1983 was the year Daryl Somers won the Gold logie. It’s not that long ago, is it?
That’s the question Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull put to an audience last night, speaking at a TV launch at Parliament House, as he ever-so-gently mocked Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision to bring back Knights and Dames within the Order Of Australia.
Is 1983, the last year you could become a Knight or Dame in Australia, “really so long ago?” he asked.
(Turnbull had already told Australian republicans Abbott’s decision was not something they should lose sleep over in a blog post following the announcement)
It is a subtle swipe. Though significant nonetheless. Abbott made what appears to be a unilateral decision, without a party debate over reinstating an honour system former PM John Howard has described as “anachronistic”, even for conservatives.
Here’s some more of what Turnbull said, according to a Fairfax report:
“After all there are many distinguished republics that have knights in their honours system – Guatemala for example, Peru, Argentina, Brazil.
“France and Italy, I mean they are two of the most distinguished republics.
“So anyone who thinks this is some kind of slap to the republicans is really misjudging the Prime Minister’s commitment to looking after all Australians and bringing us all together.”
And here’s an section of the blog post:
As far as republics are concerned, most countries have an honours system and many of them have an order of knighthood. The Republics of France and Italy not to speak of the Republics of Peru, Argentina and Guatemala all have orders of knighthoods in their honours system. And so if a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur can be a loyal defender of the French Republic and if a Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana can be a patriotic citizen of the Italian Republic, Australian republicans should not lose too much sleep over the Prime Minister’s decision today.
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