Symbolic symbols


from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger


Abbott.speedoIn another one of his twisted brain storms the Prime Minister Abbott decided to restore the honour titles, abolished by PM Hawke. Now everybody can again aspire to became, at the grace of our most merciful, fair and incorruptible Government, a Knight or a Dame, or possibly both. Whether this was the outcome of too many royal sherries, too much of “Downtown Abbey” or “Yes, Prime Minister”, we will probably never know. But a sensible decision it ain’t. One has to wonder with whom he associates in his quality time; it would be unlikely his rural fire-fighting mates or surf life savers.


 A brief history of the Commonwealth/Federal awards system for our overseas readers: Until socialist Whitlam got to power in 1972, Australia’s worthies were recipients of the British honours, upon the advice of the Australian government, of course. Whitlam abolished that (i.e. giving recommendations) in 1975 and established the Order of Australia awards. The semi-conservative Government of Malcolm Fraser (himself a crypto-socialist) did not go back to the Imperial system; though it could still advise the Queen to add the titles to the highest class of AO. If she liked the advice you could then be the Knight (Dame) of the Order of Australia. As the electoral pendulum swung, and the socialist Australia Labor Party ruled the roost for a while, in 1983 under PM Hawke ceased making such recommendations and thus got rid of those AK and AD aggrandizations.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II can still bestow Imperial honours of her own volition, without any recommendation from politicians, if it pleases her. Think of it. You could be a Knight (Dame) of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, established 1348, the motto of which is Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense (Shame on him who thinks evil upon it). Three Australians have been admitted to this one, but it is perhaps needless to say I would hardly qualify.

law.caricatureIn the last decade of the last century, the State governments, mostly, but not exclusively Labor, abolished the title Queen’s Counsel for distinguished barristers, and replaced it with a Senior Counsel. Perhaps they overestimated the strength of the republican sentiment. Only Northern Territory kept its QCs. Last year the Queensland Liberal National Government reversed that; and last month the Liberal Victorian government followed the suit. I am all for traditions but not so much for archaic pomposity designed to impress plebs, and this reminds me of the debates sometime ago about barristers’ wigs. In the times long past, all gentlemen wore wigs; and all barristers were gentlemen, who represented people in the courts. It was beneath their dignity to accept any remuneration for their efforts. Times have changed for the worse; now a wig is a way of showing hoi polloi its wearer can read and write; and is ready to charge. Made out of horsehair, costing about $1000, they perform a duty similar to the original – covering an arse-hole, as the unkind jibe has it.

This back to the ‘good old times’ trend makes me uneasy. The parties of moderate Right, Liberals and Nationals, and the conservative commentators, accuse, rightly, the Labor as a party of seeming, not doing; but the LibNats are revealing themselves as parties of seeming, not being.

Is perhaps Tony Abbott trying to hide his, totally unnecessary political compromises under a wig of ‘retro’ announcements? Is he wearing his deep insecurity on his sleeve as a medial camouflage or is he, as I suspect, deeply insecure? Is he trying to welsh on his conservative voters?

Symbolic changes will not do. At the ballot box not knights, but pawns will decide.



About Antisthenes

A Greek philosopher, a pupil of Socrates. Led a revolt, with Diogenes, against the demands of the city-state and the sophistication of life. Accepted the interrelation of knowledge, virtue, and happiness; and sought the ideal condition for happiness in return to primitivism and self-sufficiency. Rejected all social distinctions as based on convention, scorned orthodox religion as a fabrication of lies, and studied early legends and animal life in order to arrive at a true understanding of natural law. The individual was free and self-sufficient when he was master of his passions, secure in his intelligence, impervious to social or religious demands, and satisfied with the poverty of a mendicant. Needless to say, a person who on the Fog of Chaos adopted the Athenian philosopher's name has nothing whatsoever in common with him.
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13 Responses to Symbolic symbols

  1. Don Trigg says:

    At least something.

  2. Ronald Serus says:

    Is it likely that Abbott is doing what has to be done by stealth?

  3. Globo says:

    Mark Steyn : ~Turning to Her Majesty’s Dominions, I’m a great believer in comparatively minor changes that, whatever their merits in and of themselves, annoy all the people worth annoying. Stephen Harper’s ministry in Ottawa accomplished this a few years ago when it restored the names of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army, under which illustrious commands Canadians had stormed Juno Beach, maintained the world’s third largest surface fleet, and produced a best-selling exercise book long before Jane Fonda or Victoria Principal. In one of his greatest acts of vandalism on Canada’s inheritance, Pierre Trudeau abolished these names. Mr Harper brought them back, to the joy of Canadian servicemen and a great gnashing of teeth from CBC and Globe & Mail editorialists.

    Down Under, the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force et al never went away, as you’ll know if you’re watching Flight 370 recovery coverage. But one or two other things got dropped under recent Labor ministries. Today Tony Abbott, the Aussie Prime Minister, restored the ranks of knight and dame to the Order of Australia, and announced a damehood for the outgoing Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, and a knighthood for the incoming one, General Peter Cosgrove. The sour chippiness of the republican jackals at the press conference is a joy to read, especially the question about the “retrograde step” of “reintroducing gender into these titles”. (Bonus Guardian headline: “Tony Abbott’s Knights Take Us Back To The Dark Ages”.)

  4. Taurus says:

    “Former Liberal prime minister John Howard does not agree with Tony Abbott’s decision to reinstitute knights and dames into the Australian honours system, saying he stands by his long-held view that such a move would be considered “somewhat anachronistic”, even by conservatives.

    Mr Howard indicated that because of his views, and the fact that he never entered politics to receive honours, it was unlikely he would accept a knighthood should one ever be offered.”

  5. Mild Mind says:

    It’s the best time to make a few plans for the future and it is time to be happy.

  6. mujera soltera says:

    They hide, cheat, steal … socialist!

  7. Grapes soure says:

    Some of us can see through it.

  8. Mac Pollard says:

    Abbott is loosing it, if he ever had IT.

  9. mac the fork says:

    Nothing else caan be expected from that lot.

  10. Mull Over says:

    Skull&crossbones are less frightening than hammer&sickle.

  11. Yves Montero says:

    Well done!

  12. Saucerony says:

    a cute panda is now a symbol of thieves

  13. monte karol says:

    Life is an ugly bitch, and people make it worse.

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