Monday, 26 January 2015

Australia Day: Sir Angus Houston and Prince Philip awarded Knight of the Order of Australia

Her Majesty The Queen of Australia has accepted the Prime Minister's recommendation that His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC (Mil) AFC (Retd) be awarded Australia’s highest honour as Knights of the Order of Australia.

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
This honour recognises the contribution of the Duke of Edinburgh to Australia throughout The Queen’s sixty two 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. He served originally as an officer in the Royal Navy and then as a member of the Royal family.

In this official portrait HRH Prince Philip is wearing the uniform of the Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force.
He has served Australia with distinction and is patron of over 800 organisations. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Australia has supported the development of young Australians for more than fifty years. The Award has positively influenced the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Australians. There are currently 23,000 young Australians undertaking the Award.

During Australia’s Bicentenary, Prince Philip was appointed a Companion in the Military Division of the Order of Australia for “service to the Australian Defence Force as Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Australian Navy, Field Marshal in the Australian Army and Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force”.

The Duke of Edinburgh joins The Prince of Wales who was appointed a Knight of the Order of Australia in 1981.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK AC (Mil) AFC (Retd)
This honour recognises Air Chief Marshal Houston’s extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to Australia over many years. Sir Angus served in the armed forces for over forty years rising to become Chief of Air Force in 2001 and Chief of the Defence Force in 2005.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2003 and made a Companion of the Order of Australia (Military Division) in 2008. Since Sir Angus retired from the military in 2011, he has continued to serve in significant leadership roles including Chairman of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board, Chairman of Airservices Australia and Chairman of the Council for the Order of Australia.

In the difficult hours after the loss of MH 370 and the loss of MH 17, Australia turned to Sir Angus to lead our response. He headed the Joint Agency Coordination Centre during the search for Flight MH 370 and he was my Special Envoy to Ukraine leading efforts to recover, identify and repatriate Australians killed on Flight MH 17.

Successive governments have relied on Sir Angus’ wisdom, judgment and character. Throughout his life, Sir Angus has put Australia first.

Minor republican grumble on Australia Day
Unlike previous Australia Day holidays, this year saw only little mumbles of republicansm. The Leader of the opposition, William Shorten, held a speech to mark the launch of a new book to re-establish his republican credentials: "Let us rally behind an Australian republic – a model that truly speaks for who we are: our modern identity, our place in our region and our world." In a subsequent press conference, Mr Shorten said that while he was not yet pushing for a second referendum, because the opinion polls clearly indicate that the number of republicans is declining and Mr. Shorten avoided any indication on what kind of republic he wants to replace the successful Australian Monarchy.

The Age hid Mr Shorten's speech on page 6 and referred to it in its Australia Day editorial without great optimism:
Australians show little inclination to revisit the debate about ties to the monarchy. ...
The Age supports the goal to appoint an Australian head of state, to reflect the country's confident and independent identity in what has been termed the Asian century. But Australians will only support a republic when the model of presidential system is settled and community leaders demonstrate a willingness to advocate for the cause. 
 Happy Australia Day! And long live the Queen of Australia!

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