So it turns out that recipients of Australia Day awards are notified in advance and consulted as to whether they will accept the award. This is done to avoid embarrassment to the Governor General and the government.
This year there has been a kerfuffle over Margaret Court receiving an AC – the highest ranked award. She already has an AO – hold that thought – and this is some sort of promotion. I had never heard of Margaret Court until the gay marriage debate a few years ago. I do not know if she has done more to deserve the promotion or not, but clearly others do. Beyond lefties going bananas (‘going’ you say?) over a conservative receiving an award on Invasion Day, it’s hard to get too excited over this award.
One thing, though, the story that Margaret Court had received another gong was leaked – I understand by a journalist – also in an effort to embarrass the government, not to mention the good Reverend herself. That person should be fired and the media organisation censured by the government.
Now … step up Kerry O’Brien. Former journalist with the ABC. Known for good reason as ‘Red’ Kerry. O’Brien had obviously already accepted the award – in full knowledge that Margaret Court already holds an AO. He wasn’t too proud then to accept the award, even with it being Invasion Day and all. But on Sunday, apparently, he wrote to the Governor-General now declining the award. About two days after the leak.
So what do we have? First he declined the award too late for his name to be withdrawn from the newspaper announcements.
But in time for his withdrawal to be news in and of itself. So O’Brien has managed to get himself into the news, and stick it up the government (and the Governor-General) one last time.
Now if the government were smart they would advise the Governor-General to refuse to accept the rejection and then strip him of the award. But, they are not smart.
In fact, if they were smart an award for O’Brien would never have been on the cards at all.
Can you imagine waking up on Australia Day under a future Shorten government and reading the news that Andrew Bolt or Paul Murray had won the Order of Australia for distinguished service to journalism and the media?
So why is it that Kerry O’Brien got one? This reflects very poorly on the government’s judgement. Now people will doubt make all sorts of excuses. Sinclair, you just don’t understand. The committee that makes the decisions is at arms-length from the government. This is an award that goes beyond partisan lines. There is more that unites us than divides us. Blah. Blah. Blah.
So let me repeat myself:
- Can you imagine waking up on Australia Day under a future Shorten government and reading the news that Andrew Bolt or Paul Murray had won the Order of Australia for distinguished service to journalism and the media?
- So why is it that Kerry O’Brien got one? This reflects very poorly on the government’s judgement.
Update: It turns out that Margaret Court’s AC puts her award on equal footing at Rod Laver’s award. So the greatest Australian male and female tennis players have a equal standing in the award stakes.