Tony Abbott is among the 2020 Queen’s Birthday honours recipients. He was appointed a companion in the Order of Australia on Monday.
“This award doesn’t mark the end of my public service, it’s just that it now takes a different form, and I wear a number of different uniforms to do it,” the former prime minister said at the news.
Abbott was the 28th prime minister of Australia. After defeating Labor and Kevin Rudd at the 2013 election, he held the office for two years before being controversially deposed by Malcolm Turnbull in a Liberal Party leadership spill in 2015.
Tony Abbott remained in parliament as the Member for Warringah until he lost to Independent challenger Zali Steggall at the May 2019 election.
He served as the Warringah MP for over 25 years. In that time he served as Minister for Employment, Minister for Health, Leader of the House in the Howard government, before going on to be Leader of the Opposition and eventually Prime Minister.
The companion of the Order of Australia (AC) is Australia’s top award of recognition.
Tony Abbott joined on the Order of Australia list
There were two other recipients joining Tony Abbott with an AC this year. Sydney University chancellor Belinda Hutchinson was recognised for her contribution to education, business, science, and her philanthropy. Naomi Milgrom received the award for her work in arts, and philathropic efforts.
There were 50 general (civilian) recipients of the officer in the Order of Australia award. Among them were former Australia cricket captains Michael Clarke and Lyn Larsen, former NSW premier Bruce Baird, former federal parliamentarian Bronwyn Bishop, neuroscientist Professor Perry Bartlett, and Seven Group Holdings boss Ryan Stokes who is the son of Billionaire Kerry Stokes.
What is the Order of Australia?
The Order of Australia is the country’s most prestigious recognition for service to the nation. The awards are announced by the Governor-General each year on the Queen’s Birthday holiday. They make up a large part of what is known as the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours List recognised 933 Australians in 2020, including Tony Abbott. Included in the list are:
- 710 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia (3 AC, 50 AO, 200 AM and 457 OAM)
- 28 recipients of awards in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (3 AO, 12 AM and 13 OAM); and
- 128 meritorious awards.
“In this list we see all the positives that are in our community – we see the great ideas, we see the hard-work, we see the love and compassion for fellow human beings – it’s a microcosm of Australia,” Governor-General David Hurley said on the announcement of the 2020 honours.
“This list recognises a group of outstanding Australians who have made a contribution to their community, to Australia globally or domestically. Their efforts have been noted by their peers, they’ve been nominated and assessed independently as worthy of recognition,” he said.