Monday, 31 March 2014

The myth of egalitarianism runs through the media and party offices

There has been much consternation and even mirth in the media over the decision of the Federal Government to restore Knights and Dames to the Order of Australia.

The deliberate inference in the media that these are “Imperial awards” ignoring the fact these awards are for Australians and decided by Australians is crass and inexcusable.

But at its heart perhaps the commentators and media are saying no modern Australian is capable of matching the achievements in the arts, jurisprudence, science, exploration, sports etc as some great and exceptional Australians of the past.

Lord Florey
Sir John Monash
Sir Sydney Nolan
Dame Joan Sutherland
Dame Joan Hammond
Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith
Sir Robert Helpman

Perhaps they are saying that current or future Australians cannot be as talented as:

Sir Mick Jagger
Sir Paul McCartney
Dame Judy Dench
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

At its heart the opposition to knighthoods is part of the myth of egalitarianism that runs through Australian culture. A myth that like all myths has an element of truth but in reality is ultimately just a myth. Australia is and has always been a classless society in name only.

Opposition to knighthoods is part of the longstanding republicanism within the Labor Party, born out of Irish nationalism of a century ago as much as any innate Australian republicanism.


Npinkpanther said...

I might add Sir Donald Bradman, another Australian national legend who was knighted.

By the reaction of the Murdoch-Fairfax press, you'd think the people had been rattling the gates of Parliament pre 1984 baying for Don Bradman and other national treasures to be stripped of their knighthoods...

Completely hysterical, as usual.

Sinesurfer said...

Republicans claim that respect is earned and not bestowed for which they are correct. They fail to recognise that knighthoods are about recognition of achievement and not respect (although respect certainly follows achievement). In absolutely all cases of a knighthood the achievement precedes the recognition and respect.

This limited view ignores Australian history of recognising excellence and achievement with the appellation of "Sir" and "Dame".