Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a growing backlash over his decision to bestow a knighthood on Prince Philip.
The decision, revealed on Australia Day, has both puzzled and angered many of his colleagues keen for the Government to start the year on the front foot.
The decision is being cited as further evidence that the Prime Minister is out of touch, and may add to internal concerns about his leadership.
The decision to knight Prince Philip has reportedly caused anger within the government. Source: Supplied
It will also dent his efforts to reset the Government's agenda in 2015.
Yesterday, Cabinet ministers told the ABC they were bewildered, angered and dismayed by the award.
Now two Queensland federal MPs have broken ranks to publicly criticise the knighthood, which others have called "a stupid announcement", "beyond ridiculous" and "another error of political judgment".
Coalition MP Ewen Jones says he agrees governors-general could be eligible to be made knights or dames, but not British royals.
"I didn't believe it," he said.
"I thought of all the things we could do on Australia Day ... Townsville's citizen of the year was a 50-year volunteer of the Girl Guides. I think there's a lot more for Australia that she's done than Prince Philip."
But Mr Jones does not think the decision reflects on the Prime Minister's political judgment or on the Government.
Prince Philip shares a laugh with his wife, the Queen. Source: AAP
"Everyone knows that Tony Abbott holds the monarchy very close to himself," he said.
"This is a captain's pick in which he's made it very clear that this is what he wants to do. This has nothing to do with Government policy; it has nothing to do with process.
"This is something that Tony believes we as a nation need to do. I disagree, but I don't think this shows that he is disconnected from the Australian people at all.
"Would I have done it? No. But do I object to him doing it? No, I don't object to him doing it."
MP says decision adds to 'downward spiral'
Another MP was more forthright, saying the announcement took the edge off what could have been a good message for Australia Day and showed the Prime Minister's misunderstanding of where Australia is at.
The MP said it was "a stupid announcement" and "manifestly amazing in the worst possible way".
He said "it just adds to the downward spiral" because, while MPs are giving their "unswerving support" to Mr Abbott, "he comes up with Prince Philip".
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has shrugged off online criticism over his knighthood decision calling it 'electronic graffiti'. Source: AAP
A second Queensland MP, Warren Entsch, said "for the life of me, I can't understand why" Mr Abbott decided to honour a British royal.
Another MP said "everyone's scratching their heads" at "another error of judgment", adding tongue in cheek that it was appropriate in the centenary of Gallipoli for the Prime Minister to keep blowing the whistle, ordering troops to keep going over the top "only to face certain annihilation".
"Beyond ridiculous" was yet another Coalition response.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon said Prince Philip already had "every title under the sun".
"This is a bit like giving Bill Gates an abacus," he said. "I don't know what he's going to do with it."
Senator Xenophon said he did not see any upside to the Prime Minister's decision to reinstate Australian knighthoods.
"When the Prime Minister made this announcement about a year ago, I thought it was wackily quaint and anachronistic," he said.
"But now it's just become an acute embarrassment, just plainly ridiculous.
"I reckon the Prime Minister is pushing his luck with backbenchers on this one."
News break – January 27