Australia Day 2018

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I move that this House:

(1) acknowledges the Order of Australia is the highest national honour award and the pre-eminent way Australians recognise the achievements and service of their fellow citizens;

(2) recognises that since being established by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1975, there have been more than 500 recipients of Companion of the Order of Australia, almost 3,000 awarded Officers of the Order of Australia, more than 10,000 inducted as Members of the Order of Australia and more than 23,000 honoured as recipients of the Medal of the Order of Australia;

(3) notes the almost 900 recipients in the General Division of the Order of Australia on Australia Day in 2018, from an array of fields including education, arts, sport, science and social work; and

(4) encourages all Members to congratulate recipients from their electorates on this immense achievement.

Australia Day honours recipients reflect the best of our country. Australia’s honours system allows us to shine a spotlight on our role models. Not only does it give us a chance to say, ‘Thank you for your service,’ but the recipients serve as a reminder of everything we can and should aspire to be. This Australia Day, I was proud to see Berowra residents being appointed to the Order of Australia.

Dr Diana O’Halloran, from Glenorie, was made an officer of the Order of Australia for her contribution to medicine and general practice. Diana’s pioneering work in the field of general practice in Western Sydney has included her ongoing advocacy for reform in the provision of accessible, high-quality health care.

Judith Horton, from Middle Dural, was appointed to the Order of Australia for her contribution to horticulture and gardening. Judith has been involved in the Australian open gardens scheme, has edited Yates Garden Guide and has helped grow the Galston District Garden Club, which runs the popular Galston Open Gardens Weekend every spring. Berowra’s bushland is a fitting home for a woman of Judith’s talents. We’re lucky to count her as one of our own.

Rosalind Carlson, from Arcadia, was recognised for her service to choral music and education. Rosalind’s desire to impress a love of music on others has enriched the musical life of both Berowra and our nation. Rosalind wears many hats as an accomplished musical writer, performer and conductor—thus it’s only fitting that she now adds Order of Australia recipient to her list of titles.

Julie Griffin, from Westleigh, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her tremendous service to women in Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai. As a survivor of domestic violence, Julie’s passion and drive have seen her involved in the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai domestic violence network for 25 years. Three years ago, she helped launch the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women’s Shelter. Julie is a source of great motivation for the many women she works with, and her award is a fitting thankyou to someone who makes a difference.

The Rev. Dr David Claydon, from Hornsby Heights, was honoured for his service to the Anglican Church, interfaith relations and refugees. David Claydon, I’m proud to say, has been a family friend for generations. He has been a much-loved Anglican minister in Berowra, and he and his wife Robyn are admired internationally for their work with Christians and for their great humanity. David and Robyn Claydon have travelled to more than 80 countries for their work with an impressive array or organisations, including human rights organisations for the Middle East and Africa. I often speak to David about interfaith and ecumenical works in this place. The recognition of David’s work locally, nationally and, indeed, internationally is richly deserved. Unfortunately, David’s recovering from major heart surgery. We wish him well for a speedy recovery.

Two other Australia Day honourees from my community also deserve special mention. Craig Easy from Hornsby was awarded the Australian Fire Services Medal for his contribution to the Fire & Rescue New South Wales over many years. Our firefighters, like Craig, are the backbone of this nation. And mathematics teacher Eddie Woo, from Cherrybrook Technology High School, was named Australia’s Local Hero for his innovative and inclusive teaching methods. His ‘Wootube’ videos began as a way of keeping a student with cancer engaged and educated during his illness. What began for an intended audience of one has now evolved into an internet sensation, providing thousands of people with the opportunity to further their education and learn a love for maths.

Outside my electorate, I would like to make special mention of three other honourees who have personally inspired me. Danny Lamm’s contribution to Australia-Israel relations was quite rightly recognised. I worked alongside Danny on the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. I know firsthand how deserving Danny is.

Greg Whitby’s innovative and passionate work with Catholic Education over many years was recognised. I valued his experience during my work at the Australian Catholic University, and I continue to benefit from his counsel as Director of Education in the Parramatta Diocese.

My friend Brian Loughnane worked with every Liberal leader since 1994, and served both as the Victorian and federal director of my party, running outstanding campaign wins in 2004 and 2013. He has a well-deserved international reputation as being an outstanding political strategist. There are two sorts of people who become federal or state director: those for whom it’s just a job and those who believe in the cause deeply. Brian is very much in the latter category. Turning 18 on that glorious day when Gough Whitlam was sacked, Brian used to maintain a list of 100 reasons why Billy McMahon was a better Prime Minister than Gough Whitlam. It was a list to which he was adding constantly.

Equally at home amongst seasoned campaigners or liberal and conservative intellectuals, Brian understood that the party operates in a broader cultural environment of global ideas and political activism in the liberal and conservative tradition. I was honoured that Brian’s last function as federal director was addressing my branch in 2016 and that he came and helped me on my campaign. Brian Loughnane, Officer of the Order of Australia, I salute you.

All the people I have mentioned contributed in their own way. So it’s right that we as a parliament take time to recognise great Australians who serve our nation in the way that they do.

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