Famous Australians lead Queen’s Birthday Honours
After an unceremonious split from wife Kyly, former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke finally has something to celebrate this year - a gong from the Queen in her annual birthday honours list.
Clarke, a World Cup winning captain and the man behind a 5-0 Ashes whitewash, joins former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, former Senator Bronwyn Bishop and best-selling finance author Scott Pape in the honour roll released today.
Hundreds of Australians from scientists, to social justice crusaders, Olympians and actors were recognised, however our bushfire heroes will need to wait 12 months for their nod.
The process from nominations to awards can take between 12 to 18 months, meaning next year's list is expected to be littered with our brave firefighters and community heroes who worked tirelessly during our summer of devastation.
As the bushfire crisis unfolded, Pape - who has worked tirelessly to help educate millions of Australians on how to be better money managers - made a beeline for the fire-affected communities of Corryong, near the Upper Murray River.
There Pape, a volunteer firefighter with the Country Fire Association, met with locals and shared his own first hand experience from Black Saturday bushfires of 2009. The experience was aired in a Foxtel documentary special, Road To Recovery.
Pape, 42, received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for "service to the community, and to financial education".
The Victorian father-of-three has sold best-selling books including The Barefoot Investor: Five Steps to Financial Freedom and writes his Barefoot Investor column in News Corp's papers each week.
"I'm honoured and humbled to be recognised for my work and I'll do my best to teach Aussie kids of all ages how to win with money," Mr Pape said.
"This country needs a financial revolution and it needs to start with our kids."
He recently started working as a not-for-profit financial counsellor and said his fellow counsellors also deserved recognition for helping vulnerable Aussies with their money every single day.
"Times are tough in Australia, and as we enter a deep recession for the first time in a generation, they're about to get tougher," Mr Pape said.
For cricket great Clarke, he dedicated his Officer of the Order (AO) to his family ... and cricket fans.
Clarke's career included four years captaining the Australian team before his retirement in 2015. He is now a radio host with Big Sports Breakfast and authored Michael Clarke: My Story.
"It's such an honour and I guess another example of how I owe so much to the game of cricket," Clarke said.
"This game has given me so much and I certainly didn't expect, to live my dream and play a sport I grew up wanting to play game and to have it acknowledged and recognised in a manner like this."
Mr Clarke said he saw the award as being, not just for himself, but his friends, family and fans.
More than 930 people received honours with 41 per cent of the awards in the general division going to women.
Bronwyn Bishop was appointed an Officer of the Order (AO) in the Queen's Birthday Honours for her service to Parliament of Australia, the people of New South Wales and women in politics.
Ms Bishop left politics in 2016 after an almost 30-year career which included serving as speaker in the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2015.
She is now a political commentator at Sky News, chairs the Opera Foundation for Young Australians and is involved in an artificial intelligence company which helps people with disabilities.
Ms Bishop said she hoped her award would serve as an "inspiration to young women to enter public life and be proud of their country".
"I'm always pleased to see women putting their hand up and wanting to come in and the more the better, but I do insist it's always on merit and I think we're seeing that.
Notable awardees from Victoria include actress and singer Tottie Goldsmith (OAM) and from New South Wales, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott (AC), former premier Mike Baird (AO), Hornsby Shire Council mayor Philip Ruddock (AO), the late NSW chef Tony Bilson (OAM).
In Queensland hairdressing mogul Stefan Ackerie (AM) was honoured as well as spinal injury research figurehead Perry Cross (AM) and former chair of the Queensland Country Bank Board Bruno Cullen (AM).
Former New South Wales senator turned Sky News host Graham Richardson also received an AO for his contributions to the Parliament of Australia, the media as a commentator and his philanthropy.
Australian Governor-General David Hurley said the list recognised "a group of outstanding Australians who have made a contribution to their community, to Australian globally or domestically".
PERFORMING ARTS COMMUNITY WIDELY RECOGNISED
It's one of the most romantic scenes in movie history, as The Notebook's Ryan Gosling rows his on-screen sweetheart, Rachel McAdams, through a swan-filled lake at sunset.
Now imagine the movie's Australian screenwriter, Jan Sardi in the same boat in North Carolina, with the book's best-selling author, Nicholas Sparks at the helm - wooing him to sign on for the big screen adaptation.
Hollywood had come courting Sardi for the first time, back in 1996, after the international success of a little independent film called Shine, which won Geoffrey Rush and Oscar and became the passport for Sardi's extraordinary film and TV career celebrated in today's Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Travelling to New Bern, North Carolina where the book was set, Sardi told News Corp Australia how he flew to picturesque place which inspired the movie, years before the 2004 film would be made.
"Sparks met me and he was still a pharmaceutical salesman at that point. He said 'come on, I'll show where these scenes were set.'"
Laughing at the memory, Sardi said: "he and I rowed up the river in a boat and he was just a lovely guy, who'd taken a week off work to meet me so I could just research [the film]."
The gracious 67-year-old, who becomes an Order of Australia for his "distinguished service to the film and television industries as a screenwriter and director and to professional guilds", described the diversity of his film credits as "all a bit surreal." It began with Moving Out, his first film in 1982 about inner-suburban Melbourne (starring Vince Colosimo in his debut role) and ranged from the critically acclaimed Mao's Last Dancer to TV favourites, including The Flying Doctors, Embassy, Halifax and The Secret River.
"When I set out all those years ago, I thought I'd write one script and it would never get made. You never have a plan, or a career path but it's been really interesting the way you look back and suddenly see all the connections; but there's no way you could have planned it. Just like life, isn't it?" he said.
An Oscar and BAFTA nominee, he would also use his profile and platform as a 40-year member and long-serving president of the Australian Writers' Guild, championing local drama and stories.
"Australians are now spoiled for choice when it comes to big streaming companies. It's quite a critical time, but it's a time of great opportunity because the Government could, if they want to, follow the lead of other countries, and the billion dollars or so that the US streaming companies are making in Australia could go back into the industry.
With plans to celebrate with his daughters and grandchildren, Sardi's industry peers praised his award and recognition.
AWG president, Shane Brennan said: "Jan's brilliant career as a writer and his unstinting service to the AWG has been an inspiration, not just to screenwriters but to the wider film and television industry. Jan's writing has brought him worldwide recognition and has shone a spotlight on Australian storytelling that has benefited us all. It's wonderful that Jan's achievements are being recognised with this Australian honour.'
In other entertainment honours today, former artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company and acclaimed actor and director, Robyn Niven was recognised for her service to the performing arts and as a mentor and industry role model.
The Chantoozies singer, Tottie Goldsmith, was awarded an OAM, for her services to the community and performing arts - recognition in part for her charitable work as an ambassador for her aunt Olivia Newton-John's breast cancer wellness and research centre.
Originally published as Famous Australians lead Queen's Birthday Honours