The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative in Australia of the Australian monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The Governor-General is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister of Australia, when travelling abroad, the Governor-General is seen as the representative of Australia, and of the Queen of Australia, so is treated as a head of state. The Governor-General is supported by a staff headed by the Official Secretary to the Governor-General, a Governor-General is not appointed for a specific term, but is generally expected to serve for five years subject to a possible short extension. Since 28 March 2014, the Governor-General has been General Sir Peter Cosgrove, from Federation in 1901 until 1965,11 out of the 15 Governors-General were British aristocrats, they included four barons, three viscounts, three earls, and one prince. Since then, all but one of the Governors-General have been Australian-born, as of 2017, only one Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce, was a woman. The selection of a Governor-General is a responsibility for the Prime Minister of Australia, the candidate is approached privately to confirm whether they are willing to accept the appointment. The prime minister advises the monarch to appoint his nominee. This has been the procedure since November 1930, when James Scullins proposed appointment of Sir Isaac Isaacs was fiercely opposed by the British government, Scullin was equally insistent that the monarch must act on the relevant prime ministers direct advice. Both of these appointments had been agreed to despite British government objections, despite these precedents, George V remained reluctant to accept Scullins recommendation of Isaacs and asked him to consider Field Marshal Sir William Birdwood. However, Scullin stood firm, and, on 29 November, the King agreed to Isaacss appointment and this right to not only advise the monarch directly, but also to expect that advice to be accepted, was soon taken up by all the other Dominion prime ministers. This, among other things, led to the Statute of Westminster 1931, having agreed to the appointment, the monarch then permits it to be publicly announced in advance, usually several months before the end of the current Governor-Generals term. During these months, the person is referred to as the Governor-General-designate, the actual appointment is made by the monarch. Governors-General have during their tenure the style His/Her Excellency the Honourable, since May 2013, the style used by a former Governor-General is the Honourable, it was at the same time retrospectively granted for life to all previous holders of the office. From the creation of the Order of Australia in 1975, the Governor-General was, ex officio, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order, and therefore became entitled to the post-nominal AC. In 1986 the Letters Patent were amended again, and Governors-General appointed from that time were again, ex officio, until 1989, all Governors-General were members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and thus held the additional style the Right Honourable for life. The same individuals were also usually either peers, knights, or both, in 1989, Bill Hayden, a republican, declined appointment to the British Privy Council and any imperial honours. Dame Quentin Bryce was the first Governor-General to have had no title or pre-nominal style. Until 2015, the honour continued after the retirement from office of the Governor-General, formerly, the Governor-General automatically became a knight or dame upon being sworn in
The letters patent issued by Queen Victoria in 1900 creating the office of Governor-General
Viscount Dunrossil, 14th Governor-General of Australia (1960–61), in his court uniform, with his vice-regal consort, Viscountess Dunrossil.
1970 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine, the official car used on ceremonial occasions to transport the Governor-General of Australia and visiting heads of state.