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Big names on the King’s Birthday 2024 Honours List revealed

From politics to entertainment, there's some recognisable faces on this year's list.

From politics to entertainment, there's some recognisable faces on this year's list. Photo: TND

From beloved to controversial, hundreds of Australians have been named in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours List.

Outgoing Governor-General David Hurley said the names on the 2024 list were “people who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a difference in our community”.

“Through today’s recognition we shine a light on their efforts, the impact they have and the difference they make,” he said.

“This is my last Honours list as Governor-General. Presiding over investiture ceremonies and having the opportunity to meet so many diverse recipients in our honours system has been a tremendous privilege.

“Learning their stories has been inspiring and makes me enormously optimistic for our future.”

Hurley emphasised the importance of the Order of Australia reflecting the diversity of the Australian community, and said for this to continue, people needed to take the time to nominate others that inspire them.

Although the “vast majority” of the names on this year’s list are not well known, here are some of the most familiar faces that made the cut.

Hamish Blake

Photo: Getty

The radio presenter-turned-Australian media all-star was awarded a a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for “service to the arts as an entertainer, and to the community”.

“I am, of course, extremely honoured and now feel very guilty I didn’t even get the King a birthday present,” Blake said in a statement to The New Daily.

One half of the iconic Hamish & Andy radio duo, Blake’s career in entertainment spans more than two decades.

He hosts three podcasts, including two with long-time collaborator Andy Lee.

He also hosts the popular Nine competition show Lego Masters Australia, for which he has won two Logies, including the Bert Newton Award for most popular presenter in 2022.

Samantha Mostyn

mostyn

Photo: AAP

She’s yet to take on the role of Australia’s Governor-General, but Mostyn has a long and storied career and has previously been named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

Mostyn has now been made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for “eminent service in the social justice, gender equity, sporting, cultural and business sectors, to reconciliation, and to environmental sustainability”.

She received King Charles’ approval earlier this year to replace David Hurley as Governor-General from July 1, a decision that was lauded by a number of high-profile Australians and organisations.

Daniel Andrews

Vic Labor

Photo: AAP

The former Victorian premier was awarded an AC for his “eminent service to the people and Parliament of Victoria, to public health, to policy and regulatory reform, and to infrastructure development”.

Andrews stepped down as premier in September, voluntarily wrapping up nine years as premier and 13 years as leader of the Victorian Labor Party.

His term was largely defined by his actions during the height of the Covid pandemic, in which Victoria experienced 263 days of lockdowns in an effort to limit infections.

Andrews has been tight-lipped about future plans, although records show he has established two businesses in Melbourne; their purposes remain unclear.

Mark McGowan

McGowan

Photo: Getty

The former premier of Western Australia has been awarded an AC for “eminent service to the people and Parliament of Western Australia, to public health and education, and to international trade relations”.

An “exhausted” McGowan resigned in May 2023, citing fatigue after more than six years in WA’s top job, about half of which he spent leading the state through the Covid pandemic with the help of strict border restrictions.

He has since taken on at least four private sector jobs, including a senior role with former federal treasurer Joe Hockey’s consultancy firm.

Glenn McGrath

Photo: AAP

The former cricketer was awarded an AO for “distinguished service to community health through breast cancer support, and to cricket as an international coach”.

This comes after he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2008, alongside his wife, Jane.

Jane died months later after suffering complications from surgery, but her legacy is long-lasting thanks to The McGrath Foundation, which she and Glenn established in 2001.

The McGrath Foundation, of which Glenn still serves as president, raises money to fund and invest in the professional development of McGrath Breast Care Nurses across Australia to “ensure people with breast cancer receive the highest standard of care”.

Simon Crean

Simon Crean

Photo: AAP

The late former Labor leader was awarded an AC for “eminent service to the people and Parliament of Australia, to tertiary education, to business, and to industrial relations”.

The honour comes almost a year after Crean’s death at age 74.

A unionist-turned-politician, Crean retired from the Labor Party in 2013 after more than two decades on the frontbench.

He was remembered for his passion for the labour movement, having played a key role in bringing about the Accord between unions and employers in 1983.

Greg Combet

net-zero agency

Photo: AAP

The former Labor climate change minister was awarded an AO for “distinguished service to the people and Parliament of Australia, and to the banking and superannuation industries”.

He had previously been appointed an AM in 2006.

Last year Combet was picked to chair the Net Zero Agency, established by the government to ensure workers, industries and communities don’t miss out on any benefits during the push to reach net-zero carbon emissions.

In January, he was appointed the chair of Australia’s Future Fund; Combet had previously held chair roles at Industry Super Australia and IFM Investors.

Karen Canfell

Photo: X/@CCNewSouthWales

The director of the Daffodil Centre and University of Sydney professor was awarded an AC for “eminent service to medicine as an epidemiologist, particularly through cancer research, to tertiary education, and as a mentor and leader.”

Canfell’s research aims to eliminate cervical cancer in Australia and around the world.

Cancer Council NSW said her research underpinned Australia’s 2017 transition from Australia’s National Cervical Screening Program from pap smears to five-yearly HPV-based screening tests.

She has worked with the World Health Organisation to scale up HPV vaccinations, cervical screenings and cervical cancer elimination.

She previously told The Guardian the elimination of cervical cancer was about “equity”.

“It’s about reaching those groups who often miss screening including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, LGBTQ+ people, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” she said.

Sir Jonathan Mills

Photo: X/@CreativeUK_News

The composer was given an AC “for eminent service to international cultural leadership and diplomacy, to the performing arts, to philanthropic ventures, and to tertiary education”.

Mills was knighted in the Queen’s 2013 Birthday Honours for his services to culture, and had also previously been awarded an AO.

The latter honour was not a first in Mills’ family; his father, heart surgeon Frank Harland Mills, was also awarded an AO in 1990.

The younger Mills has composed award-winning operas and worked as a director of several music and arts festivals in Australia and the UK, including the Edinburgh International Festival from 2007 until 2014.

Dr Sonja Hood

Photo: AAP

The president of North Melbourne Football Club has been awarded an AM for “significant service to community through social welfare organisations, and to sports administration”.

Having held senior roles in organisations ranging from the National Health and Medical Research Council to Diving Victoria, Hood became the fourth woman to lead an AFL club’s board and the Kangaroos’ first in 2022.

She has also been the CEO of Community Hubs since 2015, a not-for-profit organisation that works to foster connection between individuals and communities.

Bachar Houli

Photo: Getty

The former AFL player was awarded an OAM for “service to the Islamic community, to multiculturalism, and to Australian rules football”.

Houli is known as the first practising Muslim to play in the AFL, following in the footsteps of fellow Muslim players Adam Yze and Sedat Sir.

Having started his career with Essendon in 2007, he retired as a Richmond player in 2021.

Following his retirement, Houli’s impact as a prominent Muslim footy player lives on through the not-for-profit Bachar Houli Foundation, which he established in 2012 to help young Muslims get involved in organised sport.

Sarina Russo

Photo: X/@operation_rosie

The businesswoman and property magnate was awarded an AM “for significant service to business, to the community, and to vocational education and training.”

Russo is one of Australia’s richest women, with a net worth of $271 million thanks to her employment, training and education company Sarina Russo Group, and her extensive property portfolio.

Russo has also had been part of several controversies in recent years.

In January, she drew ire from the Australians struggling in the midst of a cost-of-living crunch for posting a video telling people to get jobs, and in 2022 she told Brisbane residents to exercise to get their endorphins up after severe flooding hit the city.

Perhaps most significantly, in 2017 Russo was revealed to be the businesswoman who had invited then-health minister Sussan Ley for two New Year’s Eve events on the Gold Coast, for which taxpayers footed the travel bill.

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