Australian Economy

‘The very best of Australia’: For-purpose sector honoured on Queen’s Birthday

The Queen’s Birthday 2022 Honours List has recognised 992 Australians, with more than 43 per cent of the general division acknowledging community service.

Hundreds of Australians from across the spectrum of the social economy have been recognised for their work, with the Queen’s Birthday 2022 Honours List acknowledging contributions to community, charity, philanthropy, social enterprise and impact investing.

Of note to the social sector, philanthropist Gina Fairfax was appointed to the highest order for eminent service to the community through leadership roles in charitable organisations, as an advocate for philanthropy, to arts administration, and to regional development.

Former deputy prime minister and Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal co-founder John Anderson AO was also appointed an AC.

Others among those in the social sector to be recognised were former ​​Life Education Australia chair Tony Hasham AM (AO); Cancer Council Australia director Dr Ruth Shean (AO); Welcoming Australia founder and White Ribbon Australia executive director Brad Chilcott (AM); The Big Issue chair Sonya Clancy (AM); Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper (AM); former Mater Foundation CEO and FIA board chair Nigel Harris (AM); former Sir Zelman Cowen Centre director Professor Kathy Laster (AM); and Susan and Garry Rothwell (AM), who co-founded The Rothwell Family Foundation.

Good360 Australia founder and managing director Alison Covington who was appointed an AM for significant service to social welfare and sustainability programs, said it was nice to know that somebody was recognising the work that the sector was doing to lift other people up.

She said it was very humbling to be included in the list.

“You don’t expect to get that phone call, when you see all the other people who do absolutely amazing work in their field,” Covington told Pro Bono News.

“I think especially after the last couple of years, the sector has continued to step up as they have been asked to do much more after back to back disasters.

“Our sector is the sector that people turn to in need, and we’ve seen that more people are in need than ever, so I think it is great that people in our sector are recognised for the hard work they are doing.”

Also recognised were 2021 Impact 25 winner Asha Bhat (OAM) for service to the Indigenous community of Western Australia; Rosemary Kariuki (OAM) for service to the multicultural community; and Nyadol Nyuon (OAM) for service to human rights and refugee women.

Former Impact 25 winner Sister Brigid Arthur was appointed an AO for distinguished service to social welfare, particularly asylum seekers and refugees and to Catholic education. She told Pro Bono News it was “pretty extraordinary” to be recognised.

“The big thing for me is that it shines some light on the people in the community who are working hard about different issues and those who make a terrific contribution in those areas,” she said.

On the issue of asylum seekers she said Australia needed to change to become more welcoming and inclusive, but she added she was “cautiously optimistic” about the new change in government.

“I think we will still have some battles with the new government, but I believe that what they are saying sounds at least more humane and we do need to change the narrative that’s out there about people seeking asylum,” Arthur said.

Aside from celebrating those contributing to community, charity and philanthropy, impact investing was also acknowledged this year.

Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) board director Mans Carlsson received an OAM for service to the sustainable investment sector.

Dr Andrew Kuper was appointed an AO for distinguished service to the impact investing industry, to global business leadership, and to financial inclusion.

The founder and CEO of LeapFrog Investments, who is also acknowledged as being a co-founder of the industry, told Pro Bono News that the work everyone in the social impact space is doing is incredibly hard, and it is nice to get recognition, especially as part of a broader group of people.

“In addition to building LeapFrog through the years from nothing to today, I have tried to develop an industry, with a lot of collaborators obviously, from something that didn’t exist and was deeply misunderstood and seemed small and irrelevant into something that is moving into the trillions,” Kuper said.

“This has been an incredibly hard demanding journey but also an exhilarating one. And to get recognition like this for that hard work over 15 years and that passion and that commitment from me and many others in my team and beyond, is very exciting.”

In total, the Governor-General announced awards for 992 Australians aged from 23 to 101, including 669 in the General Division of the Order of Australia (eight AC, 33 AO, 200 AM and 428 OAM) – 43.6 per cent of which were for community service.

This year’s list included 307 women (46 per cent), which marks the second highest percentage of female Order of Australia recipients since the introduction of the Australian honours system in 1975.

The Governor-General David Hurley AC said the recipients represented “the very best of Australia”.

“Recipients share some common traits – including selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service,” he said.

“They’re from different backgrounds, their stories are each unique, and each has served in different ways. This diversity is a strength and each has impacted their community and made it better. For that, we thank them and, today, we celebrate them.”


Anyone can nominate any Australian for an award in the Order of Australia. If you know someone worthy, nominate them now at

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