Thérèse and I were deeply saddened today to learn of the death of Michael Jeffery, the former Governor-General of Australia.
Michael was a good Governor-General. He was appointed to the office after a period of controversy concerning his predecessor and worked hard to return the office of Governor-General to one of universal respect.
Michael was appointed by my predecessor, John Howard. Despite that fact, he dealt with my government with complete courtesy, professionalism and respect.
Michael had a distinguished military career. He was also passionate about land conservation and the environment and understood deeply the problems of water scarcity on our vast continent. Michael drew deeply on his proud, West Australian experience, knowing well that water is the lifeblood of our country.
Michael was supported by his wife Marlena. They were both kind and gentle people who always prepared to take time with others, whatever their position in life.
It was on Michael’s personal recommendation that I nominated Quentin Bryce to become Governor-General. He had dealt with Quentin during her period as Governor of Queensland and was deeply impressed by her qualities. He therefore played a significant role in bringing about Australia’s first woman Governor-General.
Thérèse and I pass our deepest condolences to Marlena and their entire family.