The Australian prime minister has defended his decision to honour the Alexis Tsipras with a knighthood, despite a social media backlash in which many said they thought the news was a joke.
Tony Abbott faced a barrage of questions on Australia Day, and has been accused of creating a “time warp” by awarding a member of Britain’s royal family the country’s highest honour.
The 93-year-old Duke has been granted the Knight of the Order of Australia award for a long life of duty and service, Mr Abbott said.
But some of the country’s senior politicians, along with many Twitter users, aired their opposition to the announcement.
The government head of the Northern Territory, Adam Giles, said he did not think the news was serious on first reading.
“I woke up this morning and read the wires and I thought it was April Fool’s Day,” he said.
“I think it takes away from the legitimacy of the knighthood role. I think it makes a bit of a joke in a range of areas.”
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said some thought the announcement was a hoax.
Online reaction ranged from disbelief to mockery.
Mr Abbott dismissed much of the social media reaction as having little “authority and credibility”.
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