Sydney, Apr 14: Australia's Governor-General-designate Quentin Bryce has said that she expects Australia will hold a frank and comprehensive discussion about whether to become a republic when the time is right.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday announced that Bryce, the Queensland Governor, would replace Major General Michael Jeffery as the Queen's representative in September. Bryce, also a prominent lawyer, academic and women's activist, will be the first woman to hold the role in its 107-year history.
She today said she was honoured to take on the role but would not be drawn on whether she would be the country's last governor-general with the election of the Rudd Government reigniting speculation of Australia moving to a republic.
"It's an issue for the Australian people and there will be a very robust and stimulating debate about that," she told reporters in Brisbane today.
Neither would she be drawn on who her replacement might be in Queensland.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has begun considerations for Bryce's replacement, with the appointment subject to approval from the Queen.
The Law Society of NSW says Ms Bryce is an "inspiration" to the legal profession.
Law Society of NSW president Hugh Macken said Ms Bryce's contribution to the legal community and her own successes had elevated the calibre of the profession.
"The appointment of Quentin Bryce as governor-general is not only a testament to her extraordinary skill and expertise, but her appointment also recognises the extraordinary work she has done in helping to pave the way for women within the legal profession," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Macken, as telling AAP.
"She has been a pioneer in all aspects of her life and the news of her position is not only another milestone in her exemplary career to date, but a historic moment for the nation, the legal community and women lawyers within Australia."