Weekly Poll: Which woman for Governor-General?

Photographs of our nominations for Governor-General 2008

Over the past few days we’ve been speculating about who’ll be Australia’s next Governor-General. Some high-profile folks reckon it should be a woman. So which of these nominees would you choose, and why? Vote at the website, and add your comments.

In alphabetical order of surname…

  • Marie Bashir, well-respected Governor of NSW and tireless worker for Aboriginal mental health.
  • Liz Ellis, former captain of the Australian netball team and solicitor.
  • Edna Everage, housewife superstar, actress and ambassador for Australian culture.
  • Julie Hammer, an electronics engineer and intelligence officer who blazed the trail for women in the air force.
  • Ja’mie King, dedicated fund-raiser and self-promoter. (Personally I think Ja’mie will eventually replace Dame Edna as our leading international celebrity.)
  • Dannii Minogue, because… oh, someone will think of a reason.
  • Kylie Minogue, pop princess and actress of renown.
  • Lowitja O’Donoghue, first chairwoman of the disbanded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.
  • … or someone else?

Previous results: Kevin Rudd becoming PM was the clear winner on first preferences at 52%, with The Chaser crashing APEC security a strong 2nd at 36%. The antic of footballer Ben Cousins was twice as important as Australia’s signing of the Kyoto protocol.

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10 Replies to “Weekly Poll: Which woman for Governor-General?”

  1. There can be no better choice than Her Grace, the Right-and-Left Honourable Dame Edna, Housewife Infini-Star. It boggles the mind that we can possibly be considering Kim “Never Won Anything Ever” Beazley for the job when such a consummate ambassador for the nation waits in the wings. Make it so!

  2. I see Dannii is currently equal second! Why Dannii? She’s like Kylie, but more mediocre and just that ever slightly trashier (ok, a lot more trashier). I think she’s very representative of where we are as a nation at the moment. She has also #1 like Chairman Rudd, cavorted with strippers at a venue (a Google will reveal pertinent details) and #2 has bonds of former matrimony to a mighty political dynasty (the McMahons of course).

  3. Taking this one seriously, I’ve been thinking about it since Rudd said it won’t be a pollie, which rules out a lot of the people I’d like to see. While I dislike anything that smacks of tokenism, I think it’s more than time that we have a woman in this role, and there are plenty of women who could do it well. While I think that the Governor General is indeed an anachronism, and I do hope this will be the last one we have, William Deane showed just how important the role could be and how it could be invested with real weight. Marie Bashir has done an excellent job as NSW governor, but I think she’s coming to the end of her public life. Lowitja O’Donohue would be a good choice from my point of view but possibly a divisive one. After a lot of thought about women in public life in Australia, the person I kept coming back to who evidently has both the political nous and sufficient gravitas to do us proud, and yet is a popular figure in this country was Mary Kostakidis.

  4. @Quatrefoil: Yes… a very serious poll… so serious that Dame Edna Everage and Dannii Minogue are our two poll leaders at the moment.

    The key themes from your post are that the role requires “weight”, gravitas (same thing, but in Latin) and political nous. To which I’d add that being Governor-General isn’t a reward for being popular or famous. It should never be a sportsperson, therefore, not even a Don Bradman.

    The G-G should be a statesperson who can represent all Australians — someone who can provide a stirring speech for troops departing for battle, who can express grief on a day of national mourning, and who can reflect on our society and make deep observations on Australia Day.

    The sad truth is that they also need to be respectably middle class, having achieved their public profile doing Good Works which are acceptable to the violet-frocked ladies sipping tea at Admiralty House and Yarralumla on special occasions. So, helping Aborigines is fine, as long as we don’t have to look at them or keep being reminded of them.

    Mary Kostakidis would indeed be a great performer, but I suspect Geraldine Dougue would be a more likely choice — if media personalities are considered sufficiently dignified.

    @Snarky Platypus: I think cavorting with strippers is only OK if you have an Iced VoVo afterwards. If you’re becoming G-G, that is. For all other roles it’s OK, and indeed only the other day I was… um, but I digress.

    Now that Mary Kostakidis and Geraldine Dougue have been mentioned, I’m guessing you’ll want to promote your good friend Virginia Trioli?

  5. I did think of Geraldine Doogue too, although, dare I say it, I think she’s a bit less ‘weighty’. Possibly because she focuses on religious themes in her broadcasting work. MK gets extra points because she reads the news and that’s suitably serious and uncontroversial. I suspect her recent stoush with SBS management might lose her a few GG points, but the fact that she conducted it with quiet dignity might gain some.

    I quite agree, no sportspersons, but considering your comments about the middle-classedness of the position, I’m thinking I might change my vote to Lowitja, or, if you want a real ratbag, Pat O’Shane. However, it’s still possible for someone born on the wrong side of the tracks to make it to middle-classedness with sufficient education.

  6. Voting in the poll as of midday today:

    contender % votes votes
    Marie Bashir 13% 4
    Liz Ellis 3% 1
    Edna Everage 23% 7
    Julie Hammer 0% 0
    Ja’mie King 13% 4
    Dannii Minogue 16% 5
    Kylie Minogue 6% 2
    Lowitja O’Donoghue 16% 5
    someone else 10% 3

    total votes: 31

    Looks like it’s going to be a skank-fight between Dannii Minogue and Lowitja O’Donoghue. I’d pay to see that!

    @Snarky Platypus: I’m reminded of The Chaser‘s headline when Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with cancer: “Dannii Minogue diagnosed with less popular, more tragic form of cancer.”

  7. Voting in the poll as of 10pm today, and the real women have pulled into the lead.

    contender % votes votes
    Marie Bashir 11% 4
    Liz Ellis 3% 1
    Edna Everage 19% 7
    Julie Hammer 0% 0
    Ja’mie King 13% 4
    Dannii Minogue 14% 5
    Kylie Minogue 8% 3
    Lowitja O’Donoghue 17% 6
    someone else 8% 3

    total votes: 36

    Now the final show-down skank-fight is between Dame Edna Everage and Ja’mie King. I’d pay to see that too!

    I’ll wrap up this poll tomorrow (Saturday) some time and figure out what to do next. Any suggestions?

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