British Royals

New Australian Prime Minister calls time on Knight and Damehoods

The newly-elected Australian Prime Minister has announced that the country will no appoint knights and dames under the reformed honours system.

Malcolm Turnbull, who was elected into office in September, described the titles as being “not appropriate” in modern-day Australia.

The introduction of knights and dames was short-lived in the Commonwealth country, as they were only reintroduced last year in 2014 by former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

The former PM, who was ousted out of power by the leader of the Liberal party in September, controversially awarded the Duke of Edinburgh a knighthood in January.

Abbott, a committed monarchist, awarded Prince Philip with the honour for his lifetime of “service and dedication”, although many see this decision as the beginning of Mr Abbott’s political fall from grace.

He awarded the 94-year-old Prince with the country’s top honour on Australia Day, although later saying after he was removed from power, that the decision was injudicious.

Australia started awarding its own honours in 1975 when it created a separate system replacing the British one. Anybody can nominate somebody for an award for service, excellence and achievement.

Part of the reason why knights and dames are no longer awarded in Australia is because of the mounting republican pressure which describes the system as an outdated colonialism tradition.

Constitutionally, only the Queen could appoint knights and dames on the Prime Minsiter’s recommendation.

The decision of Mr Turnbull to scrap the honours system opens new questions about Australia’s relationship with the monarchy, and whether there is growing support for another republic referendum.

The last national referendum on this matter was held in 1999, when almost 55 percent of Australians voted against breaking its ties with the monarchy, overcoming the republicans.

With four Prime Ministers in as many years, Australia is going through a tough political period. The country’s future relationship with the crown remains unpredictable.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are traveling to Australia and New Zealand next week, where they are expected to receive a warm welcome.