Australian PM criticised for knighting Duke of Edinburgh

 Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has come under harsh criticism after granting Australian knighthood to the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, Consort of Queen Elizabeth II, one of the highest awards in Australia, media reported Monday.

IANS| Last Updated: Jan 26, 2015, 16:28 PM IST

Sydney: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has come under harsh criticism after granting Australian knighthood to the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, Consort of Queen Elizabeth II, one of the highest awards in Australia, media reported Monday.

Abbott decorated the Duke of Edinburgh because "the monarchy has been an important part of Australia`s life since 1788", when British ships reached Australian shores for the first time.

Abbott said he was pleased that Queen Elizabeth II, the head of state of Australia, has accepted the designations of Prince Philip and the former chief of the Australian Armed Forces, Angus Houston, as being recognised this year.

Once the decision was made public, criticism appeared on social network sites describing the decision as "idiotic, irrelevant and a massive waste of the money raised from taxes" or a "joke at the expense of Australians" since the knighthood title has been bestowed on someone who was already an aristocrat.

"Ha, ha, ha, ha. He has a great interest in Australia", "The world is crazy" or "Seven years ago we apologised to indigenous Australians and today we knighted Prince Philip. What happened?" read numerous comments posted on Twitter referring to the national apology made to the aborigines for abuses committed against them.

Abbott shrugged off the criticism, saying that "Social media is like electronic graffiti", and generally very abusive, according to the news network ABC.

"I think that in the media, you make a big mistake to pay too much attention to social media. You wouldn`t report what`s sprayed up on the walls of buildings and look, as I said, social media has its place, but it`s anonymous," said Abbott.