As it happens, Crikey agrees with the views expressed by the Governor-General on the issues of same-sex marriage and the republic in her Boyer Lecture.

The problem is, as Governor-General she does not have the right to express such views.

As Governor-General, Quentin Bryce must be a national figure, one who brings us together rather than divides us. As the example of Sir William Deane showed, this need not be at the expense of engaging with the community. Moreover, the Governor-General is an appointed figure, not an elected one. Their views on significant political issues, whether the republic, same-sex marriage, or anything else, should be irrelevant to the performance of their duties.

In expressing such views, Bryce has taken sides on a political issue in a manner inappropriate for her role. They are divisive and add nothing to those debates. Australians who disagree with her are entitled to wonder why the representative of our head of state is using her position to advance them — in the same way that progressives would be offended if a conservative Governor-General expressed views with which they disagreed.

Bryce has been a successful Governor-General. But her decision to air her personal views on controversial issues was an error of judgment.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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