Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Queen's Birthday Honours

Pink roses

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai—Minister for Skills and Training, Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology, Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, and Minister for Sport) (20:26): As this speech concerns Her Late Majesty the Queen's birthday honours, I begin by acknowledging her sad passing. The Queen will forever be connected to pivotal moments and events in our State's history, including officially opening this Parliament in 1954 and the Sydney Opera House in the 1970s. Each year on the sovereign's official birthday, Australia recognises those who have demonstrated exceptional achievements or outstanding service through bestowing the Order of Australia. All recipients share common traits, including selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service. They are from different backgrounds, their stories are unique and each has served in different ways. This diversity is a strength.

Each recipient has impacted their community and made it better. These outstanding people all share something else in common: Someone has taken the time to nominate them for recognition. The order belongs to each of us and we all have a part to play. The only way someone can be recognised through the Order of Australia is for someone to nominate them. I am grateful that many of these exemplary people reside in my Ku-ring-gai electorate community and were nominated and recognised in the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours List. The Companion of the Order of Australia is awarded for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or humanity at large. This year the award was received by Dr Patricia Selkirk, AAM, of Turramurra for eminent service to science and conservation through research of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems, to tertiary education, and as a mentor and champion for women.

The Member of the Order of Australia is awarded for service in a particular locality or field of activity, or to a particular group. These recipients included Mrs Helen Sjoquist of Wahroonga for significant service to the performing arts and youth; Mr Anthony Staveley of Turramurra for service to community health and people with a disability; and Professor Maria Fiatarone Singh of Wahroonga for her significant service to geriatric medicine, research and education. The Medal of the Order of Australia is awarded for service worthy of particular recognition. The deserving local recipients included Mr Joseph Botta of Wahroonga and Mr Robert Burnett of Turramurra for service to the community through a range of organisations, and Mrs Carolyn and Mr David Stedman of South Turramurra for service to children, particularly as foster parents. I congratulate all the recipients on this significant achievement and their enduring service to Australia and humanity at large in our local community.

The 2022 honours list recognised 992 Australians with awards for meritorious, distinguished and conspicuous service. I am pleased that eight of those brilliant people call Ku-ring-gai home. In my role as Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology, I have met many remarkable people across New South Wales who are contributing substantially to humanity through various STEM fields. In my role as the member for Ku-ring-gai, I have met many outstanding local volunteers, philanthropists and innovators. These experiences have given me great perspective on the brilliance that is found not only in the people of my community but also across New South Wales. I am pleased that the New South Wales Government is recognising and nurturing these skills with financial support, especially the historic levels of support through the 2022‑23 New South Wales budget, particularly through the Future Economy Fund. When we nurture these skills, we help to translate cutting‑edge ideas and research into real world solutions, from wi-fi to ultrasound, electronic pacemakers and even Google Maps—all of which were developed in Australia.

The purpose of the late Queen's birthday honours is to recognise these contributions and thank those who have delivered exceptional service to our community, Australia and the world across a variety of fields, from science to philanthropy. Once more, I thank all the recipients in this year's honours list for their service. I look forward to seeing further brilliance recognised next year and the continuing benefits to my local community and the broader community from the efforts of recipients.