Australia to get first female Governor-General

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Sydney, Apr 14 (UNI) Australia is to have its first female governor-general, who is the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, to hold the post in 107 years.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has appointed Quentin Bryce, the current governor of Queensland, for a five-year term.

Ms Bryce, a 65-year-old former lawyer, academic and women's activist will replace Major General Michael Jeffery as the Queen's representative in September.

''It's taken us 107 years, it's been a while, it's good that it's happened,'' The Age quoted Mr Rudd as saying.

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said the appointment truly brought Australia out of the 20th century mindset of the former Howard government.

''We look forward to the potential for her passing the baton on to the first president of the republic of Australia,'' Senator Brown said.

The governor-general appoints ambassadors, ministers and judges and is commander-in-chief of the Australian Defence Forces.

''What this day says to Australian women and girls is that you can do anything, you can be anything, and it makes my heart sing to see women in so many diverse roles across our country in Australia,'' said Ms Bryce.

Mr Rudd, who discussed the appointment with the Queen at Windsor Castle last week, denied he was favouring his home state of Queensland with a ''pineapple coup.'' Ms Bryce had spent much of her working career in Sydney and was known across the nation for her work as sex discrimination commissioner, he said.

Maj Gen Jeffery would continue to carry out his constitutional and public responsibilities in his remaining four months in office.

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