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Australian of the Year Awards

Australian Honours

The Australian Honours system celebrates individuals who rise above the everyday and mark the extraordinary in our society. Awards are announced twice a year, on Australia Day and also on the Queen’s Birthday.

What is the Order of Australia?

Australia established its own honours system, the Order of Australia, on 14 February 1975 ‘for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service’. Prior to this time, Australians were honoured under the British or Imperial Honours system.

There are four levels of awards within the Order of Australia to recognise commitment and achievement. These are:

  • Companion (AC) for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large
  • Officer (AO) for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large
  • Member (AM) for service in a particular locality or field of activity or to a particular group
  • Medal (OAM) for service worthy of a particular recognition.

Who can be nominated for an award within the Order of Australia?

Any individual or organisation may nominate an Australian citizen for an award in the Order of Australia. The Order operates on the principles of independence and freedom from political patronage. Nominations are received throughout the year and usually take between 18 months and 2 years to process.

Nominations are assessed in Canberra by the Council for the Order of Australia, which meets twice-yearly to consider all nominations and make recommendations to the Governor-General on who should receive awards in the Order of Australia. The Council also recommends the level of award.

For further information visit Its an Honour website or call the Honours Secretariat’s 24 hour toll-free number on 1800 552 275.

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Australian of the Year Awards