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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia • Page 4

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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STATE GOVERNOR: CHANGING OF THE GUARD 4 The Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, January 17, 1996 Sir Roden not chuffed with the landlord Men from opposite sides of the divide 4 A i r. 4 14 Ik tSC- rv A) v- 1 I 1 iv By LEONIE LAMONT Sir Roden Cutler, longest-serving Governor of NSW, was blunt. "You wouldn't want to know what I'd say to Bob Carr," he remarked, as the news officially broke that the Governor's lease on Government House would not be renewed by the Carr Government. "It's a political consideration to make way in NSW to lead the push for a republic. "If they decide not to have a Governor and the public agrees with that, and Parliament agrees, and the Queen agrees to it, that is a different matter, but while there is a Governor you have got to give him some respectability and credibility, because he is the host for the whole State of NSW." In this week of farewell lunches for Rear-Admiral Sinclair, NSW's surviving Governors and their families have had the chance to reminisce about their times as tenants of Government House and ponder Labor's contentious move into the next century.

There was Monday's lunch at GH, a private session with Sir Roden and Lady Cutler, Air Marshal Sir James and Lady Rowland, and Lady Martin, widow of the former Governor Sir David Martin. Yesterday, Sir Roden and a former Premier, Sir Eric Willis, were at a farewell lunch for Rear-Admiral Sinclair at the Scout Association's headquarters, The Bunyas, at Haberfleld. The Scouts fear that by evicting the Governor from Government House, Mr Carr has also evicted their movement, leaving them to find a new venue for exemplary Scouts to receive their Queen's Scout and Baden-Powell awards. The Scout Association's chief executive, Mr Hilton Bloomfield, was waiting to see whether the new Governor, Mr Gordon Samuels, would take on the mantle of Chief Scout, considering the diminished ceremonial and community role the Govern- By DAVID HUMPHRIES State Political Correspondent Was the appointment of a Jewish republican who doesn't believe in God Mr Bob Carr's revenge for the 1932 gubernatorial sacking of the Labor rogue Premier, Jack Lang? "You, might say that but I couldn't possibly comment," the Premier told his questioner, a news scribe, after yesterday's announcement that Mr Gordon Samuels, QC, a retired NSW Supreme Court judge, would be the State's part-time Governor from March 1. Whatever its origins, Mr Carr is none too keen on the viceregal office particularly its pomp and ceremony and what the Premier regards as the anachronistic attachment of functions and powers to a post on its way out.

Publicly yesterday, Mr Can-applauded the efforts, the energy and commitment of the incumbent for the past five years of Australia's oldest job, Rear-Admiral Peter Sinclair and his wife, Shirley. Privately, he emphatically denied suggestions that he and Rear-Admiral Sinclair have been at odds for months or that he has been dismissive of the Governor. The explanation simply was that they came from opposite sides of the philosophical divide on the questions of republicanism and the relationship between the Governor and Government. For his part, Rear-Admiral Sinclair has been going public over the past few months with expressions of hurt that Mr Carr did not invite his counsel on his replacement and why the office should not be tampered with. He has been saying the same things, only more stridently, within the regular meetings between the Governor and ros-tered Cabinet ministers collectively known as the Executive Council.

"For the last six months, every rostered minister to ExCo got a tirade on republicanism and why he Rear-Admi-ral Sinclair wasn't being con sulted on his successor, etc," said one senior minister. "It got to the point where ministers increasingly made up excuses why they could not attend or could not stop for a cup of tea afterwards." A particular bugbear of Rear-Admiral Sinclair was the announcement of senior government appointments before they were approved by his Executive Council. "He'd treat it as if he was making the decisions and was keen to convey to ministers that they were there to advise him," said another minister. "He is bipartisan in the sense that he was as contemptuous of the Liberals when they were in and may well have blocked Premier John Fahey's ambition of getting an election called in the euphoria following Sydney winning the Olympics in 1993. For that, we are forever in his debt" Next Wednesday, the entire ministry meets Rear-Admiral Sinclair for his final Executive Council meeting and an opportunity, presumably, to sort out some of the misunderstandings.

Mr Carr, meanwhile, was pleased that his winding back of the Chief Boy Scout role and the vacating of Government House was evidence that this was no sit-on-your-hands Government content with the status quo. "This is a great win for the people of NSW, a great historic building available to the people," he said. No other Labor Government would attempt such a radical measure. It did in 1910, when members of the McGowen Labor Government marched to Government House to claim it in the name of the people, only to be overwhelmed by a public backlash. "Carr is 86 years behind the times and he's fallen for the same sucker trick," remarked the acting Opposition Leader, Mr Armstrong.

By keeping on Mr Samuels as chairman of the Law Reform Commission, the Government would impinge on the separation of powers doctrine because the new Governor would have a role in changing the law. Sir Roden "It is a degrading of the office and the Governor." ment has in mind. Sir Roden, who was credited with opening Government House to public access during his 14 years in office, said that apart from Government House being an essential "tool of the it had not been designed as a public museum. As a residence in his time, it was opened to community groups, youth and visiting VI Ps. It was also home to his family.

There was at least one teenage birthday party where a slot car racing track was placed all through the house. Sir Roden and Rear-Admiral Sinclair welcomed the appointment of Mr Samuels. As a jurist, he breaks the tradition of Governors being drawn from the ranks of the defence force. Sir Roden, VC, CBE, KC.MG, pointed out that he came to the post as a diplomat. Rear-Admiral Sinclair said he had been "pretty lucky" to work under three premiers during his term, and that he had a good working relationship with all.

Sir Roden said the Premier's decision was ahead of public thinking and an insult. "For the life of me I cannot understand the logic of having a Governor who is part-time and doesn't live at Government House," he said. "It is such a degrading of the office and of the Governor." I rt -t I 0 The retiring Governor, Rear-Admiral Peter Sinclair an uneasy relationship with the Premier. Photograph by DEAN SEWELL -FAMOUS GOVERNORS Two other States looking at top job WW WWlIIWIlltW Hi- aattt KMr.mriginmm?."-i-iiiiiy; ir i i 1 i OPERA I lH0US lllit jj I I'd JL ROYAL I S-(( BOTANIC I )) GARDENS i Is I I -t i At least two other State Governments are reassessing the role of Governor, though none is yet prepared to follow the change proposed in NSW. In South Australia and Tasmania, inquiries into reforms required by a change to a republic include examinations of the future role of a State Governor, government spokesmen said.

Consideration is also being given to the issue in Queensland. But in Victoria and Western Australia, there was said to be no intention to change either the Governor's role or residence. Speaking on ABC radio yesterday prior to the Premier's announcement of the radical changes to the office, Rear-Admiral Sinclair said he would be "dismayed" if the Governor's job were downgraded as part of a push to a republic. "I am here to protect the people of NSW against constitutional excesses," he said. "If you were to do away with one of the fundamental safeguards that protects our democracy and our free way of life, then you would place enormous, enormous, enormous trust in the integrity and honesty of not only today's politicians but those 20 years, 40 years, 100 years hence, regardless of hether go down the republican path or not." Sir Roden Cutter 20 Jan 1966 20 Jan 1981 Winner of the Victoria Cross for bravery in WWII, Cutter was Governor for an unprecedented 15 years.

After a long career as a policy maker and diplomat in the Department of External Affairs, most of his duties as Governor were administrative Captain William Bligh. 13 Aug 1806 26 Jan 1808 20 years after being set adrift after the mutiny on the Bounty, Bligh was the victim of another coup when Governor. The NSW Corps jailed him and sent him back to England they resented his attempts to control the liquor trade and currency and to restrict the use of convicts as slaves Sir Philip Game 29 May 1930 -15 Jan 1935 Arrived in the depths of the Depression, renounced a quarter of his salary to help the State. Afters clashes with Premier Jack Lang over government reform and Lang's refusal to give State funds to the Federal Government, Game dismissed the NSW Cabinet Maj. Gen.

Lachlan Macquarie 1 Jan 1810-1 Dec 1821 Finding NSW in ruins after the Bligh rebellion, Macquarle's government invigorated the colony. He stopped the rum trade, constructed hundreds of buildings, ended the danger of famine, established Liverpool and Bathurst and ordered the exploration of the Blue Mountains Captain Arthur Phillip 26 Jan 1788 -10 Dec 1 792 Phillip's challenge was tof prevent the new colony from starving in the face of dwindling supplies and apparently uncuitivatable land. He retired once the colony's future was secure: supplies had arrived and the administration had been set up Sir David Martin 20 Jan 1989 7 Aug 1990 A decorated naval officer and 1988 NSW father of the year for acting as "dad" to many young sailors, Martin led a rewarding, successful life but died a very public death. He was stricken with mesothelioma, a disease caused by asbestos, and died days after stepping down The last time Labor seized that House Jj. Department of INDUSTRY.

SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY By GERALDINE O'BRIEN Heritage Writer Mr Carr's announcement at the Chief Secretary's Building yesterday was inevitably in a lower key than the course taken by his predecessor J. S. T. McGowen, Premier of the first NSW Labor Government. When Labor had come to office in 1910, the State Governor lived at Cranbrook, in Bellevue Hill, while Government House fulfilled its original role as the "mother colony" residence of the Governor-General.

However, Labor had promised that the role of State Governor would be abolished erty as it wished, it was decided in 1915 that the Governor of NSW should return to Government House. Most heritage bodies were surprised by yesterday's announcement, with neither the National Trust nor the NSW Heritage Council having been consulted about the move. Mr Ian Stephenson, senior curator with the National Trust and responsible for Old Government House, Parramatta, said Government House was one of the State's most historic houses, purpose-built between 1837 and 1845 to house the Governor, "and as long as we have a and that Government House Sydney would no longer be used by the Governor-General. Accordingly, in 1912, it was announced that Government House would be converted into a museum of antiquities and, with its grounds, be open to the public. Lord Denman, the Governor-General, attempted compromise but was forced out in October 1912.

On December 14, the Government officially took over. According to Viceregal Quarters, Rollo Gillespie's history of Government residences, "members of the Ministry, protected by about 200 policemen, moved across the road from the Chief Secretary's office into the grounds of Government House to take formal possession in the name of the people of the A crowd of about 20,000 -opponents and partisans competed with boos and cheers but when Premier McGowen called for three cheers for the King, Gillespie reports, "nobody could hear him but most of the crowd responded his followers quickly removed the platform in order to prevent its use by the opposition Although the Privy Council eventually endorsed the State's right to dispose of State prop Governor, it should maintain its residential "Turning it into an art gallery or something similar sounds extremely hazardous, since it would probably involve stripping it of the things that pertain to the domestic interior it was built as," he said. Equally, the Chief Secretary's office was a most significant public building which should have increased public access. Mr Howard Tanner, chairman of the NSW Heritage Council, said an "extraordinary vacuum" was left when the original function was taken away from grand government buildings. RENEWABLE ENERGY INDUSTRY PROGRA: Hie Building Society SINCE 1880 without penalty.

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