FEDERAL member for Calare John Cobb has thrown his support behind prime minister Tony Abbott’s decision to reintroduce the British-based honours of knight and dame above our Australian honours system.
Surprising many, including his unknowing cabinet, Mr Abbott revealed outgoing governor-general Quentin Bryce will become a dame and her successor Peter Cosgrove a knight after he asked the Queen to restore the system of pre-eminent honours.
A system last used in 1986, Mr Cobb, a traditionalist not a royalist, said he feels the Australian public holds the knights and dames order in higher esteem than the Order of Australia honour simply because it’s easier to distinguish.
“I don’t see a problem with it,” he said.
“I’m not belittling people with OAMs, I totally respect those that have earned them, but I think people are more familiar with this type of honour system.
“I don’t know why [Gough] Whitlam was so desperate to get rid of them in the first place.”
In a poll run on the Central Western Daily website yesterday 63 per cent of people were against the move to have the British-based honours system reintroduced.
No doubt one of those voting in the negative, Greens councillor Neil Jones labelled the move as “hilarious”.
“It beggars belief,” a gobsmacked republican said.
“Just when we have a multi-cultural, exciting nation we go and bring in throwback 15th century awards. It’s a setback for the republican movement and it devalues the OAMs.”
“I’m not belittling people with OAMs, I totally respect those that have earned them, but I think people are more familiar with this type of honour system"
An OAM recipient, Merle Barrett is all for the reintroduction of the honour.
“I’m 90 years old and it’s something that’s been part of my life up until the 80s. I don’t see the harm in it,” she said.
The staunch royalist doesn’t believe the reinstated honours deter from the honour of an OAM.
“I don’t think it downgrades anything,” she said.
“There’s plenty of people who deserve it. I’ve got a problem with [Bryce] being a republican, but she’s done a wonderful job as governor-general and Peter Cosgrove definitely deserves one. He’s done a wonderful job for this country in both life and public life.”