775,000 Young Australians Helped by the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

775,000 Young Australians Helped by the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

Tony Abbott Was Right to Nominate the Duke for Australia’s Highest Honour.

The recent visit of HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO to Australia from the 12th to the 17th September, 2019 passed by without much fanfare. The Prince was in Australia as Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Award which fell on September 10th.

During his time in Australia, Prince Edward formally recognised and thanked the 60,000 Award volunteers in Australia.

During his tour, Prince Edward visited Award Centres in Wollongong, Alice Springs and Darwin and met with Award participants from a range of diverse backgrounds. He also attended the largest Gold Award Ceremony ever held outside of the UK, at Sydney Town Hall, where he presented nearly 400 Gold Awards to young Australians.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award was founded by Prince Philip in 1956, to help young people to develop skills for life and work. Since its establishment in Australia, it has helped 775,000 young Australians including over 5000 disadvantaged young Australians to achieve their Award. These covered at-risk youth, those with disabilities, Indigenous youth, refugees, those on low incomes and those from rural or remote communities.

So, the former prime minister Tony Abbott was quite right in nominating the Duke of Edinburgh for the then highest award of knight within the Order of Australia. The problem lay with the suddenness of the announcement and that the media had not received an information package on the immense debt that Australia owes to him, not only with the Duke of Edinburgh Award but also in regard to his work with so many organisations and charities which, like the World Wildlife Fund, have achieved a huge amount in this country. Furthermore, hardly anyone knew that His Royal Highness is Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal Australian Navy, Field Marshal of the Australian Army and Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force and has held those positions since 1954.

Above all, he has been by the Queen’s side throughout the 67 years of Her Majesty’s reign. For that alone he deserved to be recognised and honoured with Australia’s highest award. So, let us all commend, rather than criticise, Tony Abbott for his nomination.

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