Ms Arndt was castigated after she praised a Queensland police officer on Twitter for keeping an “open mind” about whether a man who murdered his wife and children by setting them alight had been “driven too far”.
In February all parties in the Senate except One Nation condemned her comments. “The values that underpin Ms Arndt’s views on this horrific family violence incident are not consistent with her retaining her Order of Australia,” the motion read.
Ms Arndt had also previously been cautioned over her use of the title “psychologist” but escaped sanction. Ms Arndt did not return calls and texts seeking comment but has previously said criticisms of her remark were “virtue signalling” by “feral mobs”.
Mr Carlton resigned from the Herald in 2014 after being disciplined for using offensive language in his emails to readers, some of which referenced their Jewish faith. That incident, along with a later tweet saying musician Jimmy Barnes had been restrained for not “strangling” Liberal MP Nicole Flint on a panel show, prompted Liberal politicians to call for his 2020 award to be cancelled.
Mr Carlton dismissed the campaign against him, saying it was “a piece of malicious bullying by the rabid right wing culture warriors at News Corpse … followed up by a couple of the madder right-wing Liberal Party MPs”.
“News Corpse” is a popular pun in left wing circles on social media use to mock News Corp, the publisher of newspapers including The Australian and Daily Telegraph, which reported on the campaign.
Mr Carlton said he disagreed entirely with Ms Ardnt’s politics but did not want her stripped of her award. “I think the council has basically got it right,” he said. “If one section of the community gets all shouty that’s no reason everybody else should be put out.”
Victorian Senator Sarah Henderson who called for both Mr Carlton and Ms Arndt to lose their honours, said she accepted the decision but will “continue to advocate for a major review of our Australian Honours system including the criteria by which recipients are judged”.
Mr Stone, a former Liberal chief minister of the Northern Territory, said the council’s decision was not an endorsement of anyone’s politics.
“Individuals are neither qualified nor disqualified on the basis of their political leanings, social views or religious convictions.”
It took the council six months to come to its decision, which was announced on Wednesday, after the Governor-General decided not to use his power to unilaterally remove the honours.
Nick Bonyhady is industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based between Sydney and Parliament House in Canberra.