There’s Nothin’ Like a Dame
Knights and Dames are being reintroduced to the Order of Australia honours list thanks to Australia’s ruling monarch Tony Abbott.
Keen to get some runs on the board, Tony Abbott said the first to receive the titles would be outgoing Governor-General Quentin Bryce and her successor Peter Cosgrove, who takes up the vice-regal office on Friday.
Up to four knights or dames will be appointed each year.
“My intention is that this new award will go to those who have accepted public office rather than sought it; and who can never, by virtue of the office they have held, entirely return to private life,’’ the Prime Minister said.
“This special recognition may be extended to Australians of `extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit’ in their service to Australia or to humanity at large.
“I believe this is an important grace note in our national life.’’
Henceforth, Mr Abbott said, the serving governor-general will be the principal knight or dame in the Order of Australia.
Mr Abbott said Dame Quentin and Sir Peter had been happy to accept the honours.
He said all future governors-general would receive the honour, adding dignity and stature to it.
Mr Abbott did not say if former governors-general would receive the honour.
He did not rule out politicians becoming a knight or dame, saying he didn’t want to pre-empt who may be considered worthy of the honour.
The Prime Minister said the Queen had approved his recommendation to amend the Letters Patent constituting the Order of Australia.
The chairman of the Order of Australia Council will be consulted on any such recommendation.
Mr Abbott said the change would not affect existing companions, officers or members of the Order of Australia.