Australian PM defends Prince Philip knighthood
Australia’s Prime Minister has defended his decision to bestow a knighthood on Britain’s Prince Philip.
Tony Abbott was greeted with criticism and ridicule on Monday (26.01.15) when he announced the 93-year-old royal would be appointed to the ranks of the Order of Australia, but he insists he is taking the controversy “on the chin”.
He said: “I stand by the decision.
“I understand why some people do not like it. I respect their right to be critical. I take it on the chin.”
However, the politician suggested he had learned from the backlash and will undertake “considerably more consultation” before awarding any more honours.
He added: “I do want to assure people I have heard and there will be considerably more consultation around these awards in the future.
“Obviously there are some lessons in these things and the lesson that I learn is there does need to be wider consultation about these sorts of awards in the future.”
The prime minister said he had consulted only with the chairman of council of the Order of Australia and the governor-general, Queen Elizabeth’s representative in the country.
He added: “I did what I thought was appropriate.”
Treasurer Joe Hockey, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann have previously made it clear they had nothing to do with the decision.
Mr. Abbott said: “This is my call and I’m happy to take these things on the chin. I accept that this has been a distraction for the government over the last couple of days.”