Farewell to Governor General Quentin Bryce

quentin_bryce.jpgMr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (13:42): Today I pay tribute to Her Excellency the Hon. Quentin Bryce, the Governor-General of Australia, whose five-year term ends this week. Ms Bryce has served with dignity and will leave having earned the respect and reverence of monarchists and republicans alike.


Quentin Bryce has had an extraordinary career, with a string of firsts. Over the last five years, Ms Bryce has managed a delicate balance of accepting the advice of the government of the day while speaking on issues that have been close to her heart for most of her career, including human rights and the promotion of equality particularly for women. In this, as in so many things, Ms Bryce has been a role model. She was the first woman to become a barrister in Queensland and the first woman to be a faculty member of her law school. She was the first director of the Queensland Women's Information Service, the Queensland director of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, and the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner. She was only the second female Governor of Queensland, before being appointed as the first female Governor-General of Australia in 2008.

Ms Bryce has shown that our head of state should not be the hostage of conservatism. Sometimes it is easier for those above the political fray to give voice to shifts in national sentiment. In her Boyer Lecture last year, Ms Bryce said she supported same-sex marriage, and envisaged an Australia where people are able to love and marry whom they choose. She promoted the idea of an Australian republic, where every child would be able to aspire to the highest office in the land as our nation's first head of state. (Time expired)