Appointing the First Australian-Born Governor-General: Legal and Vice-Regal Opposition

John Waugh

Melbourne Law School


Public Law Review, Vol. 23, pp. 50, 2012

Archival sources that have become available in recent years deepen our understanding of the controversy that surrounded the nomination in 1930 of Sir Isaac Isaacs as the first Australian-born Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. A chorus of elite Australian lawyers told King George V and the public that the appointment of Isaacs on the advice of the Australian Prime Minister would be invalid under the Australian Constitution. Their views, and those of other critics, were relayed by State Governors and the outgoing Governor-General, who added comments revealing their anti-Semitic hostility to Isaacs and their determination to oppose the appointment regardless of the views of the governments that advised them. For these lawyers, the imperial connection pervaded the Constitution, and only constitutional amendment could enable Australian ministers to become advisers of the King.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: Sir Isaac Isaacs, Governor-General, Australia, John Baird, Lord Stonehaven, James Scullin, Alexander Hore-Ruthven, Lord Gowrie

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Date posted: January 16, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Waugh, John, Appointing the First Australian-Born Governor-General: Legal and Vice-Regal Opposition (2012). Public Law Review, Vol. 23, pp. 50, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2201346

Contact Information

John Waugh (Contact Author)
Melbourne Law School ( email )
University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/staff/John%20Waugh
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