Crikey Says

Mar 28, 2014

Crikey says: arise, the republican hypocrites?

Bronwyn Bishop: nothing but a distraction for Tony Abbott. A newsroom introduction on Lachlan Murdoch's first day. Tony Shepherd's parting shot with the BCA. The truth on cancer deaths: attention where it's needed. Qantas guts its frequent flyers. An evening with Alain de Botton. Guy Rundle on the life of William Burroughs. And a song! Casey Bennetto's in The Sandpit.

Arise, Sir Peter. Take a hike, Dame Quentin. Decorated military man Peter Cosgrove (pictured) was sworn in as Australia's 26th governor-general this morning, assuming the highest office in the land (well, technically) and a fancy new title -- Australia's newest knight. Quentin Bryce, of course, walks away from Yarralumla with her own honour: a damehood of the British Empire. Cosgrove vowed today he comes to the role "agenda free". As is appropriate. Bryce, too, served with apolitical dignity. But both appear to be avowed republicans. Bryce made that known explicitly in her final months in the job; Cosgrove's public position is a little more nuanced, but it seems clear which way he leans. Which might make you wonder why they took the job in the first place. It might. It certainly makes you wonder why they'd accept their silly new honourifics. The job demands they not make a political fuss. But on knights and dames, at least, the answer could have been private and simple. Thanks, but no thanks.

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11 thoughts on “Crikey says: arise, the republican hypocrites?

  1. paddy

    I suspect that both Cosgrove & Bryce were ambushed by Abbott with the honourifics. (As were most of his cabinet.)
    Blaming them for being wedged by Abbott’s actions seems a little churlish.

  2. Chrispy

    I agree that these awards are silly and anachronistic, but by way of clarification, Quentin did not receive a damehood of the order of the british empire, it’s a damhood of the order of Australia.

  3. Matt Hardin

    Not at all Paddy. They could have politely and privately declined when first asked. Recipients are always given an option to decline an honour before it is awarded or even announced publicly just in case they do want to decline. It saves embarrassment all round.

    Now, if Tony Abbott had announced it publicly first that would be a different thing entirely and Cosgrove and Bryce could say that they had been ambushed.

  4. paddy

    Not sure that the protocol of the recipients always being asked first, was applied in the current situation Matt. These are the first recipients of Tony’s new honours and Cosgrove had already been announced as the new GG before Tony sprung his “surprise”.
    Bryce was the current GG and it would have been a major breach of protocol for her to publicly refuse.
    (Just look at the fuss at her one reference to an Oz born head of state caused.)
    I think Tony wedged them both and enjoyed the power of doing so.

  5. Lee Miller

    By accepting this sycophantic nonsense they have both demeaned themselves and their achievements. THIS is now what they’ll be remembered for.

  6. CML

    I have never had much interest in the role of the GG, but accept that it forms part of the system of government in this country.
    The problem, certainly since the 1970s, has been the calibre of some appointees to the role. While I appreciate that none have been worse then Kerr, Bryce and Cosgrove have definitely NOT covered themselves with glory over this ‘honours’ thing.
    Agree with those above who say both should have refused to accept them. Perhaps the rAbbott would then have been given a lesson in how to behave as PM. But perhaps it’s not all bad – Abbott just looks like a bigger twit!!

  7. Margaret Ludowyk

    Very disappointed that Quentin Bryce accepted this silly title. I thought she had more integrity than that.

  8. Ken Lambert

    Don’t you get it? Tony Abbott has brought back knights and dames in order to make an honest woman of closet republican post feminista Quentin Bryce. Always a princess, then vice-regal…there was nothing but a Dame left for her.

    If fact I penned an Ode to Dame Quentin, the chorus of which can be sung to the Johnny Cash tune;

    “Dame Quentin… you’re a living doll to me,
    Since you debbed vice-regal in 1963,
    Your Ma was a princess and Pa worked hard the land,
    Puttin’ God, Queen and Country in the palm of your hand….

    Dame Quentin you’re a living doll to me……”

    Probably best sung by Norman Gunston.

    Ken Lambert

  9. AR

    The oldest strategy in the Rulers book is first ignore an irritant then, if it proves to be resilient bribe it. Normally this sufficient as most are grateful to join the Master slightly higher up the table. It is only when bribes are spurned that Rulers bring in the heavier weapons.

  10. paddy

    Lifted straight from the comments section of The Guardian, because it sums up the position so well.
    [From IanCW
    The Governor-General is obliged to accept the recommendations (even the silly ones!) of the Prime Minister, regardless of her personal feelings on the matter. Whilst it would be pleasing to see a GG ‘stick it’ to Abbott, it also would’ve created a constitutional crisis.]

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