Order of Australia is facing more controversy over the decision to award Margaret Court the nation’s highest honour. Today Chris Bowen, Australia’s Shadow Minister for Health, asks for her nomination and “justification”.
Mr. Bowen’s remarks come among a wave of reaction after it announced the tennis great would be seen in the list of 2021 Australia Day honours despite the dispute over her opinions on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Today, Mr. Bowen said, “Margaret Court has already announced tennis achievements. I believe we would welcome seeing justification for her promotion to the Order of Australia given her tennis achievements have already been recognised.”
He said, “I strongly support respecting people’s religious views, and freedom of religion, but I would invite Ms Court to reflect on the fact that the ways she has expressed the views have not always been respectful to other Australians. Her views have made anguish, and great hurt for many Australians and I trust giving mutual respect to people’s sexuality. Respecting their choice is an essential part of being a modern Australian.”
Chris Bowen is the newest in a series of politicians with high-ranking that have denied Ms Court’s naming.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday, “I do not think Ms Court has the opinion that hurt with the vast majority of people across Australia, that see people specifically, people of the LGTBI community, as equally deserving of respect, safety, and dignity.”
“I do not guess she shares those beliefs, and I do not think she should be honoured because of that. I would favour not to be offering oxygen to any of these views,” she said.
On the other side, Ms Court has replied to the criticism and said, she is unfazed and to receive the award would be “a great honour”.
Ms Court said, “Since so many years, I have had so much criticism, but it does not affect me.”
She said, “I call criticising people blessed because I pray for them and my nation.”