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Warnie, Barty join pandemic heroes with highest Queen's birthday honours

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Three health officials who oversaw Australia’s Covid-19 response are among those named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

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Former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy, former Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young and NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant all feature prominently for their work guiding Australia through the pandemic.

Dr Murphy is among eight Australians achieving the prestigious Companion (AC) of the Order, having been CMO between 2016 and 2020. He was one of the nation’s most prominent public faces of the initial pandemic response.

Dr Young, appointed an AC, was Queensland’s top health official for some 16 years until 2021, and has since become the state’s governor.

Dr Chant has been NSW’s CHO since 2008, and has been appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order.

The 992-person list recognises people from a wide range of fields including sport, with the late Shane Warne posthumously appointed an AO.

Warne’s nod comes not just for his elite cricketing career in which he took 708 Test wickets, but also for his service to the community through charitable initiatives.

Other AC appointments include plant biologist and ecologist Patricia Selkirk for her services to conservation in researching Antarctic and sub-Antarctic ecosystems, chief defence scientist Tanya Monro and former deputy prime minister John Anderson.

In the military division, Vice Admiral Lance Johnston was appointed AC as a highly-skilled strategic military planner and a champion of the Defence Capability System.

Military personnel were also honoured for their efforts in evacuating over 4100 people from Kabul as it fell back under Taliban control.

West Australian Carmen Lawrence, who was the first woman to become a state premier, is among the political honourees.

She has been appointed an AO and is joined on the list by former attorney-general Robert McClelland (AO), former speaker of the House of Representatives Stephen Martin (AO) and former National Party federal president Larry Anthony (AO).

Retired tennis star Ash Barty was appointed an AO after wrapping up her career as a three-time grand slam singles champion, having claimed this year’s Australian Open crown.

Other sportspeople honoured include golfer Adam Scott, cricketer Doug Walters, skier Jakara Anthony and Australia women’s cricket captain Meg Lanning.

“Recipients share some common traits – including selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service,” Governor-General David Hurley said.

“They’re from different backgrounds, their stories are each unique, and each has served in different ways … this diversity is a strength and each has impacted their community and made it better.

“Collectively the recipients, whose achievements span community service, science and research, industry, sport, the arts and more, represent the very best of Australia.”

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