Close Search
News  |  Social IssuesCommunity

Social sector heroes recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

14 June 2021 at 8:00 am
Maggie Coggan
This year’s list honoured over 1,000 Aussies 

Maggie Coggan | 14 June 2021 at 8:00 am


Social sector heroes recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours
14 June 2021 at 8:00 am

This year’s list honoured over 1,000 Aussies 

Following one of the most turbulent years of our time, NFP and philanthropic leaders have been recognised and celebrated for their service to the community in the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List.  

The Governor-General David Hurley AC approved awards for 1,190 Australians, with 947 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia (five AC, 50 AO, 252 AM and 640 OAM).

The work of social sector, humanitarian and philanthropic leaders shone through in the AO award category with Professor Philip Alston recognised for his human rights work with the United Nations; Suzi Carp recognised for her work in medical research; and Ian Hicks recognised for his philanthropic support to the arts, education and social welfare bodies.

The founder of the Big Freeze at the G, Neale Daniher AM; legal expert Professor Anne Twomey; philanthropist Paul Salteri AM; the founder of angelhands Dr Ann O’Neill; and chair of HousingFirst Janine Kirk AM also all received an AO.

Others among those in the social sector to be recognised included CEO of Australians Investing in Women, Julie Reilly (OAM); philanthropist Andrew Blode (AM); founding member of the Adelaide Zero Project Ian Cox (AM); philanthropist Louise Gourlay OAM (AM); philanthropist Anne Miller (AM); former CEO of the Grattan Institute John Daley (AM); co-founder of Kids in Philanthropy and Philanthropy Australia co-chair Amanda Miller (OAM); founder of Accounting for Good Morri Young (OAM); and chair of Social Enterprise Finance Australia David Rickards (OAM). 

Hurley said that collectively, the winners spoke for “who we are as a nation”. 

“There are countless examples of selflessness, commitment and dedication,” he said. 

He also noted that the list included the highest ever percentage of women at 44 per cent, up 3 per cent on last year’s list.   

“It is important that the Order of Australia represents the diversity and strength of Australia – for this to happen we need to ensure outstanding women, members of our multicultural community and First Nations people are nominated by their peers in the community,” he said. 

Head of Not-for-profit Law Sue Woodward (AM) was also recognised in the awards for her work in fundraising and improving the NFP sector. 

Woodward told Pro Bono News that as a self-identified “NFP law nerd”, receiving the award was very exciting.   

“It is an extraordinary honour to receive recognition for over 20 years of contribution to the not-for-profit sector. It feels like great acknowledgement of the importance of the charities and broader not-for-profit sector, of which I am one person,” she said.

“The sector is about people looking after people. It is about our community. My honour is a shared one – with this extraordinary sector, my fellow volunteers, and my passionate and inspiring colleagues.”

She said that COVID-19 had placed many charities and NFPs under huge pressure, and in accepting the award she said that she wanted to call out those who worked and volunteered in the many organisations across the country who were managing to do even more work with less.  

“They do amazing work supporting people and communities dealing with disadvantage – providing emergency relief, disability and family violence services, and legal support to name but a few,” Woodward said.  

“COVID-19 has challenged us all, but many charities and community groups have faced the paradox of greater demand for services but less money. It is at times like this that the value and importance of the sector is felt so strongly and its financial substantiality is most critical.”

This year’s list also includes 63 Australians recognised for their contribution in support of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These individuals, recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia and of Meritorious Awards, will also be included in an ongoing and permanent COVID-19 Honour roll.

See the full list of recipients here.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

Get more stories like this



Breaking the silence of miscarriage

Ruby Kraner-Tucci

Wednesday, 29th March 2023 at 4:31 pm

Burying our preconceptions about funerals

Ruby Kraner-Tucci

Wednesday, 8th March 2023 at 4:20 pm

Income support push, award nominations open


Wednesday, 18th January 2023 at 9:30 pm

Taking connection to those who need it most

Danielle Kutchel

Tuesday, 20th December 2022 at 8:59 am

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook