ELECTION analyst Antony Green may have to get his bow tie out for a very different occasion today — to receive a Queen’s Birthday Honour.
On Monday Green was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his service to the community as a “key interpreter of Australian democracy”.
He was among 900 to receive an honour today including Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, outgoing BHP Billiton Chairman Jacques Nasser, actress Cate Blanchett and fashion designer Collette Dinnigan.
Born in Cheshire, England, Green has managed to become an integral part of Australian life since he moved to Australia in 1964, analysing election results for the ABC and famously donning a bow tie to deliver his verdict on the winner.
Having studied mathematics and politics at the University of Sydney, he joined the national broadcaster in 1989.
Green’s first election night TV appearance was analysing the 1991 NSW state election — a nerve-racking performance which gave him a good grounding for his first federal election broadcast in 1993.
Having chalked up almost 70 election night broadcasts, he says what interests him the most about elections is the notion of power.
“For all the public cynicism about politics, casting a vote is still the only time when we are all equal. No matter how rich or how poor, how weak or powerful, we all have one vote only,” he said.
“Achieving change by peaceful means is preferable to revolution and is why elections and democracy should be cherished rather than sneered at.”
The flow of vote data on election night gets Green’s adrenalin running.
“I like to describe election night as being bungee jumping for intellectuals — you leap into the void tethered only by the data link to the electoral commission.”
Green was just four years old when he came to Australia, just before The Beatles tour of Australia.
“My earliest memory in life is everyone clustering around a television in Dundas Migrant Hostel (in Sydney’s northern suburbs) to watch The Beatles arrive,” he said.
“My parents got their better life and I got the education and opportunity that I doubt I would ever have had in my home town.
“My parents have passed on in recent years, both too young. They didn’t say it much but they were proud of what I have achieved, and would have been very proud that I received this award.”
WHO ELSE MADE THE 2017 LIST?
QANTAS CEO ALAN JOYCE
AS the CEO of Australia’s national carrier Qantas, Alan Joyce is used to having every decision he makes scrutinised and often criticised.
More recently, the Irish-born mathematician even came under fire — almost literally — for speaking up about marriage equality.
But today Joyce is at last feeling the embrace of his adopted country, after being made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) — the highest honour — for his services to “aviation and tourism, to gender equity, inclusion and diversity, and to the community, particularly as a supporter of indigenous education”.
An Australian citizen since 2003, Joyce said he was “truly honoured” by the award which he dedicated to the entire Qantas workforce.
“(This award) recognises the work of thousands of people who make Qantas an institution that Australians can rightly be proud of,” Joyce said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to spend all of my professional life working in aviation and the majority of that at the national carrier.
“It’s a privilege to promote this country to the world through transport.”
Joyce arrived in Australia from Dublin in 1996 to work for the now-defunct Ansett, moving to Qantas in 2000.
His love of the complex algorithms used to run an international airline was put to good use as head of Network Planning and Strategy, and he was soon promoted to head up low-fares carrier Jetstar.
In 2008, Joyce became Qantas CEO — and a household name, particularly after his controversial grounding of the Qantas fleet in 2011 to end months of union warfare.
Joyce also oversaw the Flying Kangaroo’s worst annual loss on record in 2014 — and the best, just two years later — in one of the biggest corporate turnarounds in Australian history.
Now Qantas’s longest serving CEO, Joyce has no plans to retire from the job he loved.
“Aviation can be such a force for good because it’s ultimately about connecting people, and that
encourages a diversity of ideas that makes Australia the kind of place it is today,” he said.
And Joyce promised to continue speaking up about marriage and gender equality — despite copping a cream pie to the face in Perth last month, and the wrath of tennis great turned church leader Margaret Court.
“The notion of a ‘fair go’ has to be one of the most important Australian values, and it’s been a big driver behind my work promoting equality,” Joyce said.
“We’re lucky to live in a very accepting, open society and we need to keep championing the need for everyone to share in the same opportunities.”
CATE BLANCHETT: She is one of the most talented actresses of her generation.
The 48-year-old stage and screen veteran has been winning accolades — and rewriting record books — ever since she took home the Sydney Theatre Critics’ Best Newcomer Award in 1993 for her performance in Kafka Dances.
And today Blanchett has received another honour — a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
DEBORAH MAILMAN: For a new generation of indigenous actors, Deborah Mailman has been their North Star — shining bright and leading the way, over the 25 years of her brilliant TV and film career.
The Mount Isa-born, QUT graduate has been a fixture on stage and screen — honoured today with an Order of Australia medal, for her significant service to the performing arts as an actor, as a role model for indigenous performers, and to the community.
Fashion designer Collette Dinnigan has achieved a lot in her 30-year career but being included on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, she says, is one of the biggest things to have happened to her.
The New Zealander has been appointed an Officer (AO) in the General Division for her work as a designer and entrepreneur, but also as a supporter and promoter of Australian wool, and for being a role model to other women.
“It suddenly makes me feel a bit older,” Dinnigan told AAP.
“I always feel like I’m still so playful and full of adventure and I don’t feel old at all.
“You don’t get something as recognisable as this bestowed upon you when you’re a youth, it takes time to actually accomplish what I did.
“Sometimes you think you might get accolades within your industry but not something from the country.”
But it is the country that has honoured her, a country she has called home since the early 90s and whose wool she has championed.
“I wouldn’t choose to live in Australia if I wasn’t proud of Australia and what Australians do,” she said.
“Many years ago I was on the board of the South Australian wool board and I was a firm believer of working with the best, and I think Woolmark now is recognised as the finest wool in the world and it’s used by the top designers.”
Dinnigan is joined on the honours list by fellow fashion designer George Gross and his twin sister Kathy Gross.
George Gross, who established a fashion label in Adelaide in 1973 alongside Harry Watt, dressed Princess Diana and co-designed the Qantas uniform in 1994.
Gross has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division for his work in the fashion industry, as has his sister, a co-director of their company.
Both are also being honoured for their support of several charities including MS Research Australia, Junior Diabetes Research Foundation and Gut Foundation of Australia.
BHP CHAIRMAN JACQUES NASSER
Outgoing BHP Billiton Chairman Jacques Nasser has been named a Companion of the Order of Australia for his leadership in the mining sector, development of sustainable policies and philanthropy.
US-based Mr Nasser made his name during a 33-year career at the Ford Motor Company, before leading BHP through its recent age of plenty. He became a director in 2006 and chairman in 2010, a role he has announced he will step down from later this year.
Mr Nasser has played an integral role in establishing new standards of accountability and then profitability in the Australian mining industry, as the unprecedented China commodities boom took hold during his years of stewardship. He told shareholders last year of his intention to step down from the mining giant, but ultimately stayed on to oversee the company’s response to the Samarco dam disaster in Brazil.
The Lebanese-born, Melbourne-raised businessman joined Ford Australia as a financial analyst in 1968, and worked his way around the world and to the top of the Ford Motor Company, joining its board and then becoming president and ultimately CEO from 1998 to 2001.
Once known as “Jac the Knife” because of his cost-cutting during the lean years at Ford, Mr Nasser is a committed philanthropist, funding the Jacques Nasser Scholarship in Entrepreneurship at RMIT, the Jacques Nasser Scholarship for MBA students at the American University of Beirut, and the Jacques Nasser Scholarship at France’s INSEAD School of Business.
DAVID MORGAN: Former Ford Australia boss David Morgan has been recognised for helping to wean the city of Geelong off its reliance on the local car industry.
ROSS GARNAUT: He might not be a household name but for close to three decades the economist has made a significant impact to our country.
In fact, many credit Australia’s influence and economic ties in Asia to the Professor.
Author or editor of more than 48 books, the 70-year-old is being awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours “for eminent service to the community as a leading international economist in the area of energy efficiency and climate change policy, to the development of Australia-Asia Pacific relations, and through contributions to social and political discourse”.
He is probably best known as the man behind the Abbott Government’s controversially tough but successful “stop the boats” border protection program.
But Lieutenant General Angus Campbell is more than that as a strategic reforming military leader, widely respected as a “soldier’s soldier” who has inspired a generation of young troops both in his frontline duties and in his current role as chief of Army.
MICHAEL COPPEL AND PAUL DAINTY: They both got into music and theatre for the love of it and between them have brought some of the biggest acts in the world to Australia.
The music entrepreneurs been honoured for their services to live concerts, comedy and theatre production.
DONALD CROMBIE: Without Donald Crombie, there would be no Oscar nominated Jacki Weaver, no legend Jack Thompson, no Lion.
Now the director’s decades of work have been recognised with a Queen’s Birthday honour.
MICHAEL EBEID: Born in Cairo, Egypt and moving with his family to Australia at the age of three, SBS boss Michael Ebeid is just the kind of migrant success story celebrated on the public broadcasting channel he has run since 2011.
With 30 years experience in media, technology and telecommunications the managing director has been acknowledged with an AM, Member of the Order of Australia, for his significant service to the broadcast media and multicultural affairs as an executive, innovator and business leader.
MARK FENNESSEY: Endemol Shine chief executive Mark Fennessy has been recognised for his significant service to the broadcast media industry as an entrepreneur, innovator and production executive.
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