The George Cross (G.C.)
I've already broken the news about how knights and dames are once again part of the Order of Australia, and this is big, exciting stuff for those traditionally-minded. The Prime Minister's been under attack for the decision though, and I expect the weekend papers full of backgrounding against this by anonymous Liberal republican colleagues who were unhappy about the threshold question, and about not being consulted.
But one other story relating to honours has broken this week - and it's received surprisingly little attention.
Prime Minister Abbott is now open to the idea of the George Cross, and senior traditional military awards, such as the DSO, DSC, MC, DFC and AFC making a return to the Australian honours system.
Decorations of Maj. Edward Mannock VC DSO** MC*The argument goes that Defence Force personnel are unhappy with the current array of Australian-only military decorations that were developed during the 1980s and 1990s and that they lack recognition compared to the older awards. The Cross of Valour, although a handsome and elegant golden decoration, has never gained the same community recognition and stature of the George Cross it replaced since its creation in 1975.
I have no brief on this issue, but it does seem that ADF personnel are attracted to the idea of eligibility for the awards their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers were eligible for. If so, perhaps a way for them to be awarded through Australian ministerial advice, rather than UK ministerial advice, should be found. For example, presumably the DFC would technically be the DFC "for Australia" but in every other way be identical to the UK version, such as insignia, criteria, etc. I'm not really an expert in this space but I imagine that is how it would work.
I've not seen much debate about this - but if the idea works for the VC, then presumably DFC would too.
There was considerable unhappiness when the Australian gallantry and service decorations were sumperimposed in the wrong places on the order of precedence and wear in the early nineties, and this proposal will presumably try to right those wrongs. The ranking of the Public Service Medal over the Distinguished Conduct Medal - considered a near-miss for the Victoria Cross amongst other ranks - particularly rankled. It is interesting that those things are apparently still keenly felt now.
Again - let's watch this space.