David Hurley

General David John Hurley, AC, DSC, FTSE (born 26 August 1953) is an Australian former senior officer in the Australian Army who has served as the 27th governor-general of Australia since 1 July 2019. He was previously the 38th governor of New South Wales, serving from 2014 to 2019.

David Hurley
Official portrait, March 2019
27th Governor-General of Australia
Assumed office
1 July 2019
MonarchsElizabeth II
Charles III
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
Anthony Albanese
Preceded bySir Peter Cosgrove
38th Governor of New South Wales
In office
2 October 2014  1 May 2019
MonarchElizabeth II
PremierMike Baird
Gladys Berejiklian
LieutenantTom Bathurst
Preceded byDame Marie Bashir
Succeeded byMargaret Beazley
Personal details
David John Hurley

(1953-08-26) 26 August 1953
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Linda McMartin
(m. 1977)
Military service
Branch/serviceAustralian Army
Years of service1972–2014
CommandsChief of the Defence Force (2011–2014)
Vice Chief of the Defence Force (2008–2011)
Chief of Joint Operations (2007–2008)
Chief of Capability Development Group (2003–2007)
Land Commander Australia (2002–2003)
1st Brigade (1999–2000)
1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1991–1993)
Battles/warsOperation Solace
AwardsCompanion of the Order of Australia
Distinguished Service Cross
Knight of the Order of Saint John

In a 42-year military career, Hurley deployed on Operation Solace in Somalia in 1993, commanded the 1st Brigade (1999–2000), was the inaugural Chief of Capability Development Group (2003–2007) and Chief of Joint Operations (2007–2008) and served as Vice Chief of the Defence Force (2008–2011). His career culminated with his appointment as Chief of the Defence Force on 4 July 2011, in succession to Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.[1] Hurley retired from the army in June 2014, and succeeded Dame Marie Bashir as Governor of New South Wales on 2 October 2014.

Early life and education

David John Hurley was born on 26 August 1953 in Wollongong, New South Wales, to Norma and James Hurley.[2] His father was an Illawarra steelworker and his mother worked in a grocery store. Hurley grew up in Port Kembla and attended Port Kembla High School, where he completed his Higher School Certificate in 1971. He subsequently graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon with a Graduate Diploma in Defence Studies,[3] and from Deakin University with a Bachelor of Arts.[4]

Hurley is married to Linda (née McMartin) and has three children.[5]

Military career

General Hurley, 2013

Hurley entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, as an officer cadet in January 1972.[6] On graduating from Duntroon in December 1975, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. His initial posting was to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR). Promoted to captain, he was appointed adjutant of the Sydney University Regiment before becoming regimental adjutant of the Royal Australian Regiment. He went on exchange to the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, a British Army unit, before serving with 5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.[5]

Promoted to lieutenant colonel, Hurley was posted as the Senior Career Adviser (Armour, Artillery, Engineers and Infantry) in the Office of the Military Secretary in 1990, appointed SO1 (Operations) Headquarters 2nd Division in early 1991, and in November 1991 assumed command of 1RAR, which he led during Operation Solace in Somalia in 1993. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his service during this deployment.[7] In 1994 he became SO1 (Operations), Headquarters 1st Division.[8]

Following promotion to colonel, Hurley was appointed Chief of Staff, Headquarters 1st Division in June 1994, attended the United States Army War College from 1996 to 1997, became Military Secretary to Chief of Army, and was posted to Australian Defence Headquarters as Director of Preparedness and Mobilisation in December 1997.[9] As a brigadier, he assumed command of the 1st Brigade in Darwin in January 1999. During this period he oversaw the brigade's transition to a higher degree of operational readiness and its support to Australian–led operations in East Timor. He went on to be Director General Land Development within Capability Systems in January 2001.[8]

Hurley was promoted to major general in 2001 and served as Head Capability Systems Division from July 2001, and as Land Commander Australia from December 2002.[8] Promoted to lieutenant general, he assumed the new appointment of Chief of Capability Development Group in December 2003, went on to take the newly separated appointment of Chief of Joint Operations in September 2007, and became Vice Chief of the Defence Force in July 2008.[10]

Hurley was promoted to general and succeeded Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston as Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) on 4 July 2011.[1] In January 2012 Hurley completed 40 years service to the Australian Defence Force,[6] and on 20 January while in Paris, he was presented with the insignia for Officer of the Legion of Honour by the French CDF.[11] In February, he was presented with a fifth clasp to the Defence Force Service Medal in recognition of his 40 years of service.[6] Hurley retired from the Australian Army on 30 June 2014, and was succeeded as CDF by Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.[12]

Lieutenant General David Morrison, the 2016 Australian of the Year, credited Hurley with the phrase "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept" in his anti-misogyny speech, which became "one of the most quoted phrases" of Morrison's speech.[13]

Governor of New South Wales

On 5 June 2014, New South Wales Premier Mike Baird announced that Hurley would replace Dame Marie Bashir as Governor of New South Wales: he was sworn in on 2 October 2014 after Bashir's term as governor had expired.[14] On 17 March 2015, he was invested as a Knight of the Order of St John by the Lord Prior of the Order, Neil Conn, at a ceremony at Government House, Sydney.[15]

Governor-General of Australia

Hurley at his swearing-in ceremony as the 27th Governor-General of Australia

On 16 December 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Queen Elizabeth II had approved the appointment of Hurley as the next Governor-General of Australia commencing on 1 July 2019 marking him as the first representative of the monarch who had been born during the latter's reign.[16][17][18] Margaret Beazley was designated as his replacement as Governor of New South Wales.[19] Hurley was sworn in as the 27th Governor-General at Parliament House, Canberra, on 1 July 2019. His first words were spoken in the language of the local Aboriginal people, the Ngunnawal language.[20]

On 11 September 2019, when attending an Indonesian national day reception held by the Indonesian Embassy at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra, Hurley opted to make his address to the reception in Indonesian.[21] After first making his address in Indonesian, he repeated his comments in English. This is the first recorded occasion that any Australian Governor-General has made any extended statement in Indonesian on any occasion in Australia.

On 18 March 2020,[22] a human biosecurity emergency was declared in Australia owing to the risks to human health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, after the National Security Committee met the previous day. The Biosecurity Act 2015 specifies that the Governor-General may declare such an emergency exists if the Health Minister (at the time Greg Hunt) is satisfied that "a listed human disease is posing a severe and immediate threat, or is causing harm, to human health on a nationally significant scale".[23] The Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) Declaration 2020 was declared by Hurley under Section 475 of the Act.[22]

During his tenure, Hurley promoted a leadership program to Morrison. The program — Australian Future Leaders Foundation Limited — was given $18 million in funding,[24] despite having no office, online website or staff.[25] This funding was cancelled by the Albanese government in September 2022, with Treasurer Jim Chalmers stating that it "didn’t pass muster" or represent "value for money". Chalmers stated that there would not be an investigation into Hurley's role in the program.[26]

Hurley was involved in the Scott Morrison ministerial positions controversy when he secretly appointed Morrison to five ministerial positions between March 2020 and May 2021. Hurley was found to have no discretion to refuse Morrison's advice and an inquiry considered criticism of Hurley's role to be "unwarranted".[27][28]

Titles, styles and honours


Viceregal styles of
David Hurley
Reference styleHis Excellency the Honourable
Spoken styleYour Excellency

Hurley's style and title in full from 1 July 2019 is: His Excellency General the Honourable David John Hurley, Principal Companion and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, Distinguished Service Cross, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Honours and awards

Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)26 January 2010[29]
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)26 January 2004[30]
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)26 November 1993[7]
Knight of the Order of St John17 March 2015[15]
Australian Active Service Medalwith SOMALIA clasp[31]
Australian Service Medal[31]
Defence Force Service Medal with the Federation Star40–44 years service[6]
Australian Defence Medal[31]
Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)20 January 2012[11][32]
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)10 May 2012[33]
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Military Service (Malaysia)2012[34]
Defence Meritorious Service Star – 1st Class[35] (Indonesia)19 November 2012[32][36][37]
Distinguished Service Order (Singapore)13 February 2013[32][38]
Gold Medal of the Order of the Crown of Thailand (Thailand)June 2014[32]
Gold Decoration of Merit (Netherlands)June 2014[32]
Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste)May 2022[39]
  • Infantry Combat Badge

Honorary degrees

Honorary appointments

Other appointments

Hurley is an Honorary Patron of the ACT Veterans Rugby Club, Patron of Transport Heritage NSW,[52][53] Patron of the Australian World Orchestra, and the Australian Future Leaders Foundation.[54]

As of 2020 he is one of three patrons of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.[55]


  1. Massola, James (1 June 2011). "David Hurley is made new defence force chief as part of sweeping renewal of top brass". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  2. "The Governor-General's biography". Office of the Governor-General. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  3. "General David Hurley". Lowy Institute. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  4. "Hurley, Gen. Hon. David, (born 26 Aug. 1953), Governor-General of Australia, since 2019". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 2020. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U282322. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  5. "General David Hurley, AC, DSC". Biography. Department of Defence, Australian Government. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  6. Army News, February 2012, www.defence.gov.au
  7. It's an Honour Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine – Distinguished Service Cross (Australian) – 26 November 1993
  8. Defence Keynote Address to SimTecT2006 Archived 21 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, LTGEN General David Hurley, 29 May 2006, Melbourne Convention Centre, www.siaa.asn.au
  9. List of Witnesses at Public Hearings Archived 7 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Parliament House Canberra, 16 April 1998, www.aph.gov.au
  10. Hackett Centenary Lectures, King's College London, 12 November 2010, www.kcl.ac.uk
  11. "French Embassy in Australia – Officer of the Legion of Honour – 20 January 2012".
  12. "Chief of Defence Force change of command". Defence Media Release. Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  13. Aubusson, Kate (2 February 2016). "David Morrison defends Australian of the Year honour on Q&A". The Age. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  14. "General Hurley named as NSW Governor". Sky News. 5 June 2014. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  15. "Governor's Program – 17 March 2015". Governor of New South Wales. 17 March 2015. Archived from the original on 31 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  16. "Scott Morrison picks former general David Hurley to be Australia's next governor-general". Sydney Morning Herald. 16 December 2018. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  17. "Australia's New Governor-General". Prime Minister of Australia. 16 December 2018. Archived from the original on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  18. Karp, Paul; Cox, Lisa (16 December 2018). "David Hurley named next governor general of Australia as Labor blasts timing". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  19. Berejiklian, Gladys (13 January 2019). "Appointment of The Honourable Justice Margaret Beazley QC AO as Governor" (Press release). Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  20. Remeikis, Amy (1 July 2019). "General David Hurley sworn in as Australia's 27th governor general – politics live". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  21. Hafiyyan, 'Rayakan 70 Tahun Hubungan Bilateral, Gubernur Jenderal Australia Berpidato Bahasa Indonesia', Bisnis.com, 15 September 2019.
  22. "Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) Declaration 2020" (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  23. McPhee, Sarah (17 March 2020). "Human biosecurity emergency declared in Australia". NewsComAu. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  24. Borys, Stephanie (8 April 2022). "Governor-General personally lobbied Scott Morrison about leadership program given $18m in funding". ABC News. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  25. Borys, Stephanie (5 April 2022). "Questions raised over millions in federal budget funding for charity with no office or staff". ABC News. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  26. Baj, Lavender (8 September 2022). "Labor Has Yanked The $18M Funding For That Controversial Charity Nobody Knew Anything About". Junkee. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  27. "Scott Morrison's secret ministries: What we learned from the solicitor-general's advice". ABC. 23 August 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  28. McElroy, Nicholas (25 November 2022). "Former prime minister Scott Morrison's secret ministries were unnecessary, Virginia Bell's inquiry finds". ABC. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  29. It's an Honour – Companion of the Order of Australia – 26 January 2010
    Citation: For eminent service to the Australian Defence Force as Chief of Capability Development Group, Chief of Joint Operations and Vice Chief of the Defence Force.
  30. It's an Honour – Officer of the Order of Australia – 26 January 2004
    Citation: For distinguished service, leadership and management to the Australian Defence Force in senior command and staff appointments.
  31. Official High Resolution Photo, July 2011, www.defence.gov.au
  32. Raymond Griggs (24 June 2014). "David Hurley last night promoted VADM Tim Barrett who will next week succeed me as CN Australia". Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  33. "General David Hurley AC DSC". University of Wollongong. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  34. ABC News, General Hurley 'pleased' accusations against General Campbell were withdrawn retrieved 16 December 2018
  35. Bintang Yudha Dharma Utama is also translated as "The Grand Meritorious Military Order – 1st Class" – Chief of Defence Force receives Indonesia's highest military award, AsiaOne, 2 May 2012
  36. Defence News – Defence Meritorious Service Star – 19 November 2012
  37. The ribbon displayed is for Bintang Yudha Dharma Nararya (Defence Meritorious Service Star – 3rd Class). The ribbon for the Bintang Yudha Dharma Utama (Defence Meritorious Service Star – 1st Class) is the same, but with the addition of two central narrow red stripes. Bintang Yudha Dharma, Sekretariat Negara Republik Indonesia Official Website, www.setneg.go.id
  38. Top military award conferred on Australian Chief of the Defence Force – Top military award conferred on Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Australian High Commission, Singapore, 13 February 2013
  39. https://www.facebook.com/AustralianEmbassyTimorLeste/posts/320932373555915
  40. "Honorary Doctorate Recipients – General David Hurley AC DSC". University of Wollongong. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  41. Offner, Steve (11 December 2015). "Houston, Hurley receive honorary doctorates". University of New South Wales. UNSW Newsroom. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  42. "AUTUMN GRADUATION SEASON COMMENCES WITH HONORARY DOCTORATE AWARDED". Newsroom. Macquarie University. 18 April 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  43. "Vice-regal Program – Tuesday, 30 January 2018". Governor of New South Wales. Office of the Governor. 30 January 2018. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  44. "Patronage Listing". Governor of New South Wales. Office of the Governor. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  45. "The Governor-General has been sworn-in as the Chief Scout of Australia". Governor-General of Australia. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  46. "Vice-regal Program – Thursday, 2 March 2017". Governor of New South Wales. Office of the Governor. 2 March 2017. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  47. "Understanding the Most Venerable Order of St John" (PDF). Governor of New South Wales. Governor of New South Wales. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  48. "Understanding the Most Venerable Order of St John" (PDF). St John South Australia. St John South Australia. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  49. "Review the Attestation Parade for Class 323". Saint John South Australia. Saint John South Australia. 2012. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  50. "25 NEW ATSE FELLOWS INCLUDE SEVEN WOMEN". ATSE. Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. 26 October 2016. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  51. "Governor-General the Hon David Hurley named patron of Australian Rugby". Rugby Australia. 23 August 2019.
  52. "Patronage Listing". Governor of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  53. "ACT Veterans Rugby". Archived from the original on 23 June 2014.
  54. Borys, Stephanie (7 April 2022). "Scott Morrison supported $18m charity before it was formally registered, director says". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 August 2022.
  55. "Patrons - About". Australian Indigenous Education Foundation. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
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