Dr. Peter John Hollingworth succeeded Sir William Deane
of Australia until his resignation
on May 29, 2003
. He was sworn in June 29, 2001
Dr. Hollingworth was the former Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane. His appointement by Australian Prime Minister, John Howard sparked some controversy. Many Australians believed that the appointment of a religious leader as head of state was not appropriate in a modern society.
Shortly after his appointment was announced, The Most Reverend Archbishop Peter Hollingworth accepted the degree "Doctor of Letters" (D.Litt), from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey, "in recognition of his significant contribution in the field of Christian Social Ethics over 40 years: especially for his work and writings on poverty in Australia and on the role of the Christian church and its agencies in social action and welfare". The degree is not an honorary degree, although recipients are not required to sit an examination.
The timely award of the doctorate means that the dilemma of how to address the new governor-general is solved; he is simply "His Excellency Dr. Hollingworth" rather than "His Excellency Archbishop" or "His Excellency Mr.", neither of which is appropriate to the office of Governor General.
Update February 20, 2002:
The governor-general is now at the centre of a scandal involving his handling of child sex abuse at Anglican schools in the Brisbane diocese during his term as Archbishop. A school counsellor was charged by police with multiple counts of sexual abuse. The diocese settled the suit with substantial cash payments in returns for the victims' silence.
It appears that Dr Hollingworth may soon be the shortest serving Governor General in Australian history.
Update May 29, 2003:
Amidst yet another scandal, this time involving an alleged rape performed by himself (although the case was dropped), Peter Hollingworth has now officially resigned from the position of governor-general of Australia.
Last night he addressed the nation, stating that he would have never have accepted the position in the first place had he realised that his handling of a paedophile priest in 1993 (whom he failed to sack, a decision later overturned by the Anglican church) would have caused such controversy.
Sir Guy Green will serve as the Governor-General until a replacement is chosen.