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Appoint former PM Julia Gillard next SA Governor: MP

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A crossbench MP is calling for former prime minister Julia Gillard to succeed Hieu Van Le as South Australia’s next Governor.

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SA Best MLC Frank Pangallo told InDaily that Gillard, Labor prime minister from June 2010-June 2013, would be “a perfect fit” for the position, with Le’s term due to expire next year.

“She still lives here, she is home-grown and has enormous respect throughout the community here and internationally,” Pangallo said.

“Julia Gillard has made South Australia her home. She was raised in SA and she still calls SA home. Who better? You couldn’t go past her.”

Le – South Australia’s 35th Governor – was appointed in 2014 on a five-year term.

His position was extended in 2019 for a further two years and is due to expire on August 31 next year. By then he will have served seven years.

Pangallo said he supported Le staying on if he wished to do so “because he has been so good for SA and everyone admires him and all the work he has done around the state”.

“But if the government is looking, and Hieu Van Le wants to retire from the job, who better than Julia Gillard – our first female Prime Minister?” he said.

“She’s extremely well-respected interstate – she would be a perfect fit.

“She’s still quite active and does a lot of speaking engagements.

“If I was the Premier I would be touching base.”

InDaily asked Gillard whether she would consider such a move – or had had discussions with anyone in Government about it – but she declined to comment.

Her spokeswoman said she was “currently not available for comment”.

The State Government was also coy about the suggestion.

A government spokeswoman said Le was doing a “fantastic job in this important and prestigious role, as he has since 2014”.

“His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le’s term does not expire until August 2021 and the government will make announcements in due course regarding the next appointment to this important role,” she said.

InDaily asked Le if he would seek to have his term extended again but a spokesman said “consistent with our consistent practice in response to questions about his term or intentions, His Excellency has no comment to make in response to your question”.

The Australian newspaper reported last year that former foreign minister Julie Bishop had turned down an informal offer from Premier Steven Marshall to succeed Le.

Whether the Marshall Liberal Government would consider a Labor stalwart for the position remains to be seen, but there is precedence of a prominent Labor figure being appointed to such a role.

Former deputy prime minister and diplomat Kim Beazley was appointed Western Australia’s 33rd governor in 2018.

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