Smelling a rat

SQUIRREL!

The media is often likened to dogs with short attention spans which is why when Prime Minister Tony Abbott shocked the nation by announcing the return of knighthoods, many smelled a squirrel.

With that teeth-clenched grin of his failing to conceal his delight, Abbott successfully diverted the attention of the media and the nation away from his government’s wind back of racial discrimination laws.


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His decision, made without consulting Cabinet, may be as nutty as squirrel crap but it worked.

He did apparently consult Senator George Brandis – probably because the media had Brandis in a squirrel grip after he declared: ‘People do have a right to be bigots!’

Perhaps they had the announcement squirreled away for a stormy day.

The knighthood biz came as a particular shock because just a few months ago Abbott scoffed at the suggestion.

Australia used to have quite a few Knights but not so many Dames.

They included such illustrious names as Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Sir Terry Lewis and Sir Robert Askin.

Oh dear.

Labor PM Gough Whitlam canned knighthoods in 1975, Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser reinstated them a year later and Labor PM Bob Hawke axed them again in 1983.

Howard appeared to not give a rat’s ass and left it at that, reasoning the dignity of the honour was being damaged by all the to-ing and fro-ing.

So it will be rather ironic if he ends up securing a knighthood from his chief cheerleader – the current PM who decides who receives the honour.

The first two knighthoods will go to outgoing Governor-General Quentin Bryce and incoming Governor-General Peter Cosgrove as Abbott said they should be honoured for their extraordinary service.

Because a massive salary, multiple posh houses, servants, cars and parties just don’t cut it anymore? What a rat race.

But it was a particularly tricky move as Dame Q’s son-in-law is Opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Awkward.

Mr Shorten managed a mumbled: “I’m concerned the Abbott Government thinks this is a priority – what about jobs, health and education?”

Phew, Easter dinner saved.

Premier Campbell Newman backed the move and immediately started drawing up a list of ‘prominent’ Queenslanders to be knighted.

Uh oh.

 

 

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