Winning Entries to the 2004 Essay Competition
2004 Division 1 (16 - 18 years) Winner
Rachael Birchley (Brisbane School of Distance Education: Year 12. 17 years)
"The Role and Duties of the Governor of Queensland"
The position of the Governor of Queensland was instigated by Queen Victoria of England, on June 6th, 1859, when she appointed Sir George Bowen as her representative in State Government. The State Governor appointed in 2004 was Ms Quentin Bryce, AC. Ms Bryce' position falls into the executive 'arm' of state government, with the remaining two being the parliamentary and the judicial (Queensland Government 2004). This role is free from the politics characterising the parliamentary arm, and provides a formal authority outside of the judicial. Since the passing of the Australia Acts in 1986, the Governor is not legally bound to the government of England (Parliament@Work, 1998). As Sir Walter Campbell stated in his 1988 Speech, 'the Australia Acts also expressly declare that the United Kingdom Government shall have no responsibility for the government of any state' (Australians For A Constitutional Monarchy- Toowoomba Branch, 2001-2004). However, Queen Elizabeth II continues to appoint the Governor as her representative on the advice of Queensland's Premier, identifying the state as sovereign.
The State Governor's main goal is to ensure that Queensland 'continues to have a stable government which commands the popular support of Parliament' (Office of the Governor-Queensland, 2003). Ms Bryce's specific roles involve constitutional, ceremonial, and social duties. These roles can seem relatively small in comparison to the overall power of the Parliament. But the Governor actually plays a very important part in passing legislation. Section 58 of the Constitution states that the Governor-General shall '…declare, according to his discretion…that he assents in the Queen's name, or…withholds assent' to the passing of laws. Section 5 of the Constitution states that the Governor-General shall 'appoint such times for holding the sessions of Parliament as he thinks fit, and may also, from time to time…prorogue the Parliament…and dissolve the House of Representatives' (Commonwealth of Australia 1995, pp.22, 8). This federal power is also delegated to the State Governors. Thus the Governor takes on an authoritative role in the passing of laws and Bills. Her other constitutional roles include appointing Ministers and presiding over the Executive Council (Queensland Government 2004). On the advice of the Executive Council, she issues writs for state elections, and writs 'for election of senators for the State' (Commonwealth of Australia 1995, p.9). In the name of the Queen, she may 'grant pardon or commutation of sentence or reprieve of the carrying out of a sentence or the remission of a fine or penalty' (Office of the Governor-Queensland, 2003). Ms Bryce' social duties include assisting charities, presenting 'civic awards and honours', visiting various Queensland organisations, 'granting patronage', and encouraging and recognising, through formal ceremonies, the work of individuals who serve the community (Office of the Governor- Queensland, 2003). This community involvement forms the link between the government of Queensland and its people.
Had the position of State Governor not been established, Queensland would not be a truly sovereign state. Also, its government would be less balanced. Without the Governor exercising her direct power, Queensland would be left without sovereign authority, which lies outside that of the Parliamentary and judicial. The loss of the Governor's formal role would not maintain the separation of power between Parliament, the executive arm, and the judicial arm. Also, with the loss of the Governor's ceremonial and community duties, the inherent relationship between the State's rulers and its people would suffer. This would disadvantage the state of Queensland as a whole. Through the role of the State Governor, Queensland's government continues a part of the constitutional monarchy, and its people and rulers are unified.
The Constitution [online] 1995, Australian Government, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 2004. Available Internet: www.dpmc.gov.au/docs/constitution.cfm#A9 (Updated 25th October 2004, Accessed 5th October 2004)
Constitutional Overview [online] Australian Government Solicitor 2003, Publications and Research. Available Internet: www.agsgov.au/publications/issues/constover.htm (Accessed 5th October 2004)
Campbell, Sir Walter 1988, The Role of a State Governor [online], Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy- Toowoomba Branch, 2001-2004. Available Internet: www.ourconstitution.org/raipa_qld.php?pid=3 (Accessed 28th September 2004)
Australia Act 1986 [online] Commonwealth of Australia 2004, Australian Government Attorney-General's Department. Available Internet: scaletext.law.gov.au/html/pasteact/1/973/top.htm (Accessed 5th October 2004).
Chapter 6, Crown [online] 2001, Gilbert and Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales. Available Internet: www.gtcentre.unsw.edu.au/06-Crown.doc (Updated 25th October 2004, Accessed 5th October 2004)
The Governor [online] 2003, Office of the Governor - Queensland. Available Internet: www.govhouse.qld.gov.au/the_governor/roles_functions.asp (Accessed 29th September 2004)
Queensland [online] Parliament@Work, Commonwealth of Australia. Available Internet: www.parliament.curriculum.edu.au/qld.php3 (Accessed 1st October 2004)
Queensland's Constitution [online] Queensland's Constitutional Convention 1999. Available Internet: www.constitution.qld.gov.au (Accessed 5th October 2004)
The Executive Government of Queensland [online] 1995, Queensland Parliamentary Service. Available Internet: www.parliament.qld.gov.au/History/history/execgov.htm (Accessed 5th October 2004)
Glossary of Terms [online] 1996, Queensland Parliamentary Service. Available Internet: www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Glossary.htm (Accessed 5th October 2004)
Matters for consideration by Governor in Council [online] 2003, The State of Queensland (Department of Premier and Cabinet). Available Internet: www.premiers.qld.gov.au (Accessed 5th October 2004).
2004 Division 2 (11 - 15 years) Winner
Katlyn Pinches Fairholme Junior College, Toowoomba
"Describe some activities in a term of the life of the Governor of Queensland."
I, Ms Quentin Bryce, have had the most wonderful time being the Governor of Queensland. Some of the duties I do are so exciting and stimulating that I would never relinquish my job, like the time I visited Christians School, Clayfield. There I helped staff and students. One of those students was my granddaughter and all of her classmates gathered to hear my stories of when I was a little girl. Time flew by when I was telling the stories and the morning tea bell rang. It was so enjoyable to see all the children run around, play and laugh.
Also I remember that time when I went to Government House and I hosted a function to support Disability Action Week. I found it to be lots of fun and there were exciting activities for both me and disabled people to do. Then after that we enjoyed afternoon tea of home made cake, biscuits and coffee. We raised $550 to support the Disability Action Week.
The week after that I was invited to a fund-raising lunch hosted by Chislehurst Society Standing Committee. I was guest speaker. Then I had a lunch with them, which was very delicious.
Some of my other community engagements have been attending Oak Park Races in far north Queensland, to celebrate the centenary Anniversary of the picnic races. The local police escorted me to the racetrack.
I attended Fire Australia 2004 and opened the conference and exhibition for the Fire Protection Association at Surfers Paradise where I met many interesting people who controlled fires.
One of my favourite activities was visiting the Mount Isa Girl Guides where I learnt from the girls how to erect a tent and cook damper. I enjoyed living in the bush for a couple of days.
The opening of the new Carina Kindergarten was very exciting. All of the children could not wait to test out the new kindy. I did finger painting, drawing with crayons and making cards. I could not believe how happy the children were in a safe environment.
Flying high with the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes Acrobatic Team was very exciting. Once the pilot lew the jet UPSIDE DOWN and then did a ROLL! By the time I got out of the plane my legs turned into jelly. It was extremely daunting and I felt like a teenager on a roller coaster ride.
As you can see my duties as Governor are very diverse and distinct and it is my belief that in sharing my daily duties with communities, I can become valued in helpful ways and lend a hand to Queensland to become more advanced.
Signed Her Excellency
Ms Quentin Bryce AC