week’s Senate Estimates revealed the Viceroy’s costs, and what a
revelation they were. Governor-general Michael Jeffery has a staff of
85, two official residences, and his presence costs taxpayers $1.1666
million a month.

Now, one can be excused for asking why our own
model of a modern major general needs a staff of 85 and why he needs
two magnificent residences, especially as it was also revealed that the
government has set aside $15 million to make sure both mansions are
kept in good working order.

It has been reported that Michael Jeffery has put a few noses out of
joint by asking too many questions at Executive Council meetings – and
ministers get very fidgety when he wants too much information. John
Howard has downgraded the viceroy’s position dramatically and has
himself assumed most of the important duties usually performed by the
head of states representative. Since becoming prime minister Howard has
given a new meaning to the word profligate.