Presidential Powers

The power chart shows us the comparison of powers that a president will have in various models put forward to date with those currently enjoyed by the Governor-General. With the exception of the reserve powers - which are not codified - a president would always have to act as required by the Executive Council.

It is interesting to note that none of the proposals will prevent the events similar to the 1975 dismissal of the government by the Governor-General from re-occurring. While it could be argued that the Governor-General holds extraordinary powers compared with that of a president, it should be remembered that the commission of the Governor-General can be withdrawn by the Queen almost immediately whereas a president could only be removed by a vote in the Federal Parliament which may or may not happen after a prolonged period of time.

In other words, the Governor-General has a real pressure placed upon him or her to undertake the role with integrity. Should a president have the same powers as those of the Governor-General, then the president would hold what could only be described as a dictatorial position without the same checks and balances placed upon the Governor-General.