PM has power to bestow honours on non-Australians

The non-Australian honorary knights and dames will be in addition to the maximum of four Australian knights and dames that can be appointed in any one year.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Knights and dames: PM has power to bestow honours on non-Australians” was written by Lenore Taylor, political editor, for theguardian.com on Thursday 17th April 2014 06.02 UTC

A formal document signed by the Queen to reinstate Australian knights and dames has been published in the commonwealth Gazette and reveals the prime minister will also have the power to confer honorary knighthoods and dameships on non-Australian citizens.

“Know you that We do, by these Presents, declare Our pleasure that the Letters Patent dated 14 February 1975, as subsequently amended by Our Letters Patent, be further amended,” states the document, which says it was “given under the Great Seal of Australia at Our Court at St James’s on 19 March 2014” with the original signed “Tony Abbott” by Her Majesty’s Command.

Among the specific amendments to the constitution of the Order of Australia to implement the prime minister’s shock unilateral decision last month to reinstate knights and dames is one proclaiming that “a distinguished person who is not an Australian citizen may be appointed as an honorary Knight or Dame in the General Division where it is desirable that the person be honoured by Australia”.

The non-Australian honorary knights and dames will be in addition to the maximum of four Australian knights and dames that can be appointed in any one year.

The amendments also make clear that the selection process for other Australian honours, allowing “any person or organisation” to nominate someone for consideration, do not apply to the new knights and dames.

Appointments of knights and dames, it says, “shall be made, with the approval of the Sovereign on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, by Instrument signed by the Governor-General”.

The existing Australian honours system also allows honorary awards to be made to non-citizens. Honorary companions of the Order of Australia include the former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, the Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, the late Nelson Mandela and the former Timorese president Jose Ramos Horta.

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