Quentin Bryce's replacement as governor-general likely to march to different drum

It is tempting to see the appointment of Peter Cosgrove as a bit disappointing - as just the kind of line and length preferment one might expect from a similarly inclined conservative government.

After the flair and elan of Quentin Bryce, some Australians at least will be underwhelmed. From effete, female and fashionable, to blokey, boring and even boorish.

Another man, and a former military one at that, who not so long ago was gracing our television screens inviting us to raise a glass of Victoria Bitter to our diggers and get along to the dawn service. It seems a long way to the impeccably presented Bryce.

After five years, it is arguable that the nation's first female Governor-General has, perhaps by that very fact alone, done more than anyone else to broaden the horizons of what is in essence a mostly ceremonial job.

Yet Bryce has done more.

She has strayed ever so slightly from the path of anodyne neutrality to gently endorse marriage equality and promote the sense of national self-confidence needed to embrace the republic - quite something from the Queen's official representative.

Always within the constraints of this anachronistic role, Bryce's civility and fundamental elegance have shone through. But just as it would have been pointless marking her contribution in the early days, so too is it premature to conclude much about Cosgrove.

Tony Abbott assured us he could not think of a better candidate than the one-time Australian of the Year and former Defence Force chief.

What more can be asked for?

Sidestepping controversy, Cosgrove has suggested travelling widely, especially to remote Australia where, with present Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, he can bring into the national family some of those most marginalised.

This is a worthy project. There will doubtless be others.

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The story Quentin Bryce's replacement as governor-general likely to march to different drum first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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