House debates

Monday, 21 June 2021


Bennelong Electorate: Queen's Birthday Honours List

7:54 pm

Photo of John AlexanderJohn Alexander (Bennelong, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Not unless you're the member for Bennelong! I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate several significant figures in the community of Bennelong who have recently been acknowledged through the Queen's Birthday Honours List. It is very fortunate that we've had so many recipients this year, although it's not surprising, as Bennelong is home to many people who have quietly worked hard to improve their community, better their profession or generally striven for excellence. It is a privilege to inform you of their successes.

To begin with, Ms Narelle Barker has been made a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to education and the community. Ms Barker has had an exceptional career in education spanning more than 40 years and, in addition to that, has contributed greatly to several local volunteer organisations, including as a member of Rotary and as a supporter of the Salvation Army and Neighbourhood Watch. Since 2017, she's also been a director of Christian Community Aid, an organisation that I know firsthand because it does so much to improve the lives of vulnerable people in need.

Next, Dr Elizabeth Harris has also been made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to equity in health care, to research and to social work. Dr Harris is an adjunct associate professor at the University of New South Wales medicine and health department and has worked as a clinician, health services manager, tertiary educator and public health researcher. She is focused principally on addressing health inequality and has worked on subjects including unemployment and health, child health, interventions in disadvantaged communities and the promotion of public health policy.

Our final and most recent addition to the membership of the Order of Australia is Ms Anna Lao for services to badminton and to the multicultural community. Ms Lao is the most successful badminton player in the history of Australia, having won numerous Australian championships before going on to represent Australia at the 1992 summer Olympics at Barcelona in both singles and doubles, where she placed fifth, better than any other Australian badminton player in history. She later went on to win the French Open in that same year. After her retirement from professional badminton, she founded the Australian Badminton Academy here in Sydney in 2002. The academy has become the largest and most successful of academies in New South Wales. Ms Lao's impact on badminton in Australia has been tremendous, and I congratulate her on all of her achievements and contributions to the community.

In addition, I'm proud to say that four members of my community have been acknowledged with the Medal of the Order of Australia. Ms Christine Howe has been acknowledged for her services to secondary education. Ms Howe is the Director of Performance for the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta and has had a critical role in Catholic education in our community. Mrs Norma Notley has been recognised for her long service to the 1st North Ryde Scout Group. Mrs Notley has served an incredible period of more than 60 years to the Scouts, which she is tremendously attached to, and it is a great achievement. Mr David Rickards has received his award for his service as Chair of Social Enterprise Finance Australia, which provides financing support to Australian social enterprises in fields such as affordable housing, education, arts, community enterprises and disability organisations. Finally, Mr Michael Robertson has been recognised for his service to the community as a foster carer and to transport safety. I thank him for his service to us all.

These recipients are testament to the community spirit and kindness that we have in our suburbs. We are so fortunate to live in an area with such great civic society and local residents who are so involved in our community. If 2020 was the year we locked down, it was also the year we opened up our communities and opened up to our neighbours, ensuring that everyone has been okay and ensuring that no-one was isolated in these tough times. We have so much to be grateful for in our communities, and I am so glad that we can acknowledge these wonderful people here today.

House adjourned at 19 : 59