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Australia appoints second woman governor-general in 123 years to represent British monarch

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia appointed Sam Mostyn on Monday as only its second woman governor-general, a largely ceremonial role representing the British monarch who is the nation’s head of state.

It is the first such Australian appointment since the reign of King Charles III began in 2022 and the first by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s center-left Labor Party government that wants to replace the British monarch with an Australian president as head of state.

The businesswoman and gender equality advocate, who in 2005 became the first woman Australian Football League Commissioner, was sworn in as Australia’s 28th governor-general since 1901.

In her first speech in her new role, Mostyn quoted Australia’s first woman governor-general Quentin Bryce, who described her role in 2013 as “striking a balance between observing traditions and protocol and being thoroughly contemporary.”

“I will be an optimistic, modern and visible governor-general, committed to the service and contribution that all Australians expect and deserve from the holder of this office,” Mostyn said.

Mostyn said she had spoken about the role with all five surviving former governors-general, including Bryce who was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of a Labor prime minister and served from 2008 and 2014.

Albanese’s government was elected in 2022 advocating for a referendum to create an Australian republic with an Australian citizen as head of state.

But he gave preference to holding a referendum in his government’s first three-year term to enshrine in the constitution an Indigenous panel that would advise the government on Indigenous issues.

That referendum was defeated last year and though Albanese has not yet announced plans for a