Governors General past and past ... compare and contrast.
Sir William was speaking after receiving an honorary doctorate at UQ's Faculty of Business, Economics and Law.
He criticised the Government over the "children overboard" affair and the holding of minors at the Woomera detention centre. He said future leaders should avoid seeking advantage by "inflaming ugly prejudice and intolerance".
Sir William also criticised the Government for its approach towards the two Australian men being held in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
"The fundamental responsibility of a democratic government to seek to safeguard the human rights of all its citizens, including the unpopular and the alleged wrongdoer, in the case of two Australians indefinitely caged without legal charge or process," he said.
Sir William, who was Australia’s 22nd Governor-General from 1996 to 2001, was presented with a Doctor of Laws honoris causa in recognition of his distinguished career and his outstanding contribution to Australia in his role as Governor-General.