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.

Peter Fray

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