RESPONSE TO NEWS LIMITED STORIES PUBLISHED ON 24 AUGUST 2006
25 August 2006

Following publication of an article by Mr Ian McPhedran in The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, The Adelaide Advertiser and The Courier-Mail, the letter that appears below was sent to these papers.

Letters Editor

Ian McPhedran claims that up to 80 per cent of Australians have no idea who Governor-General Michael Jeffery is (He knows… 24.8.06), based, apparently, on a “national survey” conducted by News Ltd. last week.

But this “survey” was neither national nor statistically reliable: it was limited to four capital cities where people were approached and shown a photograph. Any extrapolation based on these responses is simply not valid.

McPhedran claims that the role of the Governor-General is being usurped by the Prime Minister who wants to “keep the Queen’s man under wraps”. This is nonsense and offensive.

The Governor-General and Mrs Jeffery perform their roles with distinction across Australia on a tireless basis. Just ask the people of the Outback who met the Governor-General on his trip along the Birdsville Track, the thousands of Australians who travelled to Gallipoli this year and saw, heard and met the Governor-General, the hundreds of people attending commemorations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, or the nearly 200 organisations of which the Governor-General and Mrs Jeffery are Patron.

Indeed the community demands on the Governor-General and Mrs Jeffery are such that they can accept only some of the many invitations they receive. A full outline of the Governor-General’s programme can be found on the website www.gg.gov.au and I encourage your readers to visit that site to gain a better understanding of the constitutional, ceremonial and community roles of the Governor-General.

Perhaps sections of the media are trying to have it both ways when it comes to the Governor-General: they ignore the positive things and then put resources into what can only be described as a beat-up based on a fanciful “survey”. What a pity that so much of the Governor-General’s activities, in Australia and overseas, are not reported because, apparently, they are good news.

Malcolm Hazell
Official Secretary to the Governor-General