Flat White

Time to make our gongs truly Australian: the Great Bloke, the Grouse Sheila and more

26 January 2021

1:31 PM

26 January 2021

1:31 PM

Outstanding Australians are honoured at this time every year in recognition of their contribution to our country. The problem is that most Australians don’t understand the Australia Day Awards.

We are completely confused by what AOs, AMs, OAMs and ACs even mean.

And if Australians don’t know what AC or AO mean, then it’s unlikely the rest of the world will either.

But, with a little imagination, our honours system could be simplified for Australians and made the envy of the world.

Let’s begin with the first of the four awards we hand out every year, the Medal of the Order of Australia, or the OAM.

This could be replaced, for female recipients, by the “Top Chick” award, as in “She’s a top chick”, which means “she’s better than most chicks around here”.

Well obviously.

If she wasn’t better than most chicks around here, she wouldn’t be getting an award in the first place now would she?

See how much simpler this is already!

Male recipients could receive the “Great Bloke” award.


The Governor-General, David Hurley, would tell recipients, “We all reckon you’re a Great Bloke.” What could be more Australian than that?

What is currently known as the Member of the Order of Australia, or the AM, could be replaced by “Bloody Legend”, regardless of gender.

It should be immediately apparent that this solves the problem of how to introduce an award winner to an overseas audience.

Currently, we are forced to introduce an AM holder like this:

“Allow me to introduce former Socceroos captain Tim Cahill (AM). Let me explain. The AM means he is a Member of the Order of Australia which is a highly prestigious award we issue in our country for service in a particular locality or field of activity.”

It’s clumsy. And worse, it’s boring.

How much better is this: “Allow me to introduce former Socceroos captain Tim Cahill. He’s a Bloody Legend!!!!”

It’s simple. It’s elegant. It requires no explanation.

And it would make us the envy of the world. What English Dame wouldn’t prefer to be a Bloody Legend?

And you cannot tell me that Sir Mick Jagger wouldn’t prefer to be Mick Jagger the Bloody Legend.

Our second highest honor is currently known as Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and is given only for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large.

Now if you’re that good, you deserve a title with more spunk than the rather officious Officer of the Order of Australia. Yawn.

The award should be changed to “Grouse Sheila”, for the ladies, and “Awesome Guy” for the men.

You tell me what sounds more natural. “Gai Waterhouse trains racehorses and that makes her an Officer of the Order of Australia” or “Gai Waterhouse trains racehorses and that makes her a Grouse Sheila”?

It’s no contest.

And hardly anyone knows that Keith Urban is an Officer of the Order of Australia. But everyone knows he’s an Awesome Guy. I mean, he plays guitar and is married to Nicole Kidman!

See, these are only suggestions but they’re already working.

And finally we come to our nation’s highest honor, the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC). These people the best of the best. So why not just call them “Absolute Rippers”.

Margaret Court? She won 24 Grand Slam singles titles and now, as a 78-year-old, feeds and clothes more than 500 Australians every week through her church charity. She’s an Absolute Ripper!

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.


Show comments
Close