Yet, 30 minutes later when she formally welcomed the President of the United States to Parliament House she was wearing a completely different outfit. Seriously, Quentin, what was that about?
Don't mistake me, I think it is a very good thing that we have a female Governor General. It is long overdue. However, I am an ardent republican (in the anti-monarchist sense, not the American political sense) - so I would much rather see a female President than a female Governor General. I also think that the choice to appoint Ms Bryce was an uninspired and disappointing one, given that I believe there are many other Australian women who would have made a far superior choice. Nevertheless, I acknowledge the status of women has been given a much-needed boost by having both a female Prime Minister and a female Governor General (excluding the merits or otherwise of the respective incumbents themselves).
But what detracted from the positive message to women, particularly young women, was the ridiculous outfit change that Bryce made somewhere between the airport and the entrance to Parliament House (where she again greeted Obama). I say ridiculous, because it is hard to see a male Governor General changing his suit after half an hour. It just wouldn't happen. It just doesn't happen. What message is Bryce sending? The whole thing, in my view, was grossly misconceived.
Surely, aside from one soiling oneself - which I am pretty sure was not the case yesterday (although given that she is getting on in years, I can't completely rule it out) - changing from one elegant outfit to another in such a short space of time only occurs for reasons of vanity. It is not as if she dressed down for comfort into a tracksuit or a thong and tank top.
Of course, I acknowledge that I may be biased. I don't particularly like Quentin Bryce and, with the exception of Sir William Deane, I consider every Australian Governor General appointed since the end of Sir Ninian Stephen's term in 1989 to have been a complete dud.
Appearances are so superficial, it was disappointing she could not rise above them to make her tenure in the top job more about competence in the role as defacto Head of State rather than about how she looks in public wearing taxpayer funded pastel frocks and silly hats (this has been a common occurrence / theme during her 'reign'). State Occasions aren't fashion parades; she should have realised she wasn't at the Melbourne Cup yesterday.
To me, yesterday was simply another reminder why Australia needs a popularly elected Head of State as soon as possible.