Anger as pay soars to $709,000 for new governor-general

Australia's next governor-general will pocket more than $709,000 after being awarded a 43 per cent pay rise compared to her predecessor.

Sam Mostyn will be sworn in on July 1 as Australia's 28th governor-general and will receive a salary of $709,017 for each year of her five-year term.

The pay cheque is significantly higher than the $495,000 paid each year to the outgoing head of state David Hurley.

The huge increase has angered the head of the republican movement.

Outgoing Governor-General David Hurley
Governor-General David Hurley's salary of $495,000 is much less than what Sam Moslyn will get. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

"Aussies are suffering from a cost-of-living crisis,'' national director of the Australian Republican Movement Isaac Jeffrey said.

"They'll look at the government's announcement of a 42 per cent pay rise for the next governor-general and question what they are getting for that investment.

"It's not a representative of the people, because the governor-general represents the King, not Aussies."

Laws were introduced to federal parliament on Monday that will lock in the salary of Ms Mostyn.

The incoming governor-general's wage will be higher because Ms Mostyn does not have collected Commonwealth payments, such as the military pensions received by Mr Hurley following his service in the defence force.

Constitutional lawyer from the University of Sydney Anne Twomey said governors-general from military or judicial backgrounds would often opt for a lower salary in the role because of their other payments.

Sam Mostyn
Sam Mostyn will take over as governor-general on July 1. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

"Since the time of Sir William Deane as governor-general, it has been customary for the governor-general to request that their salary be reduced by the amount of any annual Commonwealth pension they are paid," she told AAP.

"As the new governor-general does not have a military or judicial pension, her salary will necessarily be higher.

"Any fair comparison, therefore, should take into account the pensions of her predecessors."

The governor-general's salary is determined by the estimated average salary of the chief justice of the High Court and is not increased for factors like inflation during the term.

"It is usual practice for the governor-general's remuneration to be set slightly above the estimated average salary of the Chief Justice of the High Court," a spokesman for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet said.

"The salary of the governor-general is set before they take up office and, under the constitution, cannot be altered during their term of office."

As preparations are made for Ms Mostyn to be sworn in, a painting was unveiled at Parliament House of the outgoing governor-general.

The governor-general and an artist with a painting.
Artist Jude Rae's portrait of Governor-General David Hurley was unveiled at Parliament House. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

The official portrait, by artist Jude Rae, shows Mr Hurley standing in a forest that had been hit by bushfires, with trees showing signs of recovery.

Mr Hurley, who regularly toured disaster regions after bushfires, said the background of the portrait was significant.

"The background is actually far more important in this portrait, because it's about us as a country,'' he said.

"When you see it, it's about us as a people, representing some of the difficulties we have experienced in the nation over the last five years."

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to Mr Hurley's service as governor-general during the unveiling.

"This new portrait represents the culmination of a remarkable life of public service," he said.