Australia opts out of British honours system

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The Independent Online
Canberra (Reuter) - Federal and state governments will no longer recommend citizens for imperial honours, leaving only the Australian honours system as a way of recognising outstanding contributors to society. Paul Keating, the Prime Minister, said the Queen had indicated she believed it was appropriate for Australian citizens to be recognised by the Australian honours system. All state premiers were consulted on the issue.

The arrangement formalises changes introduced by the government of Gough Whitlam in 1975 when it established the Order of Australia as an alternative to honours from the former colonial ruler. Most governments have since adhered to the Australian system, although administrations in Queensland and Tasmania continued to recommend Australians for knighthoods.

The only way for an Australian to be knighted now is if the Queen decides to make an award within her own personal order - an honour that is also available to non-Commonwealth citizens.