Melbourne’s ex-lord mayor Robert Doyle loses Order of Australia over sex-harassment probe’s findings

Robert Doyle denied the allegations but didn't survive the probe's findings. <i>Photo: Getty</i>

Robert Doyle denied the allegations but didn't survive the probe's findings. Photo: Getty Photo: Getty

Disgraced former Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle has been stripped of a high-ranking Australian title after he was found to have behaved in a sexually inappropriate way towards women.

Mr Doyle was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2017 for service to the people of Melbourne through local government and his contribution to youth, social welfare and medical research foundations.

In a notice posted to the Australia Gazette on Friday, Governor-General David Hurley terminated Mr Doyle’s appointment late last month.

Separate investigations by the City of Melbourne and Department of Health found Mr Doyle behaved inappropriately towards three women, including two councillors and a woman at a Melbourne Health awards ceremony in 2016.

He did not take part in any of the inquiries, citing his mental health, but vigorously denied the allegations he had groped and propositioned the women. He resigned as lord mayor in February 2018.

Under the Council of the Order of Australia’s constitution, the Governor-General can terminate an appointment or cancel an award if they deem the holder has behaved in a way that brought “disrepute” on the order.

About 50 awards have been terminated or cancelled since 1975, while others have been given back voluntarily.

Apology minus details

Other grounds for termination or cancellation include if a holder is convicted of a crime or offence, or an “adverse” finding is made against them by a court, tribunal or other body exercising judicial or administrative power.

The former Victorian opposition leader and Liberal MP apologised for his actions in 2021 in a radio interview but declined to address the specific findings made against him.

The governor-general’s office has been contacted for comment.


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