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Australians Joust over Knights and Dames Revival

When monarchist Tony Abbott became Australia’s Prime Minister in September 2013, he promised no surprises. However, he seems to have ambushed friend and foe alike with his reinstatement of knights and dames as part of the honours system.

Twitter faced meltdown, down under, on 25 March 2013. The #auspol Tweetdeck feed was moving so fast that it was impossible to read. Not only were the hashtags #KnightsandDames and #Dames trending in Australia for hours after the announcement, but #KnightsandDames and Australia also hit the Worldwide top ten.

Knights and Dames twitter trends 25 March 2013

Knights and Dames twitter trends 25 March 2013


Many of the responses were satirical, with the inevitable medieval political jousting:

Some see it as a nostalgia trip:

Supporters of the PM are also looking to our past:

Images have also been popular:

A Rational Fear featured a series of photos of well-known Aussies in its tumblr post ARISE: Which Knight of Abbott’s round table are you? Each has a suitable punny name such as Sir Cumference for the portly Clive Palmer, Sir Mon for Cardinal George Pell and Sir Loin for the Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce - Sir Loin Image: Tumblr - A Rational Fear

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce – Sir Loin Image: Tumblr – A Rational Fear


Even politicians have joined the visual lampooning. Opposition parliamentarian Tony Burke is ready for combat on his Facebook page:
Tony Burke

Tony Burke ready for combat – Facebook photos

References to Monty Python’s movie The Holy Grail have been popular:

Former PM John Howard, a close political ally of Tony Abbott, is on everyone’s shortlist for a tap of the sword:

At this stage there will only be four members of the #KnightsandDames. If comedian Barry Humphries gets the nod, Australia could have two for the price of one:

This comment was inevitable, given the date:

  • Kevin_Rennie

    PS It is hard to recognise friend and foe alike on Australian social media as many users have added a title or made other changes to their names to fit in with the new order. I now have friends called Countess and Earl as well as Sir and Dame. There is nothing like a dame!

    • Michael Tucker

      Such a simple mockery that so many in Oz have adopted. I have a friend who has changed their avatar name to “Lord Reverend _____—___” along with several sirs and lady’s.
      Is this what Australian politics has come to?
      An Australian Prime Minister who doesn’t consult with it’s constituents?
      Perhaps this should have been something considered in a referendum, not an executive order. Sir Tony is against becoming a republic, yet he acts like he is Australia’s first President.

      • Kevin_Rennie

        It seems to be a classic case of self-parody and hubris by Abbott, making for a satirists’ picnic.

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