Dumped Aus­tralian PM ad­mits knight­ing Prince Philip was a mis­take

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Ousted Aus­tralian leader Tony Ab­bott con­ceded Thurs­day that his de­ci­sion to award Prince Philip a knight­hood, which sparked a huge public and po­lit­i­cal back­lash, was “in­ju­di­cious.”

Ab­bott — a Lon­don-born staunch monar­chist who lost his job as prime min­is­ter in a party coup two weeks ago — was heav­ily crit­i­cized for bring­ing back the knights and dames hon­ors list in March last year.

He faced fur­ther ridicule, in­clud­ing from MPs within his own con­ser­va­tive Lib­eral Party, when he de­cided in Jan­uary to award the Duke of Ed­in­burgh, hus­band of Aus­tralia’s Queen El­iz­a­beth II, the Or­der of Aus­tralia.

“Ob­vi­ously, it was an in­ju­di­cious ap­point­ment, ob­vi­ously,” Ab­bott told Mel­bourne ra­dio sta­tion 3AW.

“In­ter­est­ingly though, it prompted me to put all awards in the Or­der of Aus­tralia into the hands of the Coun­cil of the Or­der and that’s prob­a­bly what should have hap­pened from the be­gin­ning.”

He would not re­spond to a ques­tion on whether the Queen had asked for the honor to be awarded to her hus­band.

At that time, the knight­hood gaffe piled pres­sure on Ab­bott — who was al­ready slip­ping in the polls — and a month later he faced the first of two party-room ef­forts to top­ple him. Mal­colm Turnbull was suc­cess­ful in the sec­ond at­tempt in mid-Septem­ber.

In con­trast to Ab­bott, 60-year-old Turnbull is a vo­cal repub­li­can and is re­port­edly set to dump knights and dames from the hon­ors list.

The multi- mil­lion­aire for­mer bar­ris­ter and banker, who en­tered public life when he chaired the Aus­tralian Repub­li­can Move­ment dur­ing Aus­tralia’s failed 1999 ref­er­en­dum to re­move the Bri­tish monarch as head of state, is ex­pected to be sup­ported in cab­i­net with a pro­posal to re­move the royal ti­tles.

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