Michael Jeffery
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Michael Jeffery

Michael Jeffery

Jeffery Michael 030238DI-002.jpg
24th Governor-General of Australia

11 August 2003 - 5 September 2008
MonarchElizabeth II
John Howard
Kevin Rudd
Peter Hollingworth
Dame Quentin Bryce
28th Governor of Western Australia

1 November 1993 - 17 August 2000
MonarchElizabeth II
PremierRichard Court
Sir Francis Burt
John Sanderson
Personal details
Philip Michael Jeffery

(1937-12-12) 12 December 1937 (age 82)
Wiluna, Western Australia
Spouse(s)Marlena Kerr
ProfessionMilitary officer
Military service
Branch/serviceAustralian Army
Years of service1955-1993
RankMajor General
CommandsDeputy Chief of the General Staff (1990)
1st Division (1986-88)
1st Brigade (1983-84)
Special Air Service Regiment (1976-77)
2nd Battalion, Royal Pacific Islands Regiment (1974-75)
Battles/warsMalayan Emergency
Vietnam War
AwardsCompanion of the Order of Australia
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Military Cross

Major General Philip Michael Jeffery, (born 12 December 1937) is a retired senior Australian Army officer who was the 24th Governor-General of Australia, serving from 2003 to 2008, and the 28th Governor of Western Australia, serving from 1993 to 2000.

From Perth, Western Australia, Jeffery graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and served in the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War, being awarded the Military Cross during the latter conflict.

Jeffery was at various stages commander of the Special Air Service Regiment and the 1st Division, and subsequently Deputy Chief of General Staff, before retiring from active service in 1993. After serving for seven years as Governor of Western Australia, Jeffery was appointed Governor-General of Australia in 2003, following the resignation of Peter Hollingworth. He was the first career Australian Army officer to hold the position, and was succeeded by Dame Quentin Bryce.

Early life and military career

Jeffery was born in Wiluna, Western Australia, on 12 December 1937,[3] and was educated at Kent Street Senior High School. At 16 he left Perth to attend the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Canberra.

After graduation in 1958, he served in a number of junior positions before being posted to Malaya in 1962 for operational service. From 1966-69 he served in Papua New Guinea. During this posting, he married Marlena Kerr of Sydney, with whom he had three sons and a daughter. This was followed by a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, during which he was awarded the Military Cross (MC).[4][5]

Jeffery remained convinced that Australia's participation in the Vietnam War was right. "I believe passionately that Vietnam was a just cause in the circumstances of the time", he said during a 2002 speech to Australian veterans of the war.[6]

In 1972, Jeffery was promoted to lieutenant colonel,[] commanding the 2nd Battalion of the Pacific Islands Regiment from 1974 to 1975. He assumed command of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) in Perth from 7 January 1976 until 22 October 1977, and was then promoted to colonel as the first Director of the Army's Special Action Forces in 1979.[7]

Jeffery was instrumental in developing the surveillance concept for Northern Australia and as Director of Special Action Forces he prepared the development of the Australian counter-terrorist concept and capability.

From 1982 to 1983, Jeffery headed Australia's national counter-terrorist co-ordination authority. In 1985 he was promoted to major general, being appointed to command the 1st Division the following year. In 1990 he became Deputy Chief of the General Staff and in 1991 he was appointed Assistant Chief of the General Staff for Materiel.[7]

Jeffery retired from the army in 1993, and was subsequently appointed to the ceremonial position of Honorary Colonel of the SASR.

Governor of Western Australia

In November 1993, Jeffery was appointed Governor of Western Australia and in June 1996 he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).[8] He was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) on 1 April 2000.[9][10]

During his seven years in the post he made a number of public statements of his conservative views on marriage, sex and education. He received some criticism from the Labor opposition and sections of the media for appearing to take positions on political issues.[11]

Governor-General of Australia

Michael and Marlena Jeffery

Following the resignation of Peter Hollingworth as Governor-General of Australia, Prime Minister John Howard announced on 22 June 2003 that he had chosen Jeffery to succeed Hollingworth. He was formally appointed by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia and sworn in on 11 August 2003, becoming the first Australian career soldier to become governor-general.[12]

In 2007, in his position as governor-general, Jeffery was appointed as the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps, succeeding the previous Colonel-in-Chief, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. It is expected that future governors-general will serve in this position.[13]

Jeffery was the Chief Scout of Australia. Historically the Governor-General of Australia has also served as Chief Scout of Australia; the Chief Scout is nominated by the Scouting Association's National Executive Committee and is invited by the President of the Scout Association to accept the appointment.[14] Jeffery was an active Chief Scout.[15]

Jeffery left Yarralumla prior to the swearing-in of his successor, Quentin Bryce, the former Governor of Queensland. Bryce was sworn in on 5 September 2008.[16][17]

Life after office

Founder and first Chairman, Future Directions International

Future Directions International (FDI) is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Perth Western Australia. It was established in 2000 by General Jeffery together with a small group of leading Australians to conduct comprehensive research of important medium to long-term issues facing Australia.[18] FDI states its primary aim is to provide informed, balanced advice, which ultimately will result in policy changes that will enhance the quality of strategic decisions at senior levels of the public and private sectors in Australia for the benefit of all Australians.[18]

Chairman Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia

Jeffery is Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia[19] and is the Australian Representative of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (UK). The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust has been established to honour Her Majesty The Queen for 60 years of outstanding service and by contributing, as she has requested, to initiatives that will endure beyond her lifetime and help people throughout the Commonwealth. The elimination of blinding trachoma from Australia, and from remote Aboriginal communities in particular has been a major focus of the Trust in Australia.

Chairman Outcomes Australia

Outcomes Australia describes itself as "a not-for-profit organisation for change".[20] "Their stated purpose is to ensure that Australia has optimal solutions to problems that impact on the entire community directly, or indirectly. The Outcomes approach is not to devise solutions, but to find successful and proven solutions to existing problems".[20]

Advocate for Soil Health

On 23 October 2012, at the National Farmers Federation Congress in Canberra, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the appointment of General Jeffrey as Australia's first ever Advocate for Soil Health.[21] Gillard noted that the condition of our soils must be a national priority. She indicated that a key step in this direction is the appointment of a person with the authority and trust of the community to raise awareness of the importance of soil- an Advocate for Soil Health.[21]

Gillard noted that, as Governor-General, Jeffrey had a passion for regional development and the future of our rural industries, a commitment he has continued since leaving office.[21]

The role[22] of the Advocate for Soil Health involves the development of soil research priorities to complement existing efforts to develop a national soil research, development and extension strategy. The Terms of Reference[22] identify the following specified tasks: Advocate that the healthy condition of our soils must be a national priority; Report to the Australian Government on national priorities for soil and landscape science and management; Deliver an initial report to the Prime Minister, an interim report to the Minister for Agriculture, and a final report to the Prime Minister; Work towards ensuring that existing and new soils research meets the needs of Australia's farmers and other soil managers; Advocate for adequate knowledge and supporting systems to help farmers to actively build healthy soils; and, Contribute to the Australian Government white papers on Agricultural Competitiveness and Developing Northern Australia.

In his first report, Jeffery indicated his role as the Advocate for Soil Health has to date focussed on gaining a more detailed understanding of the roles, responsibilities and interconnectivity of groups involved in natural resource management, and publicly advocating the importance of prioritising soil health in the broader context of landscape management.[23] Areas of interest, research and development priorities, meetings and events are listed in the report.[23]

Jeffery has also provided input into the national soil research, development and extension strategy.

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott extended the appointment of Jeffery[24] as the national Advocate for Soil Health until December 2014. He indicated that, as the Advocate, General Jeffery will continue to raise public awareness of the critical role soil plays (integrated with good water and vegetation management) in underpinning sustainable productivity, delivering high quality ecosystem services and helping to meet global challenges including food security and climate change.

Though appointed to this role by the Australian Government, the Advocate for Soil Health does not speak on behalf of the government.

As of June 2020, Jeffery has stepped down form his role as Advocate for Soil Health due to an ongoing illness.[25]

Chairman Soils For Life

Outcomes Australia established Soils For Life, a not-for-profit environmental organisation with the stated purpose of "enhancing the natural environment through the provision of information and education on innovative leading performance in managing Australia's natural environment, particularly with a focus on the Australian rural landscape".[26]

Soils for Life supports innovative farmers and land managers demonstrating high performance in regenerative landscape management. The Soils for Life website[26] lists some twenty case studies of productive regenerative agriculture across Australia. The experiences of farmers who are already successfully leading the way is documented to illustrate what can be achieved and how.

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Constitution Education Fund Australia

The Constitution Education Fund Australia (CEFA) is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit organisation committed to increasing public understanding and appreciation of the Constitution, its history and contemporary relevance.[27] CEFA attracts support from all section of the Australian community for its education program. CEFA believes that all Australians, young and old, those born here and those who have come from other lands should have a broad understanding of the system of government that has made our country one of the most successful democracies in the world.[27]Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia, is Patron-in-Chief.

Judge Ethnic Business Awards Foundation

Founded in 1988 by Joseph Assaf AO, the Ethnic Business Awards are Australia's longest running national business awards program, celebrating diversity and multiculturalism, and the achievements of migrants, and whose creation of new jobs, wealth and ideas, have contributed to cementing the harmony of multicultural Australia. In 2019 the Ethnic Business Awards Foundation became a registered not for profit charitable foundation. Jeffery attended the Awards in 2006 and 2007 whilst Governor-General and agreed to become a judge in 2016.


Jeffery is an active Patron of several other not-for-profit organisations.

Honours and awards

Viceregal styles of
Michael Jeffery
Badge of the Governor-General of Australia.svg
Reference styleHis Excellency The Honourable
Spoken styleYour Excellency

OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png

Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png Military Cross ribbon.png Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 ribbon.png

GSM 62.gif Vietnam Medal ribbon.png Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 ribbon.png Centenary Medal (Australia) ribbon.png

DFSM with Rosette x 4.png National Medal with Rosette.png Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Service Medal of the Order of St John Ribbon.jpg

PNG Independence Medal.png Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon, with 60- clasp.svg Pingat Jasa Malaysia ribbon.png Order of Logohu - Grand Companion (Papua New Guinea) ribbon.png

OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) - Civil division 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours[8]
Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) - Military division 1988 Queen's Birthday Honours[28]
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) - Military division 1981 Queen's Birthday Honours[29]
Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) (2000)[9][10]
Military Cross ribbon.png Military Cross (MC) (1971)[4][5]
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of Saint John 15 April 1994[30][31]
Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal 1945-1975 with MALAYA, THAI-MALAY and VIETNAM clasps
GSM 62.gif General Service Medal with BORNEO clasp
Vietnam Medal ribbon.png Vietnam Medal
Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 ribbon.png Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 with SE ASIA and PNG clasps
Centenary Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Centenary Medal (awarded 2001)[32]
DFSM with Rosette x 4.png Defence Force Service Medal with 4 clasps 35-39 years service
National Medal with Rosette.png National Medal[33] with First Clasp - 25-35 years service to ...
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal
Service Medal of the Order of St John Ribbon.jpg Service Medal of the Order of St John
PNG Independence Medal.png Papua New Guinea Independence Medal (1977)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon, with 60- clasp.svg Vietnam Campaign Medal
Pingat Jasa Malaysia ribbon.png Pingat Jasa Malaysia
Order of Logohu - Grand Companion (Papua New Guinea) ribbon.png Honorary Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL) (2005)[34]

Unit Award:

Images of General Jeffery with medals: 11 April 2008, 2008[permanent dead link]
Image of General Jeffery in uniform with ribbons: 27 August 2008


  1. ^ "Governor-General Michael Jeffery yesterday told business leaders in Perth that the Christian saviour is 'the greatest leader the world has ever seen or will ever see'." Rafael Epstein (reporter; 26 February 2004). "Jesus Christ makes the headlines" transcript, The World Today Archives - Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  2. ^ The presenter, Monica Attard, refers to Jeffery as "a very strong Christian" with "strong Christian faith conservative social values", a statement which Jeffery does not contradict (9 March 2008). "His Excellency, Major General Michael Jeffery" transcript Archived 2 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Sunday Profile archives - Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Jeffery, Philip Michael". Vietnam War Nominal Roll. Department of Veterans' Affairs. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ a b "No. 45431". The London Gazette. 23 July 1971. p. 7941. - Military Cross announcement.
  5. ^ a b It's an Honour - Military Cross - 23 July 1971
    Citation: Infantry - 8 RAR - Vietnam
  6. ^ Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, Western Australia branch 40th anniversary reunion. Retrieved 15 May 2008
  7. ^ a b Singh, Shivani (2010). Who's Who in Australia 2010. Melbourne, Australia: Crown Content. ISBN 1-74095-172-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  8. ^ a b It's an Honour - Companion of the Order of Australia - 11 June 1996
    Citation: For service to the Crown as Governor of Western Australia and to the community, particularly through providing leadership in his commitment to the initiation and promotion of youth programmes to address contemporary social problems.
  9. ^ a b "No. 55839". The London Gazette. 5 May 2000. pp. 4979-4980. - CVO announcement.
  10. ^ a b It's an Honour - The Royal Victorian Order, Commander - 1 April 2000
  11. ^ Price, Matt (28 June 2003). "Governor-General's prejudices on parade". The Australian.
  12. ^ Foundation News Archived 8 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ GG's new role Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Army News, Edition 1167, 31 May 2007.
  14. ^ "Chief Scout". Scouts Australia. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  15. ^ Kittel, Nicholas (1 August 2007). "A century of Scouts a reason to celebrate". 666 ABC Canberra. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007. In his address the Governor General also explained his role as Chief Scout. "Really the Chief Scout tries to go around to as many scout groups as he can and say 'well done' to all who are taking part and to encourage a strengthening of the movement."[dead link]Saulwick, Jacob (2 August 2007). "Scout and proud: life still a jamboree after 100 years". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007."Scouts descend on tiny town for jamboree". The Age. Melbourne, Australia. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  16. ^ "Resignation of the Governor-General" (Press release). Prime Minister of Australia. 13 April 2008. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  17. ^ Pollard, Ruth (13 April 2008). "Rudd appoints female G-G". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008.
  18. ^ a b Future Directions International: http://www.futuredirections.org.au/
  19. ^ The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust website: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ a b Outcomes Australia, Soils For Life Program, http://www.outcomesaustralia.com.au/soilsforlife.html
  21. ^ a b c Address by Julia Gillard to the National Farmer's Federation Conference: http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/121064/20121121-1537/www.pm.gov.au/press-office/speech-national-farmers-federation-national-congress.html
  22. ^ a b Terms of Reference for the Advocate for Soil Health: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 February 2014. Retrieved 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ a b First Report Advocate for Soil Health, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ Extension of appointment, announcement by the Prime Minister: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Soil CRC Patron steps down". Soil CRC. 4 June 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  26. ^ a b Soils For Life, http://www.soilsforlife.org.au/case-studies.html Archived 14 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ a b Constitution Education Fund Australia, website: http://www.cefa.org.au/
  28. ^ It's an Honour - Officer of the Order of Australia - 13 June 1988
    Citation: For service to the Australian Army as Commander 1st Division.
  29. ^ It's an Honour - Member of the Order of Australia - 8 June 1981
  30. ^ "No. 53643". The London Gazette. 15 April 1994. p. 5667. - KStJ announcement.
  31. ^ Note: "Post-nominals within the Order of St John are not recognised." (As notified in the Governor-General's media release of 14 August 1982.) Order of Wearing Archived 11 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Page 5, Note 3.
  32. ^ It's an Honour - Centenary Medal - 1 January 2001
  33. ^ It's an Honour - National Medal - 14 July 1977
  34. ^ Order of Logohu
  35. ^ "Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation to 8th Battalion". Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia. Retrieved 2008.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Peter Hollingworth
Governor-General of Australia
Succeeded by
Dame Quentin Bryce
Preceded by
Francis Burt
Governor of Western Australia
Succeeded by
John Sanderson
Military offices
Preceded by
Major General Gordon Fitzgerald
Deputy Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Major General Adrian Clunies-Ross
Commander 1st Division
Succeeded by
Major General Arthur Fittock

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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