The King’s Birthday Honours have been unveiled, with some distinguished queer Australians among the 1,191 people recognised for professional achievements and contributions to local community.
Network 10 newsreader Narelda Jacobs received the Medal of the Order of Australia (General Division) for her services to the media and her charity work.
The proud Whadjuk Noongar woman reacted to the honour with “deep thought and humility” and a tribute to her father, reverend and Stolen Generations survivor Cedric Jacobs.
“It’s with deep thought and humility I accept this OAM in recognition of 23 years of service to the community through journalism,” she said.
“My career at Network 10 has opened many doors to sharing opinions and news on Studio 10, 10 News First, NITV and in the community.
Narelda added, “While I’d prefer to receive such an honour from a different head of state, the Commonwealth is the system within which we operate.
“Before choosing to be named on the King’s Birthday Honour’s List, I considered all the First Nations people who’ve courageously taken up spaces created by the colony.
“I thought about my Dad receiving his MBE from the Queen in 1981, while fighting to have his Noongar Sovereignty recognised, fully aware of the Monarch’s role in dispossessing his people.
“I decided to take my lead from those who recognise the importance of stepping into the room in order to change it.
“In this referendum year, I’m grateful to be among those advocating for change.”
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ACON Vice-President and Matildas trailblazer honoured
ACON Vice President Professor Louisa Degenhardt is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of her distinguished services to medical research, particularly addiction and mental disorders, to psychology, and to professional associations.
Professor Degenhardt has also been a Board Member at the NSW queer health organisation for over a decade.
ACON President Justin Koonin said the “well-deserved” honour recognises Louisa’s decades-long work in public and LGBTQIA+ community health.
Meanwhile, former Matildas vice-captain and FIFA executive Moya Dodd was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia.
It comes just over a month before the Women’s World Cup comes to Australia.
Dodd received the honour for “distinguished service to football as a player and administrator at the national and international level, as a role model to women, and to the law.”
“I think it’s a great tribute to how far football has come and how far women’s sport has come in Australia,” Moya told The Guardian.
“I think it is a tribute to the communities that I’m part of, that are also very much part of [the] World Cup: the LGBTQ+ community and the Asian Australian community.”
Elsewhere, South Australia’s William Sergeant received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Sergeant was recognised for service to the LGBTQIA+ community, including as President of the AIDS Council of South Australia.
Dr Elizabeth Rickman from New South Wales was als0 awarded in the King’s Birthday Honours for her service to medicine and women’s health.
Barry Humphries receives Australia’s top honour
Barry Humphries has posthumously received the nation’s highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).
The entertainer was honoured for “eminent service to the arts as a comedian, actor, author, satirist and entertainer, to the promotion of Australian culture, and as a patron of organisations”.
for his eminent service to the arts as a comedian, actor, author, satirist and entertainer, to the promotion of Australian culture, and as a patron of organisations.
In politics, LGBTQIA+ ally Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia (General Division).
She was recognised for service to Sydney through local government and state politics.
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said Moore’s honour was “an extremely well-deserved recognition for Sydney’s most consequential and enduring Lord Mayor, and for someone who is simply amazing.”
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Gender parity progress in King’s Birthday Honours 2023
Governor-General David Hurley said he congratulated all the “outstanding” Australians recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours.
“Recipients have made substantial contributions and had a significant impact at the local, national or international level.
“Some are volunteers, others have had a remarkable impact in professional roles – many have done both.
“They are all inspiring and their service is valued by us all.”
The majority of recipients of honours in the general division were women. It’s the first time that’s happened since the Order of Australia started in 1975.
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