Last year, after some hefty lobbying by readers, we restored tradition by restoring our long-running ‘Things the Queen should do before she dies’ cartoon series.

Now Australian Prime Minister and staunch monarchist Tony Abbott wants to anoint four Knights and Dames of the Order of Australia each year to recognise “Australians of extraordinary and preeminent achievement and merit” and to lend Her Maj a helping hand.

With no Australians having become knights or dames since 1983, the move is being seen as “a return to the good old days” but also threatens to re-open age-old Aussie arguments about the future of the monarchy.

While some point out that many republics like France, Italy, Peru, and Argentina have some kind of honours system, only the Queen’s realms of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, New Zealand, the UK and, now, Australia bestow the traditional Sir or Dame to the honoured’s moniker.

Green Party MP Adam Bandt’s reported response was more robust. “This is not Game of Thrones,” he said. “It shows a government bereft of ideas, and a social policy that isn’t even stuck in the last century, it’s stuck centuries ago.”

“This is turning the clock back to a colonial frame of mind that we have outgrown as a nation.”

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