Australia drops knights and dames

Australia does away with knights and dames
Australia does away with knights and dames

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Australia does away with knights and dames 01:33

Story highlights

  • Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says they're outdated
  • The honorifics were revived by ousted former PM Tony Abbott last year
  • Abbott was criticized for giving one of the first to the Queen's husband, Prince Philip

(CNN)Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the country will no longer appoint knights and dames, calling the titles anachronistic.

The cabinet "agreed that knights and dames are not appropriate in our modern honors system," a statement from the government said on Monday.
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    "Her Majesty The Queen has agreed to the government's recommendation to remove knights and dames from the Order of Australia."
    The change will not affect those already bestowed with either title.
    This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Order of Australia, an honors system recognizing individuals for achievement or service to Australia.
    As Lynda Kinkade explains, the titles were brought back by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott last year, 28 years after they were retired under the leadership of Bob Hawke's Labor government.
    In January, Abbott bestowed a title on Prince Philip, one of five that were awarded during the honors' brief return. The move was highly unpopular -- the public dubbed it a "Knightmare" and complained the award should have gone to an Australian, especially seeing as Queen Elizabeth II's husband already holds over 70 titles.

    Move towards a republic?

    The decision reflects Turnbull's stance as a resolute republican, sparking decades-old discussion over Australia's status as a constitutional monarchy.
    While Abbott is a staunch monarchist, Turnbull, who took power in September, served as chairman of the Australian Republican Movement from 1993 to 2000 and also led a 1999 referendum campaign to abandon the current system that sees the queen as its figurehead.

    Abbott's predecessor Julia Gillard was also in favor of Australia moving towards a republic, saying that the retirement of Queen Elizabeth II would be a fitting transition point.