honours system

Drive-in movie shows ‘Marty McFly’ from Back to the Future

Mr Abbott has been dubbed ‘Marty McFly’ for his decision to reinstitute the titles of knights and dames in Australia

By Jamie Smyth

“Welcome to Abbott’s bunyip aristocracy”, screamed the headline on the front page of Wednesday’s Sydney Morning Herald.

This was the newspaper’s satirical take on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s surprise decision to reintroduce an honours system Down Under based on the regal titles of knights and dames.

Twitter provided a stream of satirical comments, while the Sydney Morning Herald’s reference to the “bunyip aristocracy” invoked the mythological aboriginal devil creature that was used to ridicule conservatives’ 19th century attempts to develop an aristocracy.

Outgoing Governor General Quentin Bryce and her successor Peter Cosgrove – who takes over as Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Australia on Friday – will be the first to receive the titles. As many as four new awards will be recommended by the prime minister and approved by the Queen each year, with the governor general occupying the position of “principle knight or dame in the Order of Australia”. Read more