Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Australian Governor-General Pressured to Quit

Australian Governor-General Peter Hollingworth seemed to quit as domestic pressure is increasing every day.


Australian Governor-General Peter Hollingworth seemed to quit as domestic pressure is increasing every day.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer added Tuesday his weight saying that the Governor-General would be considering his future.

"I have no doubt that he'll be looking at everything from public commentary and he will be no doubt reflecting very much on what the public think and say," Downer told the Australian Broadcast Corporation Radio.

A governor-general in Australia is the representative of the Queen and a symbol of imperial power. He may hold big power according to the constitution but in real political life is nothing more than a moral leader and national conscience.

Hollingworth was archbishop in Brisbane until chosen by Prime Minister John Howard to the position about two years ago. He has been never easy in his new office. At the start, there were complains, apparently from other religious factions, saying that Australians had already an Anglican prime minister and now was added an Anglican governor-general.

Since last year, Hollingworth has been troubled by scandals related to several cases of child abuse and sex abuse of his subordinates. Last week, his own Anglican church in Brisbane presented the parliament of Queensland with an inquiry report which described as "untenable" his decision to allow a known paedophile to continue as a priest. Then the governor-general was forced to apologize for "error of judgment."

But he failed to calm the public opinion, to which the officials have to think seriously.

Prime Minister Howard, now is visiting New York, refused to sack the Governor-General. On Monday the prime minister told the Australian daily in New York "There is nothing in his conduct as Governor-General and indeed no proper basis in relation to other matters for me to recommend to the Queen that his commission be terminated."

Meanwhile he said "Beyond that I don't intend to comment on the speculation and commentary that has occurred in Australia since I left."

The Sydney Morning Herald published a poll Tuesday showing more than three-quarters of Australians want Hollingworth to quit.

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