General Peter Cosgrove named Australia’s next governor-general

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has appointed General Peter Cosgrove as the next governor-general of Australia. Picture: ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has appointed General Peter Cosgrove as the next governor-general of Australia. Picture: ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

Former Defence chief Peter Cosgrove has been named as Australia's next governor-general.

Confirming one of the worst-kept secrets in federal politics, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced General Cosgrove's appointment at a press conference in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Abbott said he could "not think of a better person" to fill the governor-general role.

"Throughout his life, he has demonstrated a commitment to our country and a commitment to service. He has given service of the very highest order to our country," he said.

Outgoing Governor-General Quentin Bryce will leave the position in March. Picture: ANDREW MEARES

Outgoing Governor-General Quentin Bryce will leave the position in March. Picture: ANDREW MEARES

"I am confident that in this new role he will continue to deliver to a grateful nation leadership beyond politics."

General Cosgrove, who was joined in Canberra by his wife Lynne, said that he was "truly humbled" by the opportunity. He indicated that he would live in Canberra at Government House.

General Cosgrove replaces Quentin Bryce, Australia's first female governor-general as the Queen's representative in Australia.

General Cosgrove pledged that he would give the job his "total commitment".

"All the energy I've got, good humour and with an unfailing optimism that this is a great nation, which will only get better."

He told reporters that he would not be participating in the political process.

"I think your responsibility is to shine light but not to generate heat."

Ms Bryce, who was named as governor-general by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008, is due to leave the position in March.

Mr Abbott paid tribute to Ms Bryce, saying she had "discharged her duties for more than five years now with grace, and distinction, I salute the work that she's done, I wish her and husband Michael well after they leave office at the end of March".

After leading the international peacekeeping mission in East Timor, General Cosgrove was made chief of Army and then chief of the Australian Defence Force.

He was named Australian of the Year in 2001.

General Cosgrove takes on the vice regal role at a time that will coincide with the Centenary of Anzac celebrations. But Mr Abbott said this was not why he selected the former Defence chief for the role.

"I just wanted to pick the person I thought was the outstanding candidate for the job," he said.

General Cosgrove also talked of his wish to be a governor-general for every part of the Australian community.

"We all note that the centenary of World War I commemorations will soon be upon us ... and I have no doubt that these indeed will be a special part of our social landscape," he said.

"But I want to be very clear that I do my very best to be a governor-general for ... all manner of community enterprises and ventures and events."

Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek welcomed General Cosgrove's appointment in a statement shortly after the announcement.

"General Cosgrove reflects the best of Australia and its people. He has dedicated his entire adult life to serving his country, inspiring others with his determination, strength and leadership," she said.

Ms Plibersek also thanked Ms Bryce for her service in the role.

"Ms Bryce is Australia's first female Governor-General and has brought a renewed sense of respect and appreciation to Australia's highest office, in particular, serving as a role model and mentor to Australian women," she said.

"We will miss her sincerity, and her warmth."

The governor-general is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister.

More to come

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