الخميس , يونيو 11 2020

Australia PM drops knights and dames

Queen Elizabeth II talks with the Australian High Commissioner, Alexander Downer (right) as she prepares to present the Duke of Edinburgh, with the Insignia of a Knight of the Order of AustraliaImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Australia’s High Commissioner, Alexander Downer, was present during the ceremony in Windsor Castle’s White Drawing Room in April

Knights and dames will be dropped from the Australian honours system, the Order of Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced.

In a statement he said that the Queen had agreed to the recommendation, and added that knights and dames were “not appropriate” in today’s Australia.

Former PM Tony Abbott was criticised for reintroducing knighthoods and damehoods in March 2014.

The row re-ignited when he awarded Prince Philip a knighthood in January.

Many commentators said that the re-instatement of knights and dames, nearly 20 years after they had been discontinued, raised grave questions about Mr Abbott’s judgement.


Analysis: Jon Donnison, BBC News, Sydney

The decision to give Prince Philip a knighthood was hugely unpopular in Australia and seen as one of the biggest blunders of Tony Abbott’s brief time in office.

Now the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who in 1999 led Australia’s unsuccessful campaign to abandon the monarchy and become a republic has dropped knights and dames.

The Prime Minister will have the chance to discuss the matter with the Duke of Edinburgh’s son later this month when Prince Charles comes to Australia on a royal visit.

Mr Turnbull has recently said he remains a republican but says he does not regard the issue as a priority for his government.


Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Mr Abbott sparked controversy in January with a knighthood for Prince Philip

Mr Abbott later admitted that the decision to award Prince Philip a knighthood was “injudicious”.

He was ousted as leader of the centre-right Liberal Party by Malcolm Turnbull in September.

The Duke of Edinburgh, and the three other recipients of the award since 2014, will continue to retain the Order of Australia honour.


Australia’s honours system

  • Australia began awarding its own honours in 1975 – the awards eventually replaced the existing British honours system.
  • Anyone can nominate an Australian citizen for an award for service, excellence or achievement.
  • The awarding of knighthoods and damehoods was discontinued in 1976 but brought back very briefly in 1986 – Tony Abbott reinstated them in 2014.
  • Republicans had said the honours system was an outdated remnant of colonialism.

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