Senate debates

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Statements by Senators

Western Australia: Order of Australia

1:55 pm

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I was delighted to host an event welcoming all new Western Australian recipients of Order of Australia honours at the Bull Creek RAAFA Club on 17 August. Travel restrictions meant I remained in Canberra and was not able to attend in person, but my WA colleague the Hon. Steve Irons MP was kind enough to represent me and read a message on my behalf. I reminded those present that when it was founded by the Queen in 1975 the Order of Australia was described as 'an Australian society of honour for according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service'. I explained that the mere conferral of an award rarely captures the full story and that each new member had not only achieved something remarkable but inspired many people around them. In my message to the gathering I said, 'Your family, your community, your colleagues have nominated you for an Australian honour in recognition of your hard work, service and efforts, and those efforts have been judged by your Australian peers to have exceeded the highest possible standards.' There are fewer than 3,000 Western Australians who have received Order of Australia honours, including one knight, one dame, 31 companions, 190 officers, 899 members of the order and 1,814 Order of Australia Medal recipients. Western Australians are a strong and resilient people, and possibly due to our geographic isolation and inherent self-sufficiency, we have a reputation for making the impossible possible and achieving great things. In some way, each of you have contributed to this, and I commend all of you for the dedication, hard work and service you have provided to advance our great nation.

I would like to recognise a number of people who I know well: Mr Kevin Beeck, for his service to local government and the community of Albany in WA's South West; Dr Betsy Buchanan, for her service to social welfare organisations; Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Chamarette; Mrs Jan Cooper; and Misty Farquhar. I again congratulate our new WA members for their valuable contributions and look forward to hosting next year's event in person.