March 10

Still nothing like a Dame

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In “What's in a dame,”  D. D. McNicoll points out that just as in Australia, and around the world, no one knows what the current republican awards mean.  But everyone is impressed with 'Sir' of 'Dame'.”

Note that. Everyone is impressed. Everyone around the world. So why would an Australian government give up something because of some republican ideology? And why didn't the Howard government do what John Key is sensibly doing in New Zealand?  

“Almost no one in New Zealand understood what being a principal or distinguished companion of the Kiwis' honours system meant, so PM John Key reverted to a system of knights and dames and is allowing the 85 Kiwis with confusing titles to decide if they want to upgrade to something everyone recognises, “he continued in the column Strewth in The Australian of 10 March 2001.

“Here the same confusion exists,” he said. “A letter to the editor in this journal yesterday about the  disgraced former judge Marcus Einfeld that read, in part, ‘If he avoids jail and keeps his AOM’, highlighted the problem. There is no AOM. In 1998 Einfeld was appointed an officer in the Order of Australia and is entitled to use the post-nominal letters AO. Officer is the second rank of the Order of Australia after companion (AC).

“If, like the Kiwis, we rewound our honours system, all the ACs, who number more than 220, could become knights or dames. The Order of Australia originally had knights and dames and former governors-general Zelman Cowan and Ninian Stephen are true-blue, dinky-di knights.”

The point is the government, like its predecessors, is short-changing our most successful Australians. They are being denied the international recognition which Sir John Monash, Sir Donald Bradman and Dame Nellie Melba rightly enjoyed.

And now John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand is ensuring talented New Zealanders can enjoy the recognition they deserve. In the meantime, republican politicians accept  knighthoods from foreign republics.  And in New South Wales, a young recently retired minister, Reba Meagher, is not only entitled to superannuation with a taxpayer subsidy and at an early age which voters cna only dream of . 

The minister who presided over the NSW hospitals is also asking that she be allowed to retain the title “Honourable.”

I suppose there is one good thing about this. This abject republican failure indicates what a mess they would make if ever they were able to impose their politicians' republic on Australia or New Zealand.


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