Daily diatribes warning of mayhem and destruction
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 02 January 2008

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...a self styled republican royal watcher...

You may not have realised this. This website is filled with “rants... about disasters about to befall the country” and with “ daily diatribes warning of mayhem and destruction.” 

This is the how Barry Everingham, the self styled republican royal watcher, described this site to the no doubt fascinated readers of the Melbourne newspaper The Herald Sun on 29 December, 2007.

He said that the election of the Rudd Government had thrown Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy into “ frenzy mode.”   Imagine that.

Well if it has, we haven’t noticed it.  It has been business as usual.

We thought republicans were more given to frenzy, as the drawing from Paris illustrates.

In his opinion piece, “Obsession Takes Crown, “Mr. Everingahm says “Flint has excelled himself in his latest post. “ -- he is calling for the restoring of the system of awarding titles in the Australian honours list -- as though in contemporary, egalitarian Australia giving a man the title of "sir" or a woman "dame" would be acceptable. “

That is precisely what I did not say. (Nor was it my latest post-there have been twelve since.)
Yes I had said in this column on 16 December, 2007, while reporting on Channel Nine’s coup in putting on a Royal TV series narrated by Cate Blanchett that it is perhaps time “for HM's Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd, to think about restoring the AD (dame) and AK (knight), the suppression of which has left a gap in the Order of Australia."


So I sent the following letter to the Herald Sun:

...Everingham just can't get it right...

“Dear Editor,

“Barry Everingham just can’t get it right ( Opinion 29/12).

“He says I called for the restoration of awarding the titles “Sir” and “Dame” in my “latest” post to the website www.norepublic.com.au

“I did not. I argued for precisely the opposite. (And it was hardly my “latest” –there’ve been twelve since.)

“Two things point to a weakness in the Order of Australia.  One arose out of the award of a foreign knighthood to a prominent Labor politician.  ( Rupert Murdoch was also similarly honoured years before, and Gough Whitlam admits to half a dozen.) The other was a Canadian comment that no one outside Australia noticed the award of the AC to Nicole Kidman. Yet the award of a knighthood, or the female equivalent, makes headlines around the world.

“Australia lacks an equivalent, which we had in the old AK or AD.  Labor has long objected to the titles that go with these. But Labor does not object to titles as such ; just look at the way former politicians petition The Queen to keep the prenominal “Honourable”.

“My suggestion was to restore the award, but not to use the title “Sir” or Dame.” There is a precedent for this.  Anglican bishops usually refused the “accolade” because dubbing had military connotations; Catholic bishops had no such problems. 

“If we are going to have national awards, let’s do it properly. If the word ‘knighthood” causes problems, call it “Chevalier”, which is the rank Gough Whitlam and many others enjoy.

 “ My suggestion then is to restore the fourth level, which gives international prestige to the recipient and, as the Canadian comment shows, to the nation.

“Either don’t include the title, or make it voluntary.

“David Flint “