Source AP ©

Australian leaders dismiss the idea of Prince William as governor-general

Australian political leaders on Friday rejected the idea of Britain's party-loving Prince William one day becoming the Queen's representative in Australia.

The possibility is mooted in a new biography of Prince Diana by former magazine editor Tina Brown, who claimed that William, 25, was keen to take on the ceremonial role of governor-general in Australia.

The post is usually held by an Australian.

Brown suggested her research and interviews for the new book, "The Diana Chronicles," about Prince William's late mother, indicated that the British royal family was keen on the idea. "They would like that and he would like that very much," Brown said in an interview with The Australian Women's Weekly magazine.

Brown said she based her biography on more than 200 interviews.

But pro-monarchy Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the job should remain with Australian citizens.

"Although I remain a supporter of our current constitutional arrangements, I do think the practice of having a person who is an Australian in every way and a long-term and permanent resident of this country is a practice I would not like to see altered," Howard told Southern Cross Broadcasting Friday.

Howard opposed a 1999 referendum that proposed turning Australia into a republic and replacing Queen Elizabeth II with a president as Australia's head of state. The proposal was rejected by a majority of Australians.

Opposition leader Kevin Rudd, whose Labor Party still campaigns for an Australian republic, said it would be "party, party, party" at the governor-general's official Canberra residence if Prince William took on the job.

"Australia overall is probably much better at exporting royals like Princess Mary than importing royals," Rudd told reporters, referring to a former Sydney real estate agent who married Danish Crown Prince Frederik in 2004.

Rudd said he believed there were many Australians more deserving of the job.

The governor-generalship has always been a ceremonial post -- except in 1975 when then Governor-General Sir John Kerr used his little-known constitutional powers to sensationally dismiss Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's Labor government over budget problems.

The move shocked the nation and triggered bitter debate about the British monarch's place in Australian politics.

An Australian has usually held the office since the 1930s. The current governor-general, Maj. Gen. Michael Jeffery, is a 60-year-old decorated Vietnam war veteran whose five-year term ends next year.

Buckingham Palace in London, the Queen's main residence, was unable to comment on the speculation and Australian reaction when contacted by The Associated Press.

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