Head of State

What Will I Learn

  • The following information and activities will help you to understand the role of the NSW Governor who is the Head of State for NSW.

The Head of State

The Head of State is the person who represents a country or state at the highest level.

The Governor-General is the Head of State for all of Australia.

In NSW we also have a Head of State and this is the Governor of NSW.

The Governor is chosen by the Premier. They are then appointed by the King (His Majesty King Charles III) for five years to be his representative in NSW.  

In Australia and in NSW we have a Head of State and a Leader of the Government. They are not the same person. The Leader of the Australian Government is called the Prime Minister. The leader of the NSW Government is called the Premier. In some countries, such as the United States and France, the Head of State is also the Leader of the Government. 

The Governor of NSW

Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC is the 39th Governor of New South Wales and the Head of State in NSW. She started her five year term on 2 May 2019. 

Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC


The table below describes the Governor’s role. It is divided into three areas: constitutional, ceremonial and community.

Constitutional Role

The Governor’s constitutional role is written in the NSW Constitution and is the legal part of the Governor’s job which is to make sure that the state is run properly. The Governor:

  • Officially appoints the Premier and Ministers after an election 
  • Meets with the Executive Council to make sure Government decisions are legal
  • Decides the dates when parliament sits and elections are held after getting advice from the Government 
  • Approves bills that have been passed by Parliament

Ceremonial Role

The Governor hosts ceremonies at Government House:

  •  to present official awards, such as the Order of Australia 
  • To present service and bravery awards that recognise outstanding Australians.

Role in the Community

The Governor’s important role in the community includes:  

  • representing NSW at special occasions 
  • becoming patron to community organisations 
  • supporting important community activities


The Governor of NSW Opening the Parliament in 2019



Head of State Quiz

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