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Invitations & Protocol

Protocol Guidelines 

The following notes are a helpful guide to understand what is expected at an event or function where the Governor is present.

If you have any further queries, please contact Government House.

1.   Forms of Address

The correct form of address is:

Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC Governor of Western Australia.

On first meeting, the Governor is greeted as ‘Your Excellency’, and thereafter as ‘Ma’am’.

The Governor should be formally acknowledged as ‘Your Excellency’ at official engagements.

2.   Order of Proceedings

If your invitation is accepted, details concerning your organisation’s function/event should be supplied to this office at least two weeks before the event, to assist in briefing the Governor.

For this purpose, an Event Brief information sheet will be provided by the Private Secretary to your Event Coordinator.

The information you provide needs to be as detailed as possible. However, it is preferable to provide an incomplete summary rather than delay the process. Supplementary information such as guest lists may be sent later as they become available.

A copy of the final brief for the Governor will be sent to your Event Coordinator prior to the function.

3.   Speeches

Requests for the Governor to make a speech should be indicated when the invitation is issued. Unless it has been agreed at the time of accepting an invitation, the Governor will not speak at a function.

Where a speech has been agreed:

  • Comprehensive notes (or draft speech, if requested) must be provided at least three weeks before the event.
  • It is preferable that the Governor speaks first.
  • If there are to be other speakers, it is important that Government House is advised of the subject matter, to avoid replication.
  • It would be appreciated if an adequately illuminated lectern and a public address system could be provided.

4.   Role of the Host

The Host should meet the Governor on arrival at the car and accompany her throughout the function and to departure. Please note that the Governor should always arrive last. Please provide an arrival location for the Vice Regal Car. It is customary on most occasions for the Governor to be the first guest to depart following formalities. If possible, the Governor prefers a discreet departure and the host should escort the Governor to the Vice-Regal car.

The Host should be the most senior member of the organisation available and should introduce guests to the Governor. If this is not possible, responsibility should be allocated to another appropriate person.

5.   Governor’s Aide in Attendance

The Governor is attended by an Honorary-Aide-de-Camp, at all functions, unless otherwise indicated. The Aide acts as an on-the-spot facilitator, assisting the Governor, and the event organisers as required.

During functions, host organisations are asked to direct all queries regarding arrangements, media, or photographs, to the Aide, not to the Governor.

6.   Anthems and Vice-Regal Salute

It is not always necessary to play an anthem or the Vice Regal salute at a function attended by the Governor. Government House is able to assist with advice as to the appropriate occasions.

7. Seating

At dinners and luncheons it is preferable that the official table is not elevated above other tables.

The Aide must be seated within line of sight of the Governor, at a table immediately adjacent to the main table. In circumstances when seating is in rows, the Aide must be seated in the row behind the Governor, either directly behind or at the end of that row.

The host organisation is asked to supply a floor plan and a seating plan at least five working days prior to the function.

8. Toasts

It is not necessary to offer toasts at functions attended by the Governor. When an organisation chooses to incorporate toasts into the proceedings, the Loyal Toast, “The Queen”, should be offered first. It is not necessary to toast the Governor. Toasts are normally proposed at the end of formal dinners.

9. Photographs

Photographs may be taken unless the Governor specifically requests otherwise. It is preferable to advise Government House as to whether official photographs will be taken prior to the event.

In the event of a group photo, all who are to be in the photo should be gathered together and placed in their positions, and the photograph set up by the photographer. The Governor should then be escorted to the group, placed in position, and the photo taken.

Organisations are encouraged to provide Government House with digital copies of official photographs taken at a function or event which may be considered suitable for display on the Government House website or Twitter account @GovHouseWA.

10. Media

If you are expecting media to be present at your function please advise Government House.

If you plan to issue a media statement in advance of (or following) your function, which references the Governor’s attendance or Government House, you are asked to provide a draft to the Office prior to release.

11. Using the Governor’s Name

If using the Governor’s name and title on a plaque, publication, or similar, you are encouraged to have the draft wording checked by Government House prior to production.