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OUTCOME PERFORMANCE

The Office reports on performance in relation to a single outcome:

The performance of the Governor-General’s role is facilitated through the organisation and management of official duties, management and maintenance of the official households and properties, and administration of the Australian honours and awards system.

During 2019–20, feedback was regularly received from the Governor-General on the quality of the program and the support and services provided in its execution. This feedback was reported to the Office’s Management Committee and included in reports or minutes as appropriate. Comments were also offered from a range of government agencies and organisations, guests and other stakeholders. Work units and teams from across the Office regularly reviewed events and projects to assess if improvements could be made, either to outcomes or to the processes involved in achieving them.

The Governor-General’s 2019–20 program of activities was broad and meaningful. It included travel throughout Australia, a range of community outreach functions, and visits to represent Australia overseas. Their Excellencies’ outreach and engagement was characterised by their deep interest in people and their stories, their empathy for Australians and their ability to connect personably and compassionately with those they meet, their energy and prodigious work ethic, and their commitment to wanting to use their term to make a difference. The Governor-General’s first year in office can be divided into three (overlapping) sections:

  • From July to December 2019, Their Excellencies undertook introductory visits to each state and territory and established relationships with key stakeholders, including patronages and community organisations.
  • From September 2019, the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley increasingly focused on providing support, comfort and encouragement to those affected by bushfires and acknowledging the incredible efforts of emergency services personnel and volunteers in the bushfire response and recovery.
  • Following the introduction of restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office explored and implemented innovative ways to digitise the Governor-General’s outreach. From March 2020, the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley embraced a diverse and dynamic program of digital and online engagement which promoted social cohesion, connectedness and wellbeing with school groups, patronages, and local communities.

The Governor-General’s ceremonial duties were arranged with careful focus and consideration to ensure the dignity of each occasion and, following the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, in line with physical distancing and other requirements. This included, in a first for Australia, receiving credentials virtually from incoming Heads of Mission to Australia.

Household operations ran efficiently. Hospitality was carefully balanced with economy, and proper stewardship of the heritage properties and their contents was ensured. Work associated with broader property maintenance at Government House and Admiralty House was carried out with due consideration to custodial responsibilities, as well as the need to ensure value for money. The Office continued important works to protect and preserve the historic Marine Barracks and the broader Kirribilli Point Battery at Admiralty House.

With regard to the Australian honours and awards system, the Office met all performance indicators. It should be noted, however, that the annual Australia Day investitures were delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Office proactively contributed to the Australian Government’s promotional activities to broaden awareness of the honours system, including successful efforts to increase the volume of nominations and encourage a range of nominations which better reflect the diversity of the Australian community. The percentage of women who received awards in the Australia Day Honours List was 41.6 per cent. This is the highest ever percentage of women recipients.