OUR SAY: No sir - Abbott gets a rise out his critics with honours debate

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott is proud to describe himself as traditional but it is difficult to see how all but the most traditional of Australians would welcome his decision to reintroduce a British-based honour which creates the title of knight and dame and puts recipients on a pedestal above those citizens awarded uniquely Australian honours.

There will no doubt be Anglophiles relishing a small step back towards the skirts of mother England but there will be many in the community scratching their heads at a decision made and announced without any public consultation.

Since 1975 Australia has been progressively rolling out its own honours system and it has become respected by monarchists and republicans alike.

And perhaps this is where Mr Abbott the monarchist has really lost the plot.

There are a great many Australians, including those migrating from countries other than England, who see merit in our constructional monarchy as a system of government.

For them and for many others, replacing a model which has provided a stable system of government with a republic is not a priority.

But that does not mean they want to step back into the shadow of a country which itself has moved on without us.

There have been many changes in the relationship between Australia and England since the watershed years of the Whitlam government.

We have introduced our own honours system, we have abandoned legal appeals to the Privy Council, deciding quite rightly that judicial authority should stop with our own High Court, and we have turned our gaze more towards Asia and the Pacific.

Australia will become a republic one day, but until that day comes we would be much better served by a prime minister who advances unmistakably Australian institutions and values rather than one who pines for titles and traditions which in Australia have had their day.


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