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Victoria’s Future Governor: Margaret Gardner AC, a Republican, Embraces New Role Amidst Changing Times

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced the appointment of Monash University vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner AC as the next governor, succeeding Linda Dessau. Despite being a republican, Professor Gardner expressed confidence that her personal views would not hinder her responsibilities in the position. Mr. Andrews praised her contributions to higher education, women’s advancement, and the state’s progress in becoming an education hub. He revealed that he specifically approached Professor Gardner for the role, which was confirmed by the palace.

Reflecting on her upcoming role, Professor Gardner expressed her enthusiasm for engaging with the people of Victoria and understanding the vast depth of the state. She emphasized the importance of fostering respect for differences and voiced her aspiration to represent the community’s hopes for the future.

Addressing her republican beliefs, Professor Gardner acknowledged the current constitutional monarchy but noted the evolving nature of the governor’s role, which has become more ceremonial over time. While personally advocating for a republic, she recognized the governor’s independence from the King’s advice or veto.

Regarding her husband, Glyn Davis, who serves as the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Professor Gardner affirmed that their roles would remain separate. She acknowledged his senior position but clarified that she would be the one performing the governor’s role. Premier Andrews highlighted that it is not uncommon for partners to hold different positions, citing Ms. Dessau’s marriage to Country Court judge Anthony Howard as an example.

Mr. Andrews expressed gratitude to Linda Dessau and her husband for their leadership and service to the state during her eight-year term. Ms. Dessau, the first female and first Jewish governor of Victoria, faced occasional controversies during her tenure, including repaying the cost of meals at expensive London restaurants. As her term concludes this month, Lieutenant Governor Jim Angus will act as governor until Professor Gardner assumes the position in August, becoming Victoria’s 30th governor.

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