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About Australian Honours

The Order of Australia recognises women and men whose actions have enriched our society. Anyone can nominate.

Australian citizens are recognised for their achievements and service to the community through Australian Honours.

Not to be confused with the Australian of the Year Award. An Australian Honour is the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service, and was established in 1975.

The Order of AustraliaExternal Link is one of the awards included in the Australian Honours. The Order of Australia has four award levels. The Companion of the Order (AC), the Officer of the Order (AO), the Member of the Order (AM) and the Medal of the Order (OAM).

Anyone in the community can nominate someone for an award in the Order of Australia.

If your nomination is unsuccessful, your nominee may be reconsidered after an interval of 3 years. You will be required to submit your nomination again at this time.

If the person you are nominating has an Order of Australia (AO, AM or OAM), they may be considered for a promotion within the Order 5 years after their previous appointment or award.

Assessing nominations

Nominations are considered by the Council for the Order of Australia, which makes recommendations directly to the Governor-General.

There are 19 members including representatives of each state and territory, public office holders (ex-officio) and community representatives. The community representatives on the Council are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

More information can be found on the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia's website.External Link

The Council will look for someone who has gone above and beyond in their contributions to Australian society.

The Council meets twice a year, usually in February and August, to consider whether each nominee in the Order of Australia has:

  • demonstrated achievement at a high level
  • made a contribution over and above what might be reasonably expected through paid employment, or
  • made a voluntary contribution to the community which stands out from other volunteers.

Your nominee may have:

  • made an outstanding contribution to society within their field, whether it's professionally, in sports, the arts, service or community work
  • contributed to their community as a volunteer in a way that is over and above the contributions of other volunteers

If your nomination is unsuccessful, your nominee may be reconsidered after an interval of 3 years. You will be required to submit your nomination again at this time.

If the person you are nominating has an Order of Australia (AO, AM or OAM), they may be considered for a promotion within the Order 5 years after their previous appointment or award.

Announcements

Awards are announced two times each year:

  • Australia Day on 26 January
  • The Queen's Birthday in June

Awards

The Order of Australia has 4 levels and the Council for the Order of Australia will determine the level of the award your nominee receives. You don't need to specify the award level in your nomination.

Companion of the Order (AC)

The Council for the Order of Australia defines this honour as achievement and merit of the highest degree for service to Australia or humanity at large. This is the highest award in the Order of Australia and only 35 people are awarded an AC each year.

Some recipients of the Companion of the Order include:

  • Ms Susan Alberti AC
  • Ms Jill Bilcock AC
  • Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC
  • Dr Rhonda Galbally AC
  • Ms Olivia Newton-John AC

Officer of the Order (AO)

The Council for the Order of Australia defines this honour as distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or humanity at large. This award recognises people whose actions have made a significant impact in our society. Only 140 people are awarded an AO each year.

Some recipients of the Officer of the Order include:

  • Professor Muriel Bamblett AO
  • Ms Bronwyn King AO
  • Professor Sharon Lewin AO
  • Ms Sue Maslin AO
  • Ms Magda Szubański AO

Member of the Order (AM)

The Council for the Order of Australia defines this honour for service in a particular local area, field or to a particular group. Recognising achievement in a particular area, the AM is awarded to 605 people each year.

Some recipients of the Member of the Order include:

  • Ms Sally Goldner AM
  • Mrs Karen Hayes AM
  • Ms Karen Livingstone AM
  • Ms Helen Marcou AM
  • Dr Nouria Salehi AM

Medal of the Order (OAM)

The Council for the Order of Australia defines this honour for service worthy of particular recognition. Recognising outstanding achievements, there's no limit to the number of OAMs awarded each year.

Some recipients of the Medal of the Order include:

  • Ms Brenda Appleton OAM
  • Ms Hana Assafiri OAM
  • Ms (Aunty) Di Kerr OAM
  • Ms Tricia Malowney OAM
  • Ms Rebecca Scott OAM

Read more about previous recipients of the Order of Australia or for more information on the awards, visit The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia website.External Link

Reviewed 13 December 2021

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