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He often united the nation - but usually for the wrong reasons. An overwhelming majority of those Australians asked by pollsters had said they wanted Governor-General Peter Hollingworth to resign. On Sunday, when he announced he was leaving his vice-regal post, there was a stampede of praise from political leaders and campaigners of all stripes. There was also a collective sigh of relief. New South Wales Premier Bob Carr told AAP as Time went to press: "The country is now able to move beyond this distracting and depressing controversy." Lurid allegations that he had raped a woman 40 years ago, amid a long-running debate about the former Anglican Archbishop's suitability for the job, had paralyzed Holling-worth's tenure; he was widely condemned for his handling of child sexual abuse cases within the church and for public statements about the issue. Holling-worth had stepped aside two weeks ago pending the out-come of a civil suit brought against him by Rosemarie Ann Jarmyn, who had made the rape allegations. The case was dropped in the Victorian Sup-reme Court on Friday. "Now that the court has dismissed the claims, I can do no more than swear my innocence under God, just as I would have done, before the court under oath, had the case proceeded," he said. Citing a wish to preserve the integrity and dignity of the office, Hollingworth asked Prime Minister John Howard to inform Queen Elizabeth of his decision. Temporary replace-ment Sir Guy Green, a low-key and popular Governor of Tasmania, could be the model to restore public confidence in the role.