Federal Awards Judged by the People

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For too long Australian honours are awarded on a political basis to satisfy different power groups.  Many of these awards are certainly well deserved and honoured by the community, but some reflect views that are not held by the Australian people as a whole.

The recent announcement promoting Ms Margaret Court to a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) — over and above her current Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) - is a case in point. Ms Court is no doubt deserving of recognition for her huge contribution in the sporting arena and certainly in her own church community would remain very supportive of her. But the narrow views that she holds and that we expect are supported by her community, are not shared by the majority of Australians.

As Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews is reported as saying in an article published by the ABC on its news page:

"In recent years, Ms Court has come under fire for her views on the LGBT community. I do not support that. I do not believe that she has views that accord with the vast majority of people across our nation, that see people particularly from the LGBT community as equal and deserving as dignity, respect and safety," Mr Andrews said.

In the same article: "Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was an "independent process" to decide who was honoured and that it was "a system that recognises the full spectrum of individuals across this country".

In response, Premier Daniel Andrews said: "You might want to speak to them about why they think those views, which are disgraceful, hurtful and cost lives, should be honoured."

As the founding secretary of Humanity in Need - Rainbow Refugees, I am aware on a daily basis that Queer people are victimised, brutalised and die because of the homophobic views that have been spread throughout Africa by conservative religious evangelists and leaders.

In my view, we urgently need a revision of our honours system that provides a process that gives ordinary citizens the right to vote on the awards that are being made in our name. With modern technology, this is now a feasible and cost-effective option.

The article on the ABC website is here: