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ACM Home arrow Knights & Dames

Knights & Dames

 

King George V knights Sir John Monash on the battlefield

[King George V knights Sir John Monash on the battlefield]


In 1975, on the recommendation of the Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, The Queen approved the creation of a three level Order of Australia.

The government intended that it would supersede all other honours for Australian purposes.

The Queen is the Sovereign Head of the Order of Australia and the Governor-General is the Principal Companion. As Chancellor, the Governor-General is charged with the administration of the Order. The Official Secretary to the Governor-General is the Secretary of the Order.


...Knights  and Dames....

 

The Fraser Liberal Government (1975–83) began recommending Imperial honours again and added a fourth level of knight (or dame) to the Order of Australia. .

This level was removed by the Hawke Labor Government (1983–91). Proposals to restore this were rejected by the Howard Liberal Government (1996-2007)



...Imperial honours....

 

The awards of knighthoods and ranks in Imperial honours orders continued to be recommended by State Coalition governments, but were suspended under State Labor governments. They were brought to an end by The Queen in 1994.

Knights and dames and others holding Imperial honours retain legal recognition, for instance in the Australian Order of Precedence.



...Sovereign’s personal honours ....

 

The Queen of Australia may  confer honours upon Australians where these emanate from her personally rather than on the advice of government, in particular the Order of the Garter (last awarded to former Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen, 1994), the Order of the Thistle (last awarded to former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies, 1963), the Order of Merit (last awarded to Dame Joan Sutherland, 1991), the Royal Victorian Order (the Knighthood was last awarded to David Smith, 1990), and the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (for services to St John Ambulance).



...a solution?...



The absence of a fourth level of the Order of Australia makes it difficult to compare with imperial and foreign orders. In the meantime politicians who object to imperial knighthood seem to have no objection to accepting foreign knighthoods, and to seeking approval to the retention of the honorific “ the Honourable”.

Australian honours do not obtain great recognition internationally in contrast with knighthoods – henc ethe high take up of the offer of the New Zealand government to allow certain recitionet of NZ honours to take one.

The objection to knighthood sdoes not seem to be to the knighthood itself but rather to the titles. We have suggested a compromise in these columns based on a precedent offered by bishops of the Church of England.

For some time it has been the practice of Anglican bishops to refuse the accolade, that is the dubbing, the stroke on the shoulder with the sword, and consequently, the title “Sir”.

This is because a knight would once give military service to the king, and the clergy did not think this appropriate for them. 
 So when they accepted a knighthood, they would not them take the title, “Sir”. This was also the practice in Australia among Anglicans, Sir Marcus Loane being an exception.

 

Catholic bishops in Australia would normally take the accolade, and proudly used the title granted by their Sovereign. You can imagine that there might have been a tinge of regret among the Anglican bishops (and their wives) when they read or heard of the activities of, say, Sir Norman Cardinal Gilroy or Archbishop Sir James Duhig. 

Perhaps this Anglican practice provides the solution. Reinstate the AK and the AD, but allow recipients to reject the accolade. Those who don’t want the title could reject the accolade; those who were happy with it could accept it.  Is this the solution?    

 

 

 



Knights and Dames restored; the reaction Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Friday, 18 April 2014

Radio Australia reported that the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott's decision to reintroduce the official honours of Knight and Dame for pre-eminent Australians was mocked by the opposition Labor party and the Republican movement.
But Tony Abb.ott's surprise announcement was celebrated by monarchists.

This report is by Simon Lauder and includes speech and comment from the following :-

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister; Sam Dastyari, Opposition Senator; Kelvin Thomson, Opposition backbencher; Senator George Brandis, Liberal frontbencher; David Morris, National Director, Australian Republican Movement; and Professor David Flint, National Convenor, Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy

 

 

 

 
At last, Bob Hawke blunder fixed up, while GGs properly recognized. Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014

 

Knights & Dames The mainline media presented a near unanimous line on the awards to the present and former Governors- General, just as the great General Sir John Monash was recognized on the battlefield. Threatening that he would be damaged, they greeted the awards with ridicule.

They missed the fundamental fact that Bob Hawke's blunder had been finally fixed up.

In this piece first published in Quadrant Professor David Flint explains.



It was predictable that the commentariat and the republican politicians would deplore the restoration of knighthoods. The plaintive, almost anguished, cry of ”Why? ” as Tony Abbott concluded his press conference  said it all.

Reflecting the narrow, left-oriented world in which they live, commentators both deplored and ridiculed it. That reaction was entirely predictable.

Image
[ General Sir John Monash knighted by HM King George V ]

The real surprise was that so many eye-rolling members of the press corps came to the immediate conclusion that Abbott’s decision would damage him politically, perhaps even inflicting major harm on the Prime Minister’s standing with the voting public. The April Essential Poll soon corrected that, revealing  only 21% of voters strongly disapprove the restoration. That meagre figure emerged even after the commentariat had gone overboard in condemning the move. It needs no closer examination of the polling data to confidently assume that the critics and naysayers would never, ever vote for Abbott come hell or high water.

The commentariat had made the mistake of thinking the rank-and-file Australian has similar  interests and concerns to those who dwell in inner-city enclaves dominated by groupthink and fashionable opinion. Instead of taking an ideological position on the restoration, commentators should have objectively examined what Abbott had done, which was to have rectified an anomaly.

 

...Hawke's blunder - and the commentariat didn't even notice...

 

Read more...
 
ARM's claim of membership spike Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 06 April 2014
Peter FitzSimons in his column on 6 April 2014 in The Sun-Herald agrees with ACM's David Flint that the ARM claim of a 5000% spike in their membership growth because of knighthoods must have come off a "very low base".

 
Khighthoods restored and defended Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 06 April 2014
''Perhaps it is because the public is no longer actively hostile towards the monarchy,'' writes Damien Freeman in The Spectator Australia,5 April 2014 , ''in the way it was fleetingly in the 1990s, that the critical response from the political class, the fourth estate and the intelligentsia has taken the form of ridicule rather than condemnation, as it would have in Howard’s day.''
Damien Freeman was a researcher wiht ACM during the referendum and now teaches at Oxford. Damien Freeman’s forthcoming books include an edited collection, Figuring Out Figurative Art: Contemporary Philosophers on Contemporary Paintings (Acumen, 2014) and a family memoir, The Aunt’s Mirrors (Brandl & Schlesinger, 2014).



 
Restoration of knighthoods Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
This is the culmination of a long campaign by ACM .( There is a section on the restoration of knighthoods and dames on the ACM site: http://bit.ly/1glHmvZ)

In 2011 we observed that when Lt. General Peter Cosgrove returned fro heading the extraordinarily successful 22 nation INTERFET operation in East Timor, he should have been knighted as Sir Peter Cosgrove, just as after the Battle of Hamel, King George V knighted Lt. General Sir John Monash on the battlefield: http://bit.ly/1oZ1hCU

In our petition late last year, we proposed a number of criteria for future Governors-General. Apart from eminence in their chosen field, and other criteria we suggest an additional one, that the Governor-General be willing to accept the award of such high honours as Her Majesty The Queen may be pleased to confer.

ACM is delighted with the decision by the Hon Tony Abbott MP announced on on to restore the titles and the nomination of Dame Quentin Bryce and Sir Peter Cosgrove as the first recipients. 
 

 

 
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