'Disgraceful': Outrage over Margaret Court's Australia Day honour

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Daniel Andrews and Margaret Court, pictured here in Melbourne.
Daniel Andrews has slammed the decision to honour Margaret Court. Image: Getty

Daniel Andrews has slammed the decision to award Margaret Court the country’s highest honour on Australia Day.

Aussie tennis great Court is set to be promoted to a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), one honour higher than her current Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and the highest in the country.

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Melbourne journalist Justin Smith revealed the news on Friday, saying: “Court’s extreme views on same-sex and trandgender people have been well reported.

“I think they’ve been an international embarrassment and belong in a very different era.”

When asked about the decision on Friday, Victorian Premier Andrews lashed out.

“I do not support that,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

“I do not believe that she has views that accord with the vast majority of people across our nation, that see people particularly from the LGBTIQ community as equal and deserving as dignity, respect and safety.

“I don’t believe she shares those views and I don’t believe she should be honoured because of that.”

Court has caused outrage in recent years with her controversial views on the LGBTI community and same-sex marriage.

The Victorian Premier described Court’s views as “hateful” and said he was “sick of talking about that person every summer”.

“But I don’t give out those gongs, that's not a matter for me, that's for others,” he said.

“You might want to speak to them about why they think those views, which are disgraceful, hurtful and cost lives, should be honoured.”

The AC is given to Aussies for “eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large”.

Court won 24 grand slam singles titles across her illustrious tennis career and became the first female Australian player to win Wimbledon in 1963.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said compilation of the Honours List is an independent process.

“This is a completely independent set of processes. It is an announcement that will be announced on that day,” he said.

“It is a system that recognises the full spectrum of individuals across this country. I can't comment on that.”

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Court has already been awarded for her tennis prowess.

"It's clear for everyone to see that making her a Companion of the Order of Australia has nothing to do with tennis," he tweeted.

Margaret Court, pictured here being honoured at the Australian Open in 2020.
Margaret Court was honoured at the Australian Open in 2020. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Margaret Court creating headlines for wrong reasons

When asked whether Melbourne Park should rename Margaret Court Arena, Mr Andrews said that was a “matter for others”.

However he made his stance on the controversial tennis figure very clear.

“I think calling out bigotry is always important. I don’t seek to quarrel with people but I’m asked a question and I’ve answered it,” he said.

“I’m not going to stand here for politeness sake and not live my values. My values say those attitudes and the position of my government, and I think the vast majority of Victorians, they do not support that kind of hateful approach.

“They want to see us unified, they want to see us respected and respectful and they want to see people able to live safely. No one has the right to take that away from anybody else. And these views do that. They absolutely do.

“And this will come as no surprise to her, or to anyone else. Or it shouldn’t. This has been my view, every day of my public life. Every day of my life.

“Do we really have to do this every single summer? But apparently we do.”

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In 2017 Court wrote an open letter declaring she would boycott Qantas if the airline continued to support same-sex marriage.

In 2013 she wrote another letter expressing her sadness over the birth of Aussie player Casey Dellacqua's child in a same-sex relationship.

“It is with sadness that I see that this baby has seemingly been deprived of a father,” Court wrote at the time.

She has previously described homosexuality as an “abominable sexual practice” and made disparaging remarks about transgender children.

Tennis Australia caused controversy last January when they marked the 50th anniversary of the 78-year-old’s grand slam winning season with a ceremony.

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with AAP

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