Warne, COVID responders honoured by Queen

A man who stopped Australia being bowled over by COVID-19 and another who knocked off opponents like no other feature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy and legendary cricketer Shane Warne stand out on the 992-person list, with eight of those achieving the prestigious Companion (AC) of the Order.

Dr Murphy was Australia’s CMO from 2016 until 2020 and was one of Australia’s public faces of the initial pandemic response. He has since become the health department’s secretary.


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Others heavily involved in the pandemic response, including Queensland governor and former long-serving chief health officer Jeannette Young, have also been awarded high honours.

Ms Young, appointed an AC, was Queensland’s top health official from 2005 until late 2021. NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant has been appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order.

Excelling in a different field, Mr Warne will be posthumously appointed an AO some three months after his death. He is being honoured for distinguished service to cricket having taken 708 wickets in his storied career, along with his service to the community through charitable initiatives.

In the military division, Vice Admiral Lance Johnston was appointed AC as a highly-skilled strategic military planner and a champion of the Defence Capability System.

Other AC appointments include plant biologist and ecologist Patricia Selkirk for her services to conservation in researching Antarctic and sub-Antarctic ecosystems, chief defence scientist Tanya Monro, and Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation chair and former deputy prime minister John Anderson.

The first woman to become the premier of an Australian state, Carmen Lawrence, was appointed AO, with other politicians honoured including former attorney-general Robert McClelland (AO), former speaker of the House of Representatives Stephen Martin (AO) and former National Party federal president Larry Anthony.

Retired tennis star Ash Barty was appointed an AO after wrapping up her career as a three-time grand slam singles champion, having claimed this year’s Australian Open crown.

But it’s not just the major sports receiving accolades, with Jason Belmonte and Brian Jones receiving AMs for services to tenpin bowling and chess respectively.

Women make up 46 per cent of the list, the second-highest percentage since the honours system was implemented in 1975.

The youngest recipient is 23 years old, while the oldest is 101.

“Recipients share some common traits – including selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service,” Governor-General David Hurley said.

“They’re from different backgrounds, their stories are each unique, and each has served in different ways … this diversity is a strength and each has impacted their community and made it better.

“Collectively the recipients, whose achievements span community service, science and research, industry, sport, the arts and more, represent the very best of Australia.”

© AAP 2022