Tony Abbott: It is ‘more than appropriate’ for the Governor General to back equal marriage

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Australian PM Tony Abbott has weighed in on the Governor General’s remarks in favour of equal marriage to say they are “more than appropriate”.

Mr Abbott, who personally does not support moves to introduce same-sex marriage, was commenting on Governor General Quentin Bryce’s remarks which she made as she concluded her final Boyer Lecture on Friday evening.

Saying that, because she is reaching the end of her term, it is “appropriate” for her to express her views, Mr Abbott also commended the way she made the remarks.

He said: “It is more than appropriate for the Governor General, approaching the end of her term, to express a personal view on a number of subjects. That’s what she was doing… and as you would expect with Quentin Bryce, she did it with grace and style.”

Those holding the office of Governor General do so at the pleasure of the Queen, who is head of state, but five-year terms are commonplace.

Ms Bryce, who is expected to be leaving her post shortly, also became the first Australian Governor General to say that she thought Australia should become a republic.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) became the first jurisdiction in Australia to pass equal marriage last month.

Equal marriage remains banned at a federal level in Australia and efforts to legalise the measure failed in the Australian Parliament in September 2012.

Australian federal law was amended in 2004 to specify that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

Both Tony Abbott and his predecessor Julia Gillard, have expressed their opposition to equal marriage.