Australia honours community champions

Australia’s golden performance at last year’s Tokyo Olympics has drawn a string of awards in the 2022 Australia Day honours.

Multiple gold medal-winning swimmer Emma McKeon was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), while other stars such as slalom canoeist Jess Fox, skateboarder Keegan Palmer and swimmers Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown were awarded Medals of the Order of Australia (OAM).

As per recent tradition, all gold medallists have received an award, outside of some who have already won them for previous Olympic triumphs.


They were not the only sportspeople to be honoured.

Wheelchair tennis champion Dylan Alcott was named the Australian of the Year for 2022 late on Tuesday. He was also appointed an Officer of the Order (AO) for his distinguished service to Paralympic sport and for his work as a role model for people with disability, and to the wider community.

“Winning grand slams and gold medals isn’t my purpose,” he told an audience gathered in Canberra to see his Australian of the Year presentation.

“My purpose is changing perceptions so people like me can get out there and live the lives they deserve to live.”

Fellow athlete, basketball player Patty Mills, was awarded an AM for leading the Boomers to bronze at the Olympics and his Indigenous leadership.

Meanwhile, a number of scientists have been recognised in the honours system including former chief scientist Alan Finkel, who picked up the highest honour in being made a Companion of the Order (AC).

Dr Finkel, one of seven people to be made ACs this year, received the award for his work across a range of fields include energy innovation, climate change and COVID-19 response initiatives.

Other scientist ACs include James Dale who has developed a range of genetically modified bananas and Jennifer Graves for evolutionary genetics research.

Some 58 people were recognised for their efforts in Australia’s pandemic response, with those to be added to an ongoing and permanent COVID-19 honour roll.

Other notable names on the honours list include: singer Delta Goodrem (AM), mining magnate Gina Rinehart (AO), cook and food author Maggie Beer (AO), former NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons (AO) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims (AO).

Of the 732 awards in the general division, 47 per cent were given to women, the largest percentage of female recipients since the honours system was introduced in 1975.

The recipients’ ages range from 17 to 99 years old, while 45 per cent of awards are for outstanding service in the community.

Some 30 awards were given in the Military Division along with 197 Meritorious awards and 81 Distinguished and Conspicuous awards.

© AAP 2022