Tony Abbott is among several high-profile people recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours this year.
- Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop has also been recognised for her services to Parliament
- Recipients are nominated by fellow Australians and their claims are decided by an independent body
- Artist Vincent Namatjira, academic Marcia Langton, business executive Ming Long and netball coach Julie Fitzgerald are among the high-profile nominees
The former prime minister was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for “eminent service to the people and Parliament of Australia”.
The honour was primarily for his role as Prime Minister, as well as significant contributions to trade, border control, and to the Indigenous community.
Mr Abbott came under fire in 2015 for awarding the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, with a knighthood.
All those recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours are nominated by fellow Australians before they are assessed by an independent body, the Council of the Order of Australia, before being handed out by the Governor-General.
The Queen has no direct involvement in the process.
Other high-profile Australians included in this year’s honours list years include former federal politician Bronwyn Bishop who was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to Parliament, to the people of New South Wales and to women in politics.
Ms Bishop, who is Australia’s longest-serving female federal politician, said she hoped her recognition would inspire young Australian women “to put themselves forward for public life and to be proud of their country”.
“I think the fact that so many more women have come into politics … is a terrific thing,” she said.
“I don’t want to be complacent I want to see lots more.”
Indigenous artist Vincent Namatjira from South Australia’s APY lands, said he was “very proud” to receive a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of his service to Indigenous visual arts and the community.
The great-grandson of contemporary Indigenous Australian art icon Albert Namatjira said the award meant Australian Aboriginal people were “more heard and recognised and are known for more than who they are but for what they bring to the table”.
He said he was particularly excited about the future, including working on his submission to this year’s Archibald Prize which was “someone that I really like, we both share the same things in common [and] both like our sports”.
He said he was proud he was able to come from the bush with Aboriginal heritage and live in the city.
“To see what life is like in the city in the mainstream and what life is like in the Indigenous side is like coming together as one in Australia,” he said.
Indigenous academic Marcia Langton said it was “nice to be thanked by the nation” by being made an AO for her impact on tertiary education, and as an advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Professor Langton, who regularly appears on television and radio, said it was important to communicate academic work to the public “in a clear and precise way so people know why taxpayers are funding universities”.
She said Indigenous tertiary education had come a long way and she was proud of the significant increase in numbers of Indigenous Australians with PhDs.
But she said the country had a long way to go, with racism still rife, as seen with the recent reignition of the local Black Lives Matter movement.
“I believe we’re all one species and we all have the same potentialities,” she said.
“There are people who don’t believe that and they actually threaten our society, they threaten our democracy, they threaten our health — racism has an enormous impact on one’s health.”
Another female to be honoured this year is the chair of AMP Capital Funds Management Ming Long, being made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her work in finance and diversity.
With more than 25 years’ experiences across businesses spanning real estate, media and education, the current non-executive director at QBE Insurance has steered businesses in tough economic times, including during the global financial crisis.
Yet many Australians will know her better for her advocacy to end racism.
As a Chinese-Australian, she most recently rallied against COVID-19 related racism.
“I hope this [recognition] is a reminder for all women of colour coming through that they are capable of great things, for all people of colour,” she said.
Head coach of the Giants netball team Julie Fitzgerald said she had been “quite astounded” when told she was being made an AM for her contribution to the sport as a coach and as a mentor of sportswomen.
She admitted the sport had kept her away from family on many important occasions such as birthdays, but her children had been “thrilled … I think more excited than I was” about her honour.
“I can honestly say I love it as much now as the first day I ever coached a team, I really enjoy it,” she said.
Mrs Fitzgerald said sport was “integral to Australian life” and she was an advocate for not just netball but all sport.
She said being involved in grand finals was a particular highlight of her career and she had been excited to see women’s sport in recent years becoming more popular.
Credit: Source link