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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3204

Mr HUSIC ( Chifley ) ( 13:55 ): In the same year that knighthoods were abolished in Australia, the UK band the Thompson Twins had a hit called King for a Day . So I dedicate my 90-second statement to the Prime Minister's announcement to bring back knights and dames and in turn transform this place from 'Club Fed' to 'Club Retro'.

Since the heartbeats of those opposite have bolted off the chart at the prospect of popping a peerage, I thought I would come up with some candidates. Firstly, the Treasurer, who gives money to a chocolate factory to promote tourism while refusing to support the national carrier which actually flies the tourists here, is probably in line for a knighthood. The other possible nominee is the person who heads up one of the biggest portfolios in government but is rarely seen—a knighthood for the Minister for Defence perhaps. We might not have our own stealth fighters, but we sure have our own invisible defence minister! Next is the member for Wentworth. As Minister for Communications, the soon to be named 'Earl of Wentworth' has rolled out more gigs to consultants than he has optic fibre. But, if getting him a knighthood prompts monarchists across the country to drop into a foetal position clutching a portrait of the Queen, it will be worth it.

You may notice I haven't recommended anyone as a dame. Since the Afghan cabinet has more women in it than Australia's cabinet, you can appreciate the challenge confronting me. However, an honourable mention has to go to the Assistant Minister for Health, who has a website providing information on healthy eating which was pulled down by a former lobbyist for junk food. That has to deserve a mention.

The final honour goes to someone who has spectacularly advanced the cause of republicanism in this country: Prime Minister Abbott. I would like to table my speech printed on the back of an Australian Republican Movement nomination form.

Leave not granted.