Former Top Soldier, Peter Cosgrove, Is New Aussie Governor-General

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By Vittorio Hernandez | January 29, 2014 6:41 PM EST


Temptation for some soldiers to boost physical fitness was too great PIC: Reuters

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Tuesday the appointment of Peter Cosgrove as new governor-general, to replace Quentin Bryce whose term ends in March.

The announcement confirms speculations for months that the 66-year-old former Vietnam veteran would be the next GG. However, Mr Cosgrove expressed willingness to take on the job despite the surprise appointment.

He said, quoted by The Australian, "If you foresee that there's a call to arms, so to speak, as an old soldier you just get on with it.

With his appointment, the former general would also become the commander-in-chief of the Australian Defence Force, which is timely since Australia marks in 2014 a century of involvement in the First World War.

Mr Cosgrove headed the Interfet, the multinational peacekeeping force when East Timor transitioned to independence. He also was chief of the defence force and was recognised in 2001 as the Australian of the Year.

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The governor-general is the official representative of the Queen in commonwealth nations. His position is largely ceremonial, but former Prime Minister John Howard said there is no reason that Mr Cosgrove should be limited to cutting only ribbons or being involved exclusively in military events.

"He has the common touch, but he's got strength and dignity and that's just the right combination for such a position," Mr Howard was quoted by Sky News.

Although he may appear to be "blokey, boring and even boorish," according to Sydney Morning Herald political correspondent Mark Kenny, in comparison to outgoing GG, Ms Bryce, Mr Kenny said the new GG, because of his extensive travel, particularly in remote Australia, "can bring into the national family some of those most marginalised."

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Temptation for some soldiers to boost physical fitness was too great PIC: Reuters
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