PM Tony Abbott rules out reinstating Knights and Dames in Oz
- From: The Sunday Telegraph
- December 22, 2013
HE restored an oath of allegiance to the Queen when he was sworn in as Prime Minister, but Tony Abbott has ruled out bringing back Knights and Dames in Australia.
Monarchists including David Flint and Alexander Downer have mused that the PM is such a traditionalist that he may follow New Zealand's lead and bring back knighthoods.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Abbott said he did not support the idea, which would involve converting the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) to Knighthoods or reintroducing a new regal honour.
"It's true that some people have said to me: 'What about doing what New Zealand did','' Mr Abbott said.
"But I don't think it would be practical to just rebadge ACs. There was a rarity to their AC equivalent which made it easier for them to do this."
"No, no, no. Just a bit of chatter. I don't think New Zealand is a relevant model here.
"The problem is they just basically converted there ACs into knighthoods. I just don't think that's realistic in this country.
"Look, I am pleased that we've got Sir David Smith and Sir Rod Eddington. Good to see Sir Bradley Wiggins as a result of things he did in the United Kingdom.
"I don't mind having Knights and Dames around. We've thankfully still got a few."
It was Gough Whitlam who axed Knighthoods in 1975, only to watch Malcolm Fraser reinstate Knights and Dames a year later.
John Howard is understood to have rejected the idea of reinstating Knights and Dames on the grounds that the endless chopping and changing was undermining the dignity of the honour.
Many of his advisers also believed the Liberal Party would be mocked and seen as out of touch with modern Australia.