Guy Green will remain administrator of the commonwealth for the immediate future and, despite Dr Hollingworth’s resignation under unprecedented circumstances, the nation is not suffering a constitutional crisis, legal experts say.
Leading constitutional expert George Winterton of the University of NSW said the circumstances in no way represented a “constitutional crisis”. “It is exactly the same as if Hollingworth had died,” he said.
“Normally you would appoint the administrator, but since we already have one everything will just carry on until (John) Howard, through the Queen, appoints someone else.
“He could make Sir Guy the governor-general; he could take days or months to make another appointment.” Those tipped for consideration as governor-general include former National Party leader and deputy prime minister Tim Fischer, defence force chief Peter Cosgrove, Qantas chairwoman Margaret Jackson, former Sydney University chancellor Leonie Kramer and retired community services minister Jocelyn Newman.
Adelaide University professor of law Geoffrey Lindell said his most immediate reaction was “one of relief”. “This is an entirely appropriate action,” he said. “Resignation was by far the preferable option in order to limit the damage done to the office. Dismissal would have been a serious and drastic step to take, one that has never been taken before.”