(dpa) - Australia is to have its first woman governor-general, the official representative of Queen Elizabeth, who remains head of state of the former British colony, the government said Sunday.
Quentin Bryce, a mother of five and currently governor of the state of Queensland, will take up Australia's highest official position for a five-year term in September, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced.
Current Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery, whose term in office expires next month, formally tendered his resignation.
The Australian Associated Press news agency speculated that Bryce might be not only the first woman but the last person to hold the job, as Rudd, who was elected last year, restated his republican policy when he met Queen Elizabeth in London last week.
But Rudd told reporters, "The move to a republic is not a top-order question for the government. There are many other priorities around.
"The government's commitment to a republic remains clearcut," he said. "I'm sure that in the course of this year ... that the debate on our future constitutional arrangements will continue, as it should."