Statement – Retirement of Governor-General

This week is Sir Peter Cosgrove’s last as Australia’s 26th Governor-General.

On behalf of the Government and people of Australia I thank Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove for their service over the last five years.

Sir Peter has been one of our most approachable Governors-General.

Australians from all walks of life felt like they knew this Governor-General. It didn’t matter if it was a palace or a pub, Sir Peter would shake your hand, look you in the eye and start a conversation.

Sir Peter concludes a lifetime of public service to Australia.

He commenced his studies at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1965 and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in 1968. He led the INTERFET peacekeeping mission to East Timor in 1999 and rose to Chief of the Defence Force in 2002. General Cosgrove retired from the ADF in 2005 after 40 years’ service.

Sir Peter has always taken an active role in supporting, encouraging and engaging with the men and women of the Australian Defence Force.

General Cosgrove’s initial retirement in 2005 was interrupted with a request to oversee the rebuilding after Cyclone Larry, as well as various community and business appointments, and culminated in him being asked to be Governor-General in 2014.

For the past five years, Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove have served Australia with distinction.

Over the course of his time as Governor-General, Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove visited over 200 local communities across Australia. One third of all their activities have been in regional and rural communities. They have even visited inmates in our prison system.

Their Excellencies have made a particular effort to engage with young Australians. Last year, 25,000 school students visited Government House and most had the opportunity to ask questions of the Governor-General. Sir Peter is the first Governor-General to regularly Skype with classes in remote schools.

Australia is grateful for their commitment to our country over a lifetime.

Jen and I wish them a long, happy and uninterrupted retirement.

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