Skip to comments.Tony Abbott brings back Knights and Dames with outgoing GG Quentin Bryce the first to be honoured
Posted on 03/25/2014 1:07:04 PM PDT by naturalman1975
OUTGOING Governor-General Quentin Bryce will be made a Dame and incoming Governor-General, General Peter Cosgrove will be made a Knight, under a new honour the Prime Minister has recommended to the Queen.
Tony Abbott, who had ruled out such an order in December last year, said up to four will be created in any year.
Knights and Dames in the Order of Australia will be approved by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, he said in a statement.
My intention is that this new award will go to those who have accepted public office rather than sought it; and who can never, by virtue of the office they have held, entirely return to private life.
He told reporters in Canberra it would be a fitting recognition of their service.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailytelegraph.com.au ...
It's symbolic, but it matters as well. Our system in Australia is a Constitutional Monarchy where the reserve powers of the Crown serve as one of the ultimate brakes on a government that might seek to exceed its lawful authority and powers - as happened in 1975 when the Whitlam government was dismissed from office when Prime Minister Whitlam could only propose unlawful means to deal with a constitutional crisis and was refusing to take the correct path to do so under the constitutional conventions. Republicanism (in the sense of advocating a change to a republican form of government from our monarchy) is a valid political position, but the constitutional processes to achieve that require a referendum to amend the Constitution - it's not meant to happen in any other way - and in 1999, when offered the chance at referendum, Australians chose to retain the Monarchy, at least for now. When Labor governments in 1975 and again in 1986 chose to unilaterally remove Knighthoods from Australia's Honours system, it showed a dangerous lack of regard for the fundamental principles of our Monarchy. Restoring Knighthoods is symbolic therefore in stating that our current Prime Minister and Government accept the role of being answerable to the Crown.
There's also the fact - less important but still significant - that the removal of the position of Knight and Dame left us without a Honour to give to those who truly deserve the highest Honour this nation can give. Companion of the Order of Australia, which was the second highest Honour, simply became the top level award, and it is given much more broadly. To make this clear, the Order of Australia has four (arguably five) grades.
Member of the Order (AM) (declaring a personal bias, I have the AM myself) can be awarded to up to 225 people a year.
Officer of the Order (AO) can be awarded to up to 100 people a year.
Companion of the Order (AC) can be awarded to up to 25 people a year.
Knight (or Dame) of the Order (AK/AD) is limited to no more than four awards a year (and in the eight years it was awarded, was, in fact, bestowed on average, less than twice a year - fourteen times in eight years).
(The 'arguably fifth grade' is the lowest level Medal of the Order (OAM) which has no quota - it's functionally treated as part of the Order in Australia, but under the traditions of the Orders of Chivalry, holders of the OAM are affiliated with the Order, rather than part of it).
Adding to this.
There are about 20,000 people who have received the OAM, 8,000 the AM, 2,000 the AO, 400 the AC - and only 15 AK/ADs.
It stands out and is intended for those you want to stand out.
Sounds like a good development, FRiend. Thanks for explaining the system to us.