London mayor Boris Johnson has been named Honorary Australian of the Year at the Australian Day Awards ceremony in London on Saturday, and he couldn’t figure out why. The British politician was grateful with his new award, but admitted he couldn’t figure out why he was given one.
Mr Johnson was recognised with the Australian Day Foundation award for displaying “archetypal Aussie characteristics in abundance.” But if asked, he is actually stumped by the honour.
“I am very proud and a bit baffled by the award, but I think it is because I am the mayor of the 12th largest Australian city here in London,” he was quoted by The Australian as saying.
Baffled or not, the London leader has every intention of using the honour to his advantage, saying he will be pushing for easier immigration between Australia and the United Kingdom.
“There should be the same reciprocal rights between the UK and Australia as there is between the UK and Slovenia or any of the 27 European Union countries,” he said.
“It’s absolutely crazy,” he added. “The government has this neuralgia about immigration and the fear more (non-British) people are taking jobs; that is over-egged. And here we are cutting immigration to Britain by reducing numbers of New Zealanders coming here by 60 per cent.”
On a lighter note, Mr Johnson quipped that his new status as an honorary Australian made it awkward for him to welcome home England’s Ashes team, which lost to Australia’s team.
“I was thinking of a victory parade or commiseration or some sort of parade from the returning Ashes team in London, I’m not sure how that would work now.”
Also honoured at the gala were historian Meredith Hooper, who was named Australian of the Year in the UK, and ballet dancer Steven McRae, who was given the Young Australian of the Year in the UK.