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Wednesday 07 October 2020
The Governor’s central role, as Her Majesty’s representative in Queensland, is to uphold the Constitution and ensure government in Queensland maintains the support of the Legislative Assembly.
These constitutional duties are determined by the Governor’s commission of appointment, the Constitution and other legislation and by convention – that is, by accepted constitutional practices and protocols that have developed over time.
These constitutional duties come into sharp public focus during an election, where, for example, the Governor dissolves the Legislative Assembly and issues writs for the election of its 93 members (which occurred yesterday, 6 October 2020).
After polling day, the writ is returned to the Governor with the handwritten names of the 93 members elected.
The Governor commissions as Premier the person who commands the support of the Legislative Assembly, and asks them to form a ‘government’.
The Governor then acts on the advice of the government of the time, irrespective of which political grouping is in power.
The central body that advises the Governor is the Executive Council, which is made up of the Premier and government ministers who are sworn in by the Governor.
Following each election, the Governor convenes Parliament, and a Speaker is elected.
The Speaker is then presented to the Governor at Government House.
The following day, the Governor attends the ceremonial opening of Parliament, where His Excellency reads the ‘Governor’s Speech’ explaining the government’s agenda.
Every bill of the Legislative Assembly is thereafter presented to the Governor for Royal Assent in Her Majesty’s name.
Governors exercise these duties in an apolitical manner informed by convention, thereby providing stability.
The combination of these duties also sustains the democratic links between the government and the parliament and the people to which they are accountable.