World leading melanoma pathologist Professor Richard Scolyer, who has been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2021 for his ground-breaking work on skin cancer research and treatments. Photo: AAP Image/Supplied, Melanoma Institute Australia
Australia.- For the first time in history the Order of Australia Hounours List had more women recipients than ever.
Out of the 947 awards, 44 per cent went to women; the highest percentage since the Order of Australia institution was created in 1975 by then-prime minister Gough Whitlam.
Among the personalities awarded in today’s ceremony were actor Chris Hemsworth, former rugby league player and federal senator Glenn Lazarus, and manyl volunteer firefighters who battled the 2020 bushfires. Of the most notable Australians to receive awards was Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin.
Two-time WNBA and AFLW champion Erin Phillips was honoured for her contribution and excellence in both sports, including former AFL player and coach Neale Daniher, now a campaigner for motor neurone disease research.
Governor-General David Hurley, acknowledged that previous criticisms of a bias towards men mainly being awarded were valid.
“It is important that the Order of Australia represents the diversity and strength of Australia,” he said.
“I am prioritising increasing awareness of and engagement with the Order of Australia amongst groups that have been historically underrepresented.”
Among the recipients this year, were 13 esteemed Greek Australians who excelled in the areas of community service, visual arts, health, architecture and sport.
Fronditha Care’s CEO, Faye Spiteri-Tsolakis has also been recognised in the category Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division, for service to the community through social change organisations.
Faye Spiteri stated soon after the announcement that “It is humbling to know that I have the respect and regard of my mentors and all those who have encouraged me throughout my career and life and who thought so well of me as to nominate me for such an honour. I have always been passionate about social justice and social change and had the opportunities to be able to make a difference. I’m truly humbly proud to be recognised in this way.”
Ms Spiteri’s contribution spans various sectors and disciplines. She has been the chair of inTouch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence making a significant contribution to the lives of thousands of women. She has also held a number of professional and advisory roles such as: Non-Executive Director, Parkinson’s Victoria; Non-Executive Director, Centre for Muslim Wellbeing, Yarra Action Plan, Resilient Cities and Towns, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria, 2019 – 2021, among many others. At Fronditha Care, Ms Spiteri has held a number of roles including CEO since February 2021, and she was the first female President of the organisation. Other awards received by Ms Spiteri include the Australian Multicultural Marketing Awards; an Inductee of the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll in 2019; and the Victorian Premier’s Achievement Award in 2001.
Maria Alexiadis from Victoria was another Greek Australian woman to receive the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to karate while Helen Patsikatheodorou was awarded for service to the community of Hume.
Moreover, Arthur Papadimitriou was recognised for service to the galleries sector in Victoria and George Amarandos from Queensland was distinguished for service to his state’s Greek Community.
The list of Officers (AO) in the general division also includes Leonard George Notaras for distinguished service to medical administration in the Northern Territory, and to professional organisations.
The Members (AM) list in the general Division saw Epaminondas Katsalidis from Victoria receive recognition for significant service to architecture, and to sustainable construction innovations.
Melbournian, Lee Christofis has been awarded this year in the category Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for his significant service to the performing arts, and dance in specific.
Similarly, John George Kotzas from Queensland, received a medal for significant service to the performing arts as an administrator and artistic director.
Andrew Papadopoulos from New South Wales was awarded for significant service to motorsport, and to driver safety and education.
Dr Costas Costa has been awarded in the category Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division as well for service to medicine as a general practitioner.
Dr Michelle Cretikos, also from NSW, has been awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) and was named in the special COVID-19 Honour Roll for outstanding public service to community health in her state.
Finally, Evie Georgas has been awarded the Australia Corrections Medal (ACM) for her work with the Queensland Corrective Services (QCS).