The constitutional laws of Western Australia provide for a Governor to represent the Sovereign as Head of State. The Governor’s role includes important constitutional, ceremonial and community functions. In performing these functions the Governor is required to act in an entirely apolitical way.
Role of the Governor
Before the granting of self-government to Western Australia, Governors were appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the United Kingdom Government. Since the Australia Acts 1986, the Governor is appointed on the advice of the Premier and may be dismissed only by the Sovereign on the advice of the Premier. The Governor is now no longer subject to the control, supervision or veto of the Sovereign or the United Kingdom Government. Since the Australia Acts were passed in 1986 by the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom at the request of all State Parliaments, the Governor acts on the advice of the Premier, Ministers and Executive Council. The Governor’s powers and functions are set out in the Letters Patent, under which the Governor is appointed, and the Constitution Act 1889. These include:
presiding over Executive Council;
appointing Ministers, Judges, Magistrates and Justices of the Peace;
fixing the time and place for each session of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council; and the proroguing and dissolving of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council;
accepting the resignation of members of the Legislative Council;
appointing the President of the Legislative Council;
issuing writs for general elections;
and taking, or authorising some person to take, the oath or affirmation of allegiance from members of the Houses of Parliament.
The Governor signs and approves Treasury authorities for the appropriation of funds for the running of the State. A vote, resolution or Bill for the spending of public money cannot be passed by the Western Australian Parliament unless the Governor sends a message to the Legislative Assembly recommending it. In each of these things the Governor acts on the advice of the Premier. All Bills passed by the Western Australian Parliament require the Governor’s signature before they become law (i.e. an Act). The appointment of senior officials in the public sector require the formal approval of the Governor in Executive Council.
Source: Dynamics in Government
A guide to the workings of government in Western Australia.
Published May 2000 by the Constitutional Centre of Western Australia;
edited by Jolly Read.