in relation to the Chief Justice's salary, taking into account General Hurley's military pension.

I'd just like to finish by congratulating Governor-General Cosgrove on his work for the Australian community and the office of Governor-General. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.