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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?    

 

 

 



Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 25 January 2009

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch is one of the joint winners of  The Australian’s award, Australian of the year, 2008.  Dame Elisabeth, a Patron of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy will celebrate her 100th birthday on 8 February, 2008.

Married to the celebrated correspondent, editor and publisher Sir Keith Murdoch, the best known of their four children is Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of the worldwide media organisation, News Corporation.

Dame Elisabeth is one of Australia's most admired gardeners, having spent many years in the famous garden of her home, Cruden Farm.

She is respected for her work in and support of an extraordinary range of charities in the academy, the arts, in welfare and for children's causes.

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy congratulate Dame Elisabeth on this very well deserved award and on her 100th birthday.

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Nicole Kidman: another beat-up? ( and anyway, why isn't she Dame Nicole Kidman? ) Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A beat-up is, in Australia, “a media report that has been sensationalized and made to seem more significant than it really is.” (Encarta)  We have recently seen two beat-ups which have gone around the world. The most recent was against Prince Harry, the other against The Pope

And now is there one against Ms. Nicole Kidman, who we think deserves to be Dame Nicole Kidman AD, that is a Dame of the Order of Australia. She would of course then decide when she would use the title.


( This was an Australian and not an Imperial award, revoked in 1986. Some of those  who disapprove of this uniquely Australian award have accepted foreign knighthoods. So when Ms. Kidman was offered the top Australian award, it was of an internationally unrecognizable rank, unlike those awarded to other great Dames of the theatre, film  and the concert hall.  Had she become Dame Nicole Kidman, the world would have noticed .)


Image
[ Ms..perhaps one day... Dame Nicole Kidman ]


The way a beat-up it works is this. One newspaper or network manufactures the beat-up. It does not seem these days to matter who does the manufacturing. Once it was restricted to the less serious and more tabloid media. 

Now, once respectable outlets are not above descending into the gutter.  In the case of Prince Harry, the perpetrator was the tabloid News of the World. In relation to The Pope it was the BBC.

Once out, the other media slavishly report the beat-up, usually without checking the original source.

If it's about somone well known it goes around the world more than once, feeding on itself. By then it has its own life. The true story sometimes emerges but it bnever gets the same circulation.




...and  the Australian constitutional system...





And what you may ask has that to do with an organisation whose mission is to defend our constitutional system?

in the nineties , the mainline media not only reported the campaign – they campaigned alongside the republican camp. 

We must never let the media forget and we must never forget the words of the eminent British media authority Lord Deedes who wrote in the London Daily Telegraph on 8 November, 1999: 

“I have rarely attended elections in any country, certainly not a democratic one, in which the newspapers have displayed more shameless bias. One and all, they determined that Australians should have a republic and they used every device towards that end.”



His conclusion was supported by Dr Nancy Stone’s exhaustive survey  of two representative serious media outlets. It behoves us then to be aware of what is likely to happen in any subsequent campaign concerning the constitution.

According to Murdoch newspapers in Australia, another beat-up has just emerged, relating to the considerable Australian actress, Nicole Kidman. We previously suggested that her award in the Order of Australia should have ben at such a rank it would have been recognizable internationally. We republish that call below.


Image
{ Lord Deedes just before the Normandy landing ]
 



...the Nicole Kidman beat-up...





Nicole Kidman has been reported around the world as saying that she is is embarrassed by the film "Australia" and her performance in it.

But the Murdoch newspapers The Daily Telegraph and The Courier Mail say this all came from a recent Daily Mail report last week based on a two-month-old interview Ms. Kidman had with Sydney radio station 2DayFM, although the Daily Mail refers to it as a more recent interview.

“A classic cut-and-paste beat-up turned into an internet phenomenon over the weekend with (Ms.) Kidman portrayed as agreeing with her fiercest critics about her role in the WWII outback epic,” reported the Daily Telegraph.

The international media reported Ms Kidman as saying "I can't look at this movie" and that she and husband Keith Urban "ran" from reviews of the film.

They say she said “It's just impossible for me to connect emotionally at all with it."   But after listening to the interview, the reporters say Ms. Kidman's comments were light-hearted and self-deprecating on the day after the Sydney premiere.

They say selective quotes “spaced minutes apart were culled into one damaging, but misleading, statement.”

"It is quite ridiculous for anyone to believe the reports if they listened to the actual interview," a spokeswoman for Ms. Kidman told the Telegraph. "It's hard to believe some of the world's media have fallen for it."

She told 2DayFM she couldn't watch herself in any film - and Australia was only the second film she had watched herself in besides Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge. She told them she was always embarrassed to see herself on film.

....there's nothing like a Dame...  
 
 

 In congratulating those recognized in any New Year’s Honours, we should be aware of a rather glaring gap in the Order of Australia.

 I first noticed this at a Bastille Day ceremony, when the French Consul - General conferred a knighthood on an Australian[i].

 I turned to former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the father of the Order and said, with a straight face, “Mr Whitlam, you’re the reason Australians have to go to a foreign republic to get a knighthood.”

 He threw back his head laughing and said “Yes, I have five or six of those knighthoods myself!”

He’s not alone. Others include Rupert Murdoch and Paul Keating’s in the Thai’s  “Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant.”

 Malcolm Fraser added the ranks of Knights or Dames of Australia (AK and AD) in 1976, but the Hawke government removed these in 1986, keeping the Medal (OAM) which Fraser had also introduced.

 My view that the Order is now lop sided was confirmed when I read a Canadian comment about   Nicole Kidman being made a Companion, our highest award[ii].

 No one in Canada, or anywhere, else took any notice. But they certainly did when Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Dame Julie Andrews,  Dame Judi Dench, Dame Joan Sutherland and  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa received theirs. As they would for Dame Nicole Kidman or indeed, Dame Cate Blanchett, who plays Queen Elizabeth I so superbly.

 As the song says, “There’s nothing like a Dame.”

Image
[ Dame Cate Blnchett ? ]

 

...."Arise, Sir Kevin..." 

 

 

 

Read more...
 
Editor calls for return of titles Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Friday, 09 January 2009

“Much as the honours system is valued, it has never quite recovered from the former Government's decision to abandon titles such as knights and dames. These titles were thought to be redolent of the English class system and not appropriate for an egalitarian country,” declared the editor, much to my surprise - and pleasure.

“The argument was never wholly convincing. But what seems certain now is that the egalitarian version has not caught on as well as was hoped.”

Image
[ Haka for Their Queen ]

This was sadly not the editor of one of our leading Australian newspapers speaking; this was the editor of The New Zealand Herald on 1 January, calling for the New Zealand system to be placed under the Governor-General. And what a wise and indeed brave editor he is.

The editor has been supported by Professor Noel Cox, Chairman of the Monarchist League of New Zealand. 

In the meantime the NZ republican movement has held a mock election for a New Zealand president.

Well, it must have been an honest election. According to Lewis Holden, this was won by that great monarchist, one with a title, the incomparable Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

Image
[ Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ]
 

In the meantime we are waiting for an editor of an Australian newspaper to draw the same conclusion as the wise editor of The New Zealand Herald , although D.D. McNicoll did say as much in The Australian on Australia Day in 2008 (“Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters.”)

 “Getting a knighthood or being appointed a dame,” compared with being made a companion in the Order of Australia, “is unmistakable,” he declared.

More importantly, we are waiting for an editor to call for an end to this republican nonsense.

The republican politicians know they will lose another referendum – why else are they planning either one or two   plebiscites? (They can’t even agree on the number of plebiscites.)

And while they are engaged in this pointless wasteful manoeuvre, the real constitutional issue – how to make state government effective – is ignored.

Malcolm Mackerras is probably right. It will take another defeat to bring the politicians and regrettably too many in the media – to their senses. Apart from the millions more, and the divisions it will cause, valuable time and attention will be diverted from serious issues to do with the governance of our nation. 

When and if Mr Rudd brings on a plebiscite, it is likely that the more shallow and nervous Liberals will immediately open their ranks to this wedge and jump on the republican bandwagon, thus showing their party divided.  Indeed this is a significant  part of the attraction for republicanism in Labor ranks – as Paul Keating demosntrated.  

The corps of editors should show leadership on this, and call a halt to this nonsense.



 

   

 

 
Republicans and Royal Titles Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 08 December 2008

Never ever stand between royalty, even minor European royalty, and republicans. If you do, you risk being knocked over in the rush.  Perhaps similar sentiments can be expressed about titles.

 “Given her leftist leanings and vocally establishment past, she had some serious soul searching to do before accepting her DBE –and the ‘ Dame” title that comes with it – in The Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2003.

Image
[Dame Helen Mirren from The Queen]

“’I was ambivalent, I asked my sister, I asked associates and good friends. They all, to a man and a woman, said ‘take it’. 

“’If my sister had said,’ Maybe not, Helen, I wouldn’t have.

“I think if my parents had still been alive they would have been proud, even though they were still intensely republican.”

This was from an interview with Dame Helen Mirren DBE, whose most celebrated film was The Queen, 2007, by Susan Chenery in “The Last Laugh”, in The Weekend Australian Magazine, 6-7 December, 2008.

 

 
Ninety years ago: Australians astonish Europe Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Saturday, 08 November 2008
   
  
 

Sir John Monash was not only our greatest general, but arguably, the greatest among the First World War allies. The British Prime Minister Lloyd George said Monash was the one man who could have replaced Field Marshall Haig and have led the entire British Army, which included the armies of the dominions. But two leading journalists tried to overturn his appointment to command the Australian forces.

As we noted here ("The Great War " by Les Carlyon, 19 December 2006) Keith Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s father, and Charles Bean, the official war correspondent conspired to reverse a cabinet decision and to have another officer appointed in his place. To his great credit, he would have nothing to do with the manoeuvre.  The story is told by Les Carlyon in a chapter in “The Great War”. It is most appropriately entitled, “The press gang.”

Both Bean and Murdoch were considerable men, but they crossed the line in their attempt to play politics. The journalist playing the courtier is sadly nothing new, but I am still astounded by the unashamed bias that the media displayed in the 1999 referendum. I was more recently taken aback by the way the American and Western media campaigned for Senator Barack Obama in the recent US election.

Image
[Sir John Monash]






...Knighted on the battlefied....





But to return to that great Australian general, what a relief it was to see The Australian’s Mark Day at last being allowed to refer to him as Sir John Monash in this way, and not merely to “John Monash” (“New memorial marks Diggers' 'perfect battle'” 8 November, 2008).

Does this mean that The Australian has finally put to bed the juvenile rule adopted a few years ago against the use of titles, especially knighthoods?   Tim Fischer is campaigning for Monash to be made, posthumously, a Field Marshal; Field Marshal Sir John Monash sounds more than appropriate.  Sir John, Lady Monash and the Jewish community were greatly inspired by the knighthood.

It was actually  conferred on the battlefield by King George V, the first occasion in 200 years.  And now you can see old film of The King dubbing Sir John on that battlefield. This is in “Monash the Forgotten Anzac”.  It will be broadcast   on ABC TV1 on Tuesday, 11 November, 2008 at 830pm, on the ninetieth anniversary of the end of the First World War.


Image


This is in the genre of combining documentary with drama, which, provided standards of objectivity are maintained, can be very effective.

Recent ones broadcast on the ABC have been on the relationship at times stormy between Menzies and Churchill, and the Chifley government and the coal strike. (The last one demonstrated how the communists attempted to use the miner’s grievances to create a breakdown in civil order, and to promote their agenda to turn Australia into a peoples’ republic on the East European model.)



...journalists attempt to sideline Monash....




Max Prisc, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald on 8 November, 2008 (“The pen versus the sword”) tells how Murdoch and Bean attempt to force Haig’s hand in the TV version.

“Looking smug, a wheedling Charles Bean, official Australian war correspondent, turns to Field Marshal Douglas Haig, and says: ‘With respect, sir, Monash is … he's Jewish and as a race they do tend to be pushy.’...

“Haig... has just named Monash as the man he thinks has the right stuff. To Bean and Murdoch's dismay, he says of their candidate, Brudenell White: "He's never commanded a division in the field."(Brudenell White was later to earn Haig’s respect, and as Sir Cyril Brudenell Bingham White, KCB, KCMG, KCVO, DSO later became Chief of the Australian General Staff.)

“Sir John Monash,” says Max Prisc, “took his chance to hit back in 1917 after seeing Bean's report on the first of his significant victories on the Western Front, when his newly arrived Third Division took Messines Ridge.

“The TV Monash speaks directly to camera: ‘Bean's report on Messines is the apotheosis of banality. Not only is his language silly tosh, but the facts are for the most part quite wrong.’

But as Max Prisc says, Sir John Monash “stood tall as the man who engineered... the great allied breakthrough that the German commander Ludendorff declared the ‘black day of the German army’.



...The Battle of Le Hamel...





This began with the Battle of Le Hamel, where a victory by Australian and American troops under Monash was more significant because of the General’s planned and novel attack than the size of the victory.

Rather than just throwing the troops in a  full frontal attack, Monash used everything at his disposal  – artillery, aircraft and the element of surprise in a measured and highly planned assault , ensuring  above all that his infantry would not be slaughtered pointlessly as the infantry too often had been in that terrible war.

Image
[Clemenceau, Le Tigre, crushes The German Kaiser]



If only Monash had led the armies of the British Empire. The accompanying Australian War Memorial photograph shows American and Australian troops dug in together during the Battle of Hamel. It was at Hamel that American troops attacked, at battalion strength, for the first time in the British line and under Australian command.



...The Tiger praises the Australians....




  The battle was of such significance that the French Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau, “The Tiger”, decided he would come to thank the Australians personally.He said, in English:

“When the Australians came to France, the French people expected a great deal of you. . . . We knew that you would fight a real fight, but we did not know that from the very beginning you would astonish the whole continent.”

 

“I shall go back to-morrow and say to my countrymen: “I have seen the Australians. I have looked in their faces. I know that these men . . . will fight alongside of us again until the cause for which we are all fighting is safe for us and for our children.”The Official War History  by Charles Bean continues:

“As the old man panted, partly from emotion, partly from asthma, General MacLagan, taking up a call from one of the Diggers behind him, led three tremendous cheers for France.


“De jolis enfants,” said Clemenceau, as he turned to go.”

Max Prisc reminds us that when Sir John Monash died on 8 October, 1931, 300,000 people lined the streets of Melbourne for the biggest funeral in Australia to that time.

“His casket was placed on a gun carriage after the church service and 10,000 returned soldiers, eight abreast and with hats over their hearts, filed past before leading him to his grave in the Jewish section of Brighton cemetery.”

A new memorial to the Battle of Le Hamel was dedicated on 9 November. The old one had an etching of Sir John; unfortunately the new one does not. But the words of George Clemenceau are there:

“I have seen the Australians, I have looked in their faces; I know these men will fight alongside us until the cause for which we are all fighting is safe for us and for our children" 



 
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