People power: Most politicians don’t deserve spot on awards list, says Lambie

Everyday Australians serving their community should be recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours before politicians, Jacqui Lambie says, as republicans used the day to call for clarity on constitutional changes.

Jun 10, 2024, updated Jun 10, 2024
Jacqui Lambie Network Senator Jacqui Lambie during Senate Estimates at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Jacqui Lambie Network Senator Jacqui Lambie during Senate Estimates at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Among the people who made the 2024 list are household names from the COVID-19 era, entertainers, athletes, medical researchers as well as community champions.

Former Victorian premier Daniel Andrews and former Western Australia premier Mark McGowan have been made Companions (AC) of the Order of Australia for their service to parliament and public health.

Both rose to national prominence over their hardline policies during the pandemic, with Mr Andrews overseeing one of the world’s longest lockdowns while Mr McGowan kept the WA border shut for almost 700 days.

But firebrand Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie says she finds it bizarre that politicians, who are paid “absurd” salaries, are given awards.

“There’s a lot of people out there that do great things, but don’t have a lot of money, and they’re doing great things around their own,” she told Nine’s Today show on Monday.

“I always find it bizarre that we get paid an absurd amount of money as politicians. And you want to give us awards?

“We get paid to do the job for you. We shouldn’t be getting awards on top of it. Full stop.”

Incoming governor-general Samantha Mostyn, former federal Labor leader the late Simon Crean, epidemiologist Karen Canfell and composer Jonathan Mills rounded out the AC appointments.

Sporting stars to be recognised include cricket icon and McGrath Foundation president Glenn McGrath, who was appointed an Officer (AO) for his role as a coach and services to breast cancer support.

Retired AFL star Bachar Houli was recognised with a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for his services to the Islamic community and multiculturalism.

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Entertainers on the small screen and through the airwaves were among those honoured, with funnyman Hamish Blake recognised for his two decades of service as an entertainer.

Comedian Jimmy Rees, also known as Jimmy Giggle from the children’s show Giggle and Hoot, and sport broadcaster Sandy Roberts were also honoured for their work.

The 2024 list commemorates an equal number of men and women in the general division of the Order of Australia, with recipients ranging in age from 29 to 98.

More than 45 per cent of awards went to ordinary Australians for their tireless community service. Some have citations for their years of service to a local government area, sports or community or youth organisation, or voluntary work.

Governor-General David Hurley congratulated all recipients for the difference they have made.

“Some names are well known, but the vast majority are not – they are people who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a difference in our community,” he said.

As most states and territories – except Queensland and Western Australia – recognise a public holiday on Monday for the King’s Birthday, republicans used the opportunity to call for clarity from the government on plans for constitutional reform.

“The Labor Party has endorsed the establishment of an Australian Constitutional Commission, but no details have been provided about what it would do, who would serve on it, and when it might start work, if ever,” Real Republic Australia Chair David Muir said in a statement.

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