ABC TV – 27 January 2015

QUESTION:

(Inaudible)…the Prime Minister have over his awarding of the knighthood to Prince Philip?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Well it’s quite clear that there is provision in the legislation for knighthoods and there’s precedent in many countries around the world to give honorary knighthoods or equivalent to people from other countries; New Zealand, Papua New Guinea in our area both given recognition to Prince Philip in this regard so it’s quite appropriate for someone who has spent six decades of his life in public service for the Commonwealth and included in that the people of Australia.

QUESTION:

Some people say that he’s just been doing his job and he’s been well paid for it.

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Well I can’t think of anyone apart from the Queen herself who has spent six decades in public life, for somebody who’s spent almost 25 years in public life I know the burdens involved, he is a man in his 90s that’s been doing that. I think this is a small recognition for someone who has done a great deal for the Commonwealth and through that for Australia.

QUESTION:

Should the highest award be going to an Australian though?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Well we are giving the highest awards to Australians as well so Angus Houston, the latest Australian recipient has done a fine job in many guises for the people of Australia, as does Sir Peter Cosgrove, Dame Quentin Bryce and others. So I think this is quite appropriate, I mean how else can we recognise someone like Prince Philip in Australia. This is an internationally accepted way of doing it and I think we should be generous about what he’s done for us.

QUESTION:

There has been quite a bit of criticism from Coalition Members of Parliament, do you think this will um, have they actually contacted you?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

I’ve had no contact at all, I was at an Australian Day ceremony in my electorate yesterday with probably five or six hundred people and not one person mentioned it, I think this is a bit of a storm in a teacup.

QUESTION:

Has anyone um brought up the issue of leadership?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Not at all the Prime Minister is doing a fabulous job in very difficult circumstances given the Senate. He will lead us to the next election and I’m confident that we’ll also win. .