A 21-gun salute outside Parliament House has heralded the swearing-in of General Sir Peter Cosgrove as Australia’s 26th governor general.
Wearing civilian attire and displaying a host of military and civil medals, Cosgrove was sworn into the nation’s highest constitutional office by the high court chief justice, Robert French. Scores of politicians and dignitaries witnessed the ceremony inside the Senate chamber on Friday.
Earlier, Tony Abbott welcomed Cosgrove to Parliament House where he received a general salute from a military guard of honour. He was escorted to the Senate by the usher of the Black Rod and the serjeant-at-arms, passing by dozens of people gathered inside the main lobby.
The formal proclamation ceremony began with the reading of the Queen’s commission, the instrument by which a person is appointed governor general “during our pleasure”.
Cosgrove, as required, made an oath affirming to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors. He also swore to do right to all manner of Australians “without fear or favour, affection or ill will”.
He signed a proclamation of office, which was countersigned by the prime minister.
Cosgrove said he was both humbled and proud to take office, noting he was the 13th Australian to do so. He paid tribute to his predecessor, Dame Quentin Bryce, and her husband, Michael, saying they had given eminent service to the nation.
Australia prided itself on high levels of social inclusiveness, harmony and equity, he said. “Compared to most nations on earth that pride is not misplaced.”
Yet Australia remained a work in progress. “There is a role for the governor general … to reflect the community to itself without becoming partisan,” he said. “I will embrace those opportunities enthusiastically.”
Cosgrove and his wife, Lynne, were greeted by government ministers, the leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, and the Greens leader, Christine Milne. The justices of the high court and the heads of diplomatic missions also were presented to the vice-regal couple.
A reception is being held in the Members’ Hall.
By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
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