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© 2005 David Latimer

Power Comparison

The attached table is a summary of the Honorary President Republican Model in terms of the powers allocated to the Honorary President and Governor-General.

Constitutional Powers

The following powers would be specified in the federal constitution, so they could not be altered without a referendum where all the people vote. For the Governor-General, the powers listed are known as reserve powers. Powers available to the Governor-General-in-Council must be exercised on the advice of ministers through the Federal Executive Council. None of these powers change, so they are not listed here.
Honorary President Governor-General
  • Appointment of the Governor-General
  • Appointment of State Governors and Lieutenant Governors
  • Counter-signing an international treaty. This power can only be used to confirm the authority of the Governor-General and would not actually be required under present international law.
  • Delegation of powers. This is a theoretical power as it is argued that all powers have already been delegated.
  • Appointment and removal of the Prime Minister
  • Appointment and removal of federal ministers
  • Determining when federal parliament is held
  • Signing federal legislation into law
  • A veto on federal legislation prior to it becoming law
  • Having the federal parliament prorogued or dissolved
  • Calling an election for the House of Representatives
  • Calling an election for the House of Representatives and the whole Senate simultaneously (double-dissolution) when there exists a legislative deadlock as described in section 57.
  • Executive powers which are not regulated by legislation, eg appointing ambassadors and high commissioners and establishing commissions of inquiry
  • Commander-in-chief of the Defence Forces of Australia
  • Removal of Honorary Presidents, Honorary Vice Presidents, High Court Judges, Federal Court Judges and Inter-state commissioners under the procedures set out in sections 61, 72 and 101.

Statutory Powers

The following powers would be specified in other legislation and can only be altered by the parliament. For the governor-general, only the most notable powers are listed.
Honorary President Governor-General
  • Management of a fixed budget for staff and services to permit the Honorary President to carry out ceremonial duties
  • Any powers granted in a state constitution. Note that it is not anticipated that any powers will be granted
  • Declaration of temporary absence, so that an Honorary Vice President can assume certain duties during that absence.
  • Receipt of the resignation of an appointed Governor
  • Management of the Office of Governor-General, which also provides for the Australian Honours System
  • Making regulations for many acts of parliament
  • Receipt of the resignation of an Honorary President or Honorary Vice President.

Ceremonial Powers

The constitution gives the Honorary President an undefined right to represent the Presidency in a lawful ceremony or occasion, however specific duties would not be specified in law and are not officially part of the Honorary President Republican Model. The following gives an likely indication of how ceremonial powers will be distributed between the Governor-General and the Honorary President, based primarily on their constitutional role. It cannot be regarded as a complete list.
Honorary President Governor-General
  • Welcoming other Heads of State visiting Australia
  • Attending events of national or international importance
  • Attending ANZAC day commemorations in a regional centre
  • Sending letters of congratulations
  • Australia Day address
  • Travels widely throughout Australia and overseas
  • Special projects and functions (self-determined)
  • On request, patron of national and international civilian organisations making a substantial contribution to the nation
  • Encouragement of individuals and groups making a substantial contribution to their communities.
  • Official opening of federal parliament
  • Presiding officer of the Federal Executive Council
  • Duties as chief diplomatic officer, including receiving ambassadors and high commissioners.
  • Presentation of awards under the Australian Honours System
  • Attending events of importance related to the federal government, the High Court and organisations established by the Federal Government
  • Attending military parades and related ceremonies
  • Commissioning military officers and members of the federal police
  • Presides over ANZAC day commemorations in Canberra and makes national address
  • Presents colours and insignia to military units
  • On request, patron of military and veterans' organisations
  • On request, patron of community organisations with status under the Commonwealth Government.
  • Role equivalent to a state governor for the Australian Capital Territory and smaller territories under Commonwealth control.