Australia’s best and brightest honoured in Queen’s Birthday Honours


Hollywood star Cate Blanchett and the man who brought Qantas back to life are among those being recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year.
The big names are among a list of almost 900 Australians being recognised today.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce, who recently copped a pie in the face by a protester railing against corporate support for same-sex marriage, has been appointed a Companion of the Order
of Australia (AC) for his
service to gender equity and diversity.
Despite the attack, and pressure from senior Federal Government figures, the
Irish-born businessman has refused to back down on
Qantas’ public support for gay marriage.
He has also been recognised for his services to the aviation and tourism industries, after turning around the flying kangaroo’s fortunes from a record loss in 2013-14.
Award-winning actor Blanchett has also been recognised for her service to the performing arts, as well as her support for humanitarian and environmental causes.
Meanwhile, fashion designer Collette Dinnigan has been appointed an Officer in the General Division for her work as a designer and entrepreneur, and a supporter and promoter of Australian wool.
Some of the lesser-known recipients include the winemaker behind Penfolds Grange, Peter Gago, for his service to the wine industry and the community of South Australia.
There’s also New South Wales couple Ian and Christine Lofts, presented with the Order of Australia Medal for their half-century of service to foster children.
The pair have fostered nearly 400 children in 50 years, including a two-day-old baby, children with special needs and hundreds of others from various backgrounds.
“We just can’t believe that we’ve been nominated for something that Ian and I just love so much in our everyday lives, we just find that incredible,” Christine Lofts told AAP.
“It has totally enriched our lives.”
There’s also bittersweet recognition for veteran gay rights activist Peter Bonsall-Boone, who died just weeks before receiving the honour after a long cancer illness.
The 78-year-old, known as Bon, and his partner Peter de Waal have been appointed Members of the Order of Australia after decades of tireless work as advocates for the gay and lesbian community.
Mr Bonsall-Boone worked for a decade through the 1980s helping young men with AIDS in their final stages of life.
Mr de Waal said his partner was thrilled about the nomination and lived to find out he was going to receive the award.
But he was not completely satisfied when he died.
“Bon certainly died being very disappointed that we were not able to be married, and to wipe away the label we were carrying for all those years in different ways under different circumstances as second-class citizens,” Mr de Waal said.

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