Is it the duty of the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament where there is evidence of violations of the Constitution and/or International law?
The Governor-General delivers his opening of Parliament address.
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Thank you, James, for your question about the role of the Governor-General.
The Australian Constitution provides information about the roles and responsibilities of the Governor-General. Section 2 broadly describes the role of the Governor-General and section 61 describes the power of the Governor-General extending to the ‘execution and maintenance of this Constitution, and of the laws of the Commonwealth’.
While section 5 of the Constitution outlines the Governor-General’s power to dissolve the Parliament, it does not say the Governor-General has to dissolve the Parliament if there is evidence that the Constitution or international law has been violated. This means that while the Governor-General would have to act in such circumstances, there is no particular requirement to dissolve the Parliament.
Additionally, by convention, the Governor-General acts on the advice of the Executive (in practice, the Prime Minister), so it would be an unusual situation for the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament without consulting the Prime Minister.