The Australian Prime Minister’s office on Monday announced that it will no longer be appointing ‘knights and dames’ pronounced by the Queen of England, Elizabeth II. This comes as a part of the campaign Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has sought since he took over the PM office earlier this year.
The press release announced that this long overdue decision has been made by the cabinet and Turnbull and the Queen have signed off on the decision.
“Awards in the Order of Australia are an important way to highlight the achievements and service of many Australians, including the unsung heroes who might not otherwise be outside their local communities,” the statement read. “The Cabinet recently considered the Order of Australia, in this its 40th year, and agreed that Knights and Dames are not appropriate in our modern system.”
Australia has its own honorary system and the parliament has sought to consider the Order of Australia to be the highest honor in the system. Prior to the decision made by the leader of the House, knights and dames were the highest order of the honor system in Australia.
The Australian government, and in particular the new Prime Minister, have been arguing over the still prominent ties of the Pacific nation to the British Crown. Turnbull has been seen has the leading figure in this campaign against the ties of the monarchy to Australia and is not short of supporters in his quest. He has said many a times that he would seek to sever the link of Australian sovereignty with British monarchy.
He disdain over the British links to Australia has been the worst kept secret and he has expressed his feelings several times on several platforms. However, the PM is disappointed at the progress the government has shown over a significant political change that may come before the Queen’s death.
Turnbull’s adamancy over spelling an end to the ‘knights and dames’ has churned the results as the cabinet has approved that Australia will neither accept nor recognize these titles awarded to Australian citizens.
Turnbull’s predecessor, Tony Abbott had previously reinstated the peerage system rolling back in the ‘knights and dames’ into the honor system in Australia, which drew considerable ire from the public. This honor system had been abolished by Australian government nearly three decades ago by the Hawke Labour government.
Prime Minister Turnbull recently mocked the knights and dames system and suggested to the Queen to award the title to her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip infamously asked one of the indigenous people of Australia in 2002 whether they ‘still throw spears at each other.’
Australia is one of the 52 commonwealth nations that still recognize the British Monarchy as the head of the state or the symbol of leadership. The likes of Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, New Zealand and Australia, among others, are still under the crown of the Queen whereas countries like South Africa, India, Pakistan, Ghana and Kenya among others have severed the ties with the monarchy.