North Sydney Electorate: Australia Day Awards

  • February 25, 2020

I rise today to congratulate those in my electorate who were honoured on Australia Day this year by their appointment to the Order of Australia. These awards and honours highlight that, as Australians, we are all part of something greater than ourselves. I’d particularly like to recognise Professor Bruce Robinson—one of five Australians to be awarded the highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia—for his eminent service to medical research and national health care. Professor Robinson’s distinguished career includes his time as the dean of the University of Sydney medical school, the head of the cancer genetics unit at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research and his current contribution as chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce. I thank him for his service to our community, which he continues today as a practising endocrinologist and as a director of various medical research organisations.

Time doesn’t permit me to outline the extensive contribution of all the recipients from North Sydney, although I would like to mention two others in more detail. The first is Sister Monica Cavanagh, the congregational leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, who received an OAM. I know she would see this award as recognition for the work of all the sisters, who today carry forward the work and ethos of their founder, St Mary MacKillop. They represent the very best of the selflessness and dedication of all who are called to the service of their faith and church. Their leadership in areas like education, supporting the vulnerable and helping Indigenous communities and through their overseas missions is just inspiring. It has been a great pleasure for me to get to know Sister Monica and all those who have followed the path of St Mary of the Cross in North Sydney.

I also want to mention Paul Hackett, a resident of Artarmon, as his lifework represents the very best of community service. His OAM was awarded for his volunteer work with so many organisations, including the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Leukaemia Foundation, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Youth Off The Streets, Lane Cove community aid, Apex Australia, the Lane Cove Lions Club, the Wayside Chapel and the Leichhardt Rowing Club. He has done all these things without the expectation of any recognition because service to others is just something he believes is the right thing to do. It is people like Paul Hackett who make our community so strong. I was pleased to acknowledge his work a few years ago at my own North Sydney community awards, although I suspect the OAM will have a slightly more prominent place on his mantelpiece.

They are joined in my electorate by John Bevins, Pierre Chapuis, Christine Franks, Catherine Inglis, Robyn Sexton, Julie Steiner, Phillip Cocks, Alan Locke, Peter Maniscalco, Deborah Niland, Kerry Robinson, Samiul Sorrenti, Edwin Wilson, Michael Wilson, James Yu and Brigadier Peter Connor. I’m honoured to be able to congratulate these recipients, who were recognised for such a diverse range of contributions, including to the multicultural community, mental health and suicide prevention. They are a fine group of citizens.