â€¢ COMMENT ON PM ANNOUNCEMENT (see below):
A knighthood is an ancient title of chivalry and there are two traditional ways to acquire one: as a gift or for a fee.
Originally starting as Christian military orders during the crusades 900 years ago, titles of chivalry have now evolved into personal properties that can be given by a prince or a pope, or a parent as an hereditary asset.
Traditionally, titles have also been fund-raising opportunities for princes and popes and could therefore be purchased for a fee for a significant donation to the church, to a monarch or, more controversially, to the conservative political party.
Because of this dodgy practise the Labor Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, put an end to titles of chivalry in Australia some decades ago.
Now the new conservative Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has created a fresh regime for awarding titles in Australia: only as a gift and only 4 a year.
This means that BIG donations to the conservative party will no longer be a self-serving way for acquiring a title of chivalry in Australia. Is it now possible that Cardinal Pell might do the same in The Vatican and follow the excellent example of Tony Abbott?