Australia knighthood for Philip

Published: Monday 26th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The Duke of Edinburgh has been awarded a Knighthood by Australia.

The country’s prime minister Tony Abbott said the 93-year-old was being granted the honour for a long life of duty and service.

Mr Abbott said: ” This honour recognises the contribution of the Duke of Edinburgh to Australia throughout The Queen’s 62-year reign.

“Prince Philip’s long life of service and dedication should be honoured by Australia.

“For three quarters of a century, Prince Philip has served the Crown, and the wider Commonwealth.”

Mr Abbott cited Prince Philip’s Duke of Edinburgh award scheme as having helped thousands of young people in Australia for more than 50 years.

The Duke’s son the Prince of Wales was made a Knight of the Order of Australia in 1981.

The Duke last visited Australia in 2011, the year he turned 90.

He completed an 11-day official royal tour alongside the Queen, during which they visited Perth, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.

The Duke’s knighthood was announced alongside that of Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, for his military service and his involvement in the country’s response to the MH370 and MH17 air disasters last year.

Following a negative reaction from many on social media and among some of the country’s politicians to news of the Duke’s knighthood, Mr Abbott said he stands by the decision.

Asked by Australian broadcasters for his reaction to the backlash he said: “I’ll leave social media to its own devices. Social media is like electronic graffiti and I think that in the media you’d make a big mistake to pay too much attention to social media.

“In a sense it has about as much authority and credibility as graffiti that happens to be by means of IT.”

The announcement, on Australia Day, was met with online comments ranging in tone from disbelief to mockery.

One Twitter user wrote: “So proud. Australia knights Prince Philip. Who needs satire?” while another said: “Congratulations Prince Philip on your knighthood, and congratulations the Middle Ages on becoming a thing again!”

The leader of the country’s republican Labour party, Bill Shorten, said giving an Australian honour to a member of Britain’s Royal family creates “a time warp”.

“I think that on Australia Day, where we’re talking about Australia, Australian identity, the government’s managed to find a British royal to give a medal to, a knighthood to. I’ve just been at citizenship functions, local breakfasts – some people there wondered whether it was an Australia Day hoax,” he told Fairfax Media radio station 3AW.

Published: Monday 26th January 2015 by The News Editor

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