The 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honors List recognized 992 Australians, with more than 43% of the General Division acknowledging community service.
Hundreds of Australians from all walks of life in the social economy have been recognized for their work, with the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honors List recognizing contributions to community, charity, philanthropy, social enterprise and impact investing.
Of note in the social sector, philanthropist Gina Fairfax was nominated at the highest level for her distinguished service to the community through leadership roles in charities, as an advocate for philanthropy, the administration of arts and regional development.
Former Deputy Premier and Rural and Regional Renewal Foundation co-founder John Anderson AO was also named AC.
Others among those from the social sector to be recognized were the former chairman of Life Education Australia, Tony Hasham AM (AO); Dr Ruth Shean (AO), Director of Cancer Council Australia; Welcome to Australian Founder and Executive Director of White Ribbon Australia, Brad Chilcott (AM); Big Issue President Sonya Clancy (AM); Todd Harper (AM), CEO of Cancer Council Victoria; Nigel Harris (AM), former CEO of the Mater Foundation and Chairman of the FIA Board; former director of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Professor Kathy Laster (AM); and Susan and Garry Rothwell (AM), who co-founded the Rothwell Family Foundation.
Good360 Australia founder and chief executive Alison Covington, who was named an AM for significant service to social protection and sustainability programs, said it was good to know someone recognized the work the sector was doing to uplift others.
She said it was very humbling to be included in the list.
“You don’t expect to get that phone call, when you see all the other people doing absolutely amazing work in their field,” Covington told Pro Bono News.
“I think especially after the last couple of years the sector has continued to ramp up as it has been asked to do a lot more after back to back disasters.
“Our sector is the sector people turn to in need, and we’ve seen more people in need than ever before, so I think it’s great that people in our sector are being recognized for the work hard they do.”
2021 Impact 25 winner Asha Bhat (OAM) was also recognized for her service to the Indigenous community in Western Australia; Rosemary Kariuki (OAM) for her service to the multicultural community; and Nyadol Nyuon (OAM) for her services to human rights and refugee women.
Former Impact 25 winner, Sister Brigid Arthur, was named AO for her distinguished service to social welfare, especially asylum seekers and refugees, and Catholic education. She told Pro Bono News it was “pretty extraordinary” to be recognized.
“The most important thing for me is that it shines a light on community members who are working hard on different issues and those who are making tremendous contributions in those areas,” she said.
On the issue of asylum seekers, she said Australia needed to change to become more welcoming and inclusive, but added that she was “cautiously optimistic” about the new change in government.
“I think we’ll still have battles with the new government, but I think what they’re saying at least sounds more humane and we need to change the rhetoric that’s going around about people seeking asylum,” Arthur said.
In addition to celebrating those who contribute to community, charity and philanthropy, impact investing was also recognized this year.
Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) Board Director Mans Carlsson received an OAM for his service to the sustainable investment industry.
Dr. Andrew Kuper was named AO for his distinguished service to the impact investing industry, global business leadership and financial inclusion.
The founder and CEO of LeapFrog Investments, who is also recognized as an industry co-founder, told Pro Bono News that the work everyone does in the social impact field is incredibly difficult and it is nice to be recognized, especially as part of a larger group of people.
“As well as building LeapFrog over the years from nothing to today, I tried to grow an industry, with lots of collaborators obviously, out of something that didn’t exist and was deeply misunderstood and felt small and irrelevant into something moving in the trillions,” Kuper said.
“It was an incredibly difficult but also exhilarating journey. And to get recognition like this for 15+ years of hard work, passion and commitment from me and many others on my team and beyond is very exciting.
In total, the Governor-General announced awards for 992 Australians aged 23-101, including 669 in the General Division of the Order of Australia (eight ACs, 33 AOs, 200 AMs and 428 OAMs) – including 43, 6% were for public service.
This year’s list included 307 women (46%), which is the second highest percentage of female recipients of the Order of Australia since the introduction of the Australian honors system in 1975.
Governor General David Hurley AC said the recipients represented “Australia’s best”.
“Recipients share some common traits, including selflessness, excellence and commitment to service,” he said.
“They come from different backgrounds, their stories are each unique and each has served in different ways. This diversity is a strength and everyone has had an impact on their community and made it better. For this we thank them and today we celebrate them.
Anyone can nominate any Australian for an Order of Australia award. If you know someone worthy of the name, nominate them now at www.gg.gov.au.