The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative of the Australian monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and resides in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out constitutional duties within the Commonwealth of Australia. The governor-general has formal presidency over the Federal Executive Council and is commander-in-chief of the Australian Defence Force. The functions of the governor-general include appointing ministers, judges, and ambassadors; giving royal assent to legislation passed by parliament; issuing writs for election; and bestowing Australian honours. In general, the governor-general observes the conventions of the Westminster system and responsible government, maintaining a political neutrality, and has almost always acted only on the advice of the prime minister or other ministers or, in certain cases, parliament. The governor-general also has a ceremonial role: hosting events at either of the two official residences—Government House in the capital, Canberra, and Admiralty House in Sydney—and travelling throughout Australia to open conferences, attend services and commemorations, and generally provide encouragement to individuals and groups who are contributing to their communities. When travelling abroad, the governor-general is seen as the representative of Australia, and the Queen of Australia. The governor-general is supported by a staff (of 80 in 2018) headed by the official secretary to the governor-general. A governor-general is not appointed for a specific term, but is generally expected to serve for five years subject to a possible short extension. Since 28 March 2014, the Governor-General has been General Sir Peter Cosgrove. From Federation in 1901 until 1965, 11 out of the 15 governors-general were British aristocrats; they included four barons, three viscounts, three earls, and one royal duke. Since then, all but one of the governors-general have been Australian-born; the exception, Sir Ninian Stephen, arrived in Australia as a teenager. Only one Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce (2008–2014), has been a woman. On 16 December 2018 it was announced that General Sir Peter Cosgrove would be replaced with General David Hurley, currently the Governor of New South Wales. To provide continuity through general elections both federally and in New South Wales, Hurley would succeed Cosgrove, who had planned to retire in March 2019, on 28 June 2019.
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