[Ed. – It’s back-to-the-future week in the Eastern hemisphere, apparently.]
The Abbott government will reintroduce the honour of knights and dames of the Order of Australia to celebrate pre-eminent Australians such as outgoing Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Tuesday afternoon that up to four knights or dames will be appointed in any year.
The first dame under the changes will be the outgoing Governor-General Quentin Bryce and the first knight will be incoming Governor-General Peter Cosgrove. All future governors-general will be appointed a Knight or a Dame.
The categories of Knight and Dame of the Order of Australia were created by the Queen, on advice from the Fraser government, in 1976 and were discontinued under advice from the Hawke government in 1986.
Knights and dames will be approved by the Queen on the recommendation of the prime minister. The chair of the Order of Australia Council will be consulted on any such recommendation.
Mr Abbott said: “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 that office, ever entirely return to private life.” …
He described the change as an “important grace note in our national life”.
Speaking on Sky News, shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus questioned the Abbott government’s priorities.
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