Australia’s first female head of state says the 1990s in Western Australian politics was “an exciting early sign of women’s potential” in public life.
- Australia’s first female state premier to be awarded an AO for service to the people and the parliaments of WA and Australia for conservation and arts administration.
- Melbourne lawyer Nyadol Nuyon awarded OAM for human rights and service to refugee women
- Cricketer Shane Warne has been awarded the AO posthumously for his service to cricket and the community
Carmen Lawrence was WA chief from 1990–1993 and led the government with several women in cabinet positions. He also held ministerial positions in the Keating government.
Dr Lawrence said, “When I became Prime Minister of Western Australia … it was a significant achievement for the women collectively.”
Dr Lawrence, a Professor Emeritus and Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the WA School of Psychological Sciences, has been recognized as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honors list . The People and Parliament of Australia and WA, for Conservation and Arts Administration.
Dr Lawrence said the makeup of the new federal parliament “showed the idea that you could be represented by someone who is not like you”.
“We have a representative democracy which means we need to represent all groups in our society,” she said.
“It’s a matter of justice, first of all, that’s what democracy is about, but it also means that we get a richer view of what Australia is experiencing, and so policy will be better.”
However, Dr Lawrence said it is becoming increasingly difficult for women in politics in many ways.
“Funny way, the more women get closer to real power, the more brutal the reaction seems,” she said.
“If there was social media in my time in politics, I think it would have been unbearable.”
Melbourne lawyer and human rights advocate Nyadol Nuyon, who was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to human rights and refugee women, said the election to Australia’s most diverse parliament was a reflection of positive change yet.
But Ms Nuyon said there was still work to be done, and that at the top of her list was greater diversity in the Australian media.
“There is no more important place where diversity is needed than in the media because it is a literal reflection of who we are, what we think, where we want to go,” she said.
“And if it’s not diversified, it undermines the possibilities of what we can be as a country.”
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, chief medical officers and epidemiologists suddenly became household names.
Brendan Murphy was the federal chief medical officer when the pandemic began and is now the secretary of the federal Department of Health.
He has been honored with a fellow in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC) for distinguished service to medical administration and community health and nephrology and innovation.
Dr Murphy said he has had the privilege of working with wonderful people in his career spanning over 40 years in health and medicine.
“In all those roles, I work with brilliant, dedicated people who are focused on making a difference in the health of the nation,” he said.
University of New South Wales Professor of Epidemiology and Consultant to the World Health Organization, Mary-Louise MacLaws has been recognized as an AO for distinguished service to medical research, tertiary education and health administration.
Doctor McLaw also became a familiar face during the pandemic. In January, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was undergoing treatment.
“I am absolutely honored that I am receiving this award,” McLaws said.
recognition for the arts
South Australian cabaret singer Libby O’Donovan said she “lived” for the arts.
Ms O’Donovan said: “Every gig that I do, every performance, every time I write something, it just fills my heart and soul and I love sharing it and I like to share with other people’s communities. I love creating magical moments with.”
“Without music, without creativity, without art, without dance, without theatre, we really have a very meaningless existence.”
Ms. O’Donovan and her former partner, country singer Bexie Cole, have both been recognized for their contributions to their industries with OAM.
Warne ‘will be honored’
Cricketer Shane Warne, who died in March aged 52, was awarded the AO posthumously for distinguished service to cricket as a player, role model and commentator, through charitable initiatives and for philanthropy .
Warne’s father, Keith, said his son would have felt extremely honored to have received such an honor.
“This award… recognizes that Shane was much more than an incredible cricketer, he was a truly selfless and remarkable man who always supported the less fortunate,” Warne said.
“We are very proud of him. We hope his legacy will inspire many generations to come.”
Ash Barty has also been recognized as an AO for distinguished service to tennis and youth development programs at a distinguished level.
Barty, 26, announced her retirement from the sport in March, ending her career with three major singles titles – the French Open (2019), Wimbledon (2021) and this year’s Australian Open.
Across the country, 992 Australians are being recognized on this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honors List.