Last year, when Richard Pratt was fined $36 million for price fixing, Prime Minister John Howard leapt to his defence: "He's been very successful in business and my own dealings with him have always been very positive, and I like him."

Safe in the knowledge that at least the deeply unpopular former Prime Minister still likes him, the filthy rich cardboard magnate has now done the manly thing and voluntarily sent back his Companion of the Order of Australia and other shiny medals.

After hearing that his awards were under review in light of his fine, the billionaire jumped the gun and resigned his awards voluntarily rather than suffer the indignity of being stripped.