THE award of the nation's highest honour to philosopher, bioethicist and activist Peter Singer has prompted outrage, with Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce calling it "madness" and a Christian group slamming his ideas as "really, really out there".
Professor Singer's views on euthanasia, abortion and animal rights have provoked a furore globally, with one disability activist describing him as a "public advocate of genocide' and "the most dangerous man on earth today". He caused a storm in 2001 by suggesting that "mutually satisfying activities" of a sexual nature between humans and animals should not necessarily be opposed.
Senator Joyce contrasted Professor Singer's appointment as a Companion of the Order of Australia with the uproar surrounding photos of members of the Olympic swimming team with guns. "Political correctness says that is outrageous," he said, "but on the same day we're supposed to laud and praise Professor Peter Singer for . . . such wonderful ideas as a child has no rights and can be killed until they are cognisant of their rights".
Roslyn Phillips, of Family Voice Australia, said the Queen's Birthday award to Professor Singer "dishonoured" the honours system. "His views tolerating bestiality and the killing of innocent infants are highly offensive," she said.
Terri Kelleher, of the Australian Family Association, said he was "not an appropriate choice" and most Australians would find his ideas "really, really out there".
But Greens leader Christine Milne defended him
"Peter Singer . . . deserves his global reputation for challenging people to reconsider their views on ethical behaviour, animal welfare and the human condition," she said.
Professor Singer co-wrote the 1996 manifesto for the Greens with former party leader Bob Brown