Knights and Dames Return to Australia

Here’s some good news from Australia. A long-time reader from Down Under just sent us the following note:

Hi Dymphna and The Baron,

This news item has been all over the Australian news outlets.

Americans might not understand why conservative Australian like this, but many do.

As part of the British Commonwealth (Queen Elizabeth II is our legal Head of State) Australia always used to participate in the Royal honours system (Sir ABC, Dame XYZ). This ended with the execrable Gough Whitlam (Labor Party/left) in about 1973, was briefly revived by Malcolm Fraser (Liberal Party/vaguely right, he claimed) and then dropped.

Tony Abbot (Liberal Party/actual conservative) has revived it once again! This is a move worthy of RESPECT!

There is a double deliciousness here — lefty heads are exploding like Champagne corks on New Year’s Eve, and I (along with many other conservative Australians) like the return to tradition. Note that the titles are not hereditary, and confer no actual legal or social privilege, other than being allowed to call oneself “Sir So-and-so”.

The best detail is that the current Governor General (Queen Elizabeth’s representative in Australia) is an avowed republican (i.e. wants to remove the Queen as Australia’s Head of State) but has accepted the Honour (Dame Quentin Bryce).

Note also that the Governor General has little real power — only in extreme circumstances of failure of government can he/she dismiss the Prime Minister and call an election.

Still, round 1 to the conservatives!

15 thoughts on “Knights and Dames Return to Australia

  1. This is good news indeed. I am American but lived in the UK for five years so I have some idea about it. So a certain person has Sir or Dame before their name – it nearly always reflects genuine accomplishment and might get them a better seat at an eating establishment, or maybe if their last name is Smith distinguish them from other Smiths. But so what? It is nice, it is gracious, and it is traditional. I get it, but then my father was a “Kentucky Colonel” (sort of like being knighted by the govenor of Kentucky).

    Only the left will get angry about this – and once again they will display their ignorance.

  2. I cannot in all conscience accept that this divisive issue within a nation that holds egalitarianism as a virtue has been resurrected to once again give air to those who see themselves as being a part of an elite.

    In an egalitarian society shouldn’t public recognition be enough for those individuals for the role they have performed?

    While I realize that there are restrictions on giving out these elite titles, and there will be those who will use their titles as a point of leverage in dealing with us lessor mortals, I wonder how long it will be before the restrictions are done away with and titles become an expectation of those who consider themselves above the rest of us.

    Just like they were once upon a time used and abused!

    The PM should have let this sleeping dog of division alone, we don’t need to be recognizing an out dated institution through the creation of a new elite that has the historical tendency to divide rather than unite!

    • The whole point of an egalitarian society is that it can give recognition to those of it’s people who give outstanding service.

      It’s no different from bravery decorations and the like in military service, especially when the military is all volunteer.

      • ‘It’s no different from the bravery decorations and the like in military service, especially when the military is all volunteer.’

        I completely understand what you have written in those two lines, but heroics in the military is a different kettle of fish compared to being appointed to positions by politicians who then take it upon themselves to bring about a new elite to those they appoint by bestowing titles on them. And mark my words, in years to come, there will be those who will use their anachronistic titles to gain favor. It’s human nature to take advantage of a bestowed title. We have had a history of it which is one reason the Hawke government canned the practise.

      • Giving recognition to those who give outstanding service is the right thing to do but why should titles, associated with an historically privileged class who used the common man as as means for their ends, even be considered. Unless one’s narcissism has something to do with it, that a deliberately created perception creates a desired for reality.

        • I get your point, but in Australia it may be misplaced. The people being honored with those superlatives have earned them in some way. They are never hereditary and can both hail back to a dimly-recalled tradition whilst honoring those who earn those titles. It doesn’t harm anyone and it’s not narcissistic. I suppose some turn the honorific down, due just to the negative connotation you mention.

    • Just because Australians chose to sit next to the taxi driver (rather than in the backseat) does not necessarily mean “egalitarianism” is the virtuous default position of that nation and I dont like leaders so weak they would run from sleeping dogs because of their “potential” divisiveness. But that’s just me, perhaps 😉

      • Rita, whenever I need to take a cab ride I always sit in the front seat and talk to the driver if he/she is responsive to conversation.

        I am 62 years young and it has taken me many years to appreciate the foibles, failings and just plain greed of humanity when rewards are on offer for simply doing what they are paid to do.

        That sleeping dog has been asleep for thirty years – which in anyone’s estimation is far behind us. TA could have picked something else to hit the outgoing GG between the eyes with other than resurrecting an out dated and anachronistic system that guarantees at some time in the future, a new elite.

        Here we are in the 21st Century, a so called ‘century of enlightenment’ giving gongs to sports players and actors, who in reality are very well rewarded financially and have automatic public recognition, and quite frankly, do not deserve the awards now freely handed out willy nilly, while politicians are now going to create a new elite for us all to bow down to.

        I can remember a time when this was the case for some!

        I shake my head at TAs cheap ostentation that ushers in a new pomposity I know will just turn my stomach as an Australian.

        It’s cringe worthy!

  3. Your reporter notes that our current Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, although “an avowed republican”, ie anti-Monarchist who wants the British monarch to no long be Australia’s (nominal) Head of State, was the first to accept the freshly re-introduced Royal Honour.

    Personal hypocrisy at its worst, but most predictable on her part. Semi-paradoxically Labor’s top shelf apparatchiks are notorious social snobs: former Labor Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett (himself the product of an elite private school) and Lefty firebrand lead singer of “The Midnight Oils” rock band (sample opening lyric: “US forces give the nod, its a setback for your country”) sent his three daughters to Frensham – the most exclusive, ie expensive, prestigious, though not the best academically, girls private boarding school in Australia. Frensham is the kind of place where many of the students are the third or fourth generation of their families to have done so. Garrett’s justification was that he wanted his daughters to be schooled at a single-sex school with good values or some such: read the public school system, even with its very high quality academically selective single sex schools, weren’t good enough for his progeny. Or he feared they weren’t bright enough to win places at the aforesaid selective public secondary schools. Noteworthy is that the regular public high schools in his solidly Labor voting former electorate (where he didn’t deign to reside) are pretty mediocre.

    A masterstroke by Tony Abbott – the most conservative Liberal Party Prime Minister Australia has had since the early 60’s, possibly since the 1930’s. Dame Quentin Bryce is far more than a “republican”: she is a doyen of the soft Left femocracy. Moreover her Labor party-aligned daughter is married to the widely predicted next leader of the Labor Party: Bill Shorten. Thus in a future constitutional crisis as Australia had in 1975, where the G-G sacked the Labor Party Prime Minister who had appointed him, the Dame may well have to decide whether to sack her own son-in-law!

    The next Royal Honour is said to be going to General Peter Cosgrove, but the third is speculated to be going to former long-term Liberal Party Prime Minister John Howard. This last possibility will drive, in fact is already driving, the Left into paroxysms of rage.

    • That is a good summation of what has recently occurred, but I would make one prediction on what you believe may happen sometime in the future concerning the leader of the Federal Opposition, Bill Shorten.

      He won’t be Labor leader by the end of this year, the findings from the Royal Commission into union malfeasance will see to that.

      Too, Howard advised Abbott about going down this road. He has already hinted that he won’t accept a title!

      And it’s back to the future for the rest of us!

  4. Quentin Bryce is a pretentious hypocritical feminist snob who went above and beyond the call of duty to be seen with the Queen on her last visit and be seen wearing a bigger hat and brighter clothes than Her Majesty. And when Obama visited she made sure she upstaged him at the airport welcome by wearing similar bright yellow clothes and then as their respective motorcades headed off to the Parliament House welcome from the government and members she just had to detour by Government House for a quick change into a bright tangerine outfit. As Governor General still saw herself as Sex Discrimination Commissioner of Queensland not adverse to using her status as GG to lecturing student’s at boys school about increasing their awareness of sex discrimination plus more recently in her puffed up self importance lecturing the Australian public about her wishes to for Australia to become a republic and to see marriage redefined to give the government a stake in emotional relationships. A leftist elitist female of the kind TS often observes as being a symptom of the decline in western civilisation. A very worthy recipient of this title. Good riddance.

  5. I’ve never thought of this blog as being so much conservative as classically liberal. I’m sure the Baron and Dymphna would not have found themselves on the side of the Loyalists during the American Revolution, so why applaud this move? As an Australian, I don’t find anything appealing about the return of the vestments of nobility.

  6. As I understand it, New Zealand still has its knights and dames, so it’s only proper that Aus has them as well. I think Sir Richie Benaud, Sir Stephen Waugh and the like would have a good ring about them.

  7. Maybe the honours should be reserved for true crusaders. “Arise, Sir Knight”. 🙂

  8. “…There is a double deliciousness here…”

    I actually see it as (at least) a TRIPLE deliciousness, the third one in this delectable trinity being the fact that the current Labor Opposition Leader, who (like the majority of the Australian Left) came up through via the Union Movement and whose raison d’être is to attack, defame, undermine etc. everything our Prime Minister does, has predictably also slammed this return to a more elegant future. He probably sneered at that “retrograde, servile blablabla” action by Mr. Abbott before he became aware that GG Quentin Price had accepted the honour of being the first recipient of this order. I find it delightful because, you see, this Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, is the son-in-law of DAME Quentin Price. *snigger*

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