Last year, when Richard Pratt was fined $36 million for price fixing, Prime Minister John Howard leapt to his defence: “He’s been very successful in business and my own dealings with him have always been very positive, and I like him.”

Safe in the knowledge that at least the deeply unpopular former Prime Minister still likes him, the filthy rich cardboard magnate has now done the manly thing and voluntarily sent back his Companion of the Order of Australia and other shiny medals.

After hearing that his awards were under review in light of his fine, the billionaire jumped the gun and resigned his awards voluntarily rather than suffer the indignity of being stripped.

Pratt has now earnt the dubious distinction of joining a short list of under thirty people who’ve resigned from or had their Order of Australia cancelled.

These people include characters sentenced to prison for corporate fraud, fraudsters who had made up military records and a former defence official jailed for three counts of dangerous driving occasioning death after he had concealed the fact that he suffered from epilepsy on his licence application forms. Not to mention Brian Burke.

The official reasons for termination or cancellation on the Governor General’s website include:

(1) The Governor-General may terminate an appointment, or cancel an award,
if a conviction for a crime or offence under:
(a) a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory or
(b) a law of a foreign country; has been recorded in relation to the holder of the appointment or award.

(4) The Governor-General may terminate an appointment, or cancel an award,
if, in the opinion of the Governor-General, the holder of the appointment or
award has behaved or acted in a manner that has brought disrepute on the
Order.

Crikey can think of at least one Order of Australia recipient who would fit the description of a “holder of the appointment or award has behaved or acted in a manner that has brought disrepute on the Order.” 

Steve Vizard, either you take your cue from your fellow disgraced business man and pop your medal into an envelope addressed to Yarralumla or risk being stripped, Alan Bond style.

Either way, the Vizard name should be added to the following list of Australians who’ve had their Order of Australia terminated:

  • Rodney Adler. The Sydney businessman and former director of HIH was given an award for his services to the insurance industry and philanthropy in 1999 but surrendered his award when the company collapsed and he was jailed. March 2005
  • Brian Anders. November 1995
  • Reginald Austin. (Former champion athlete who pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining over $90,000 as a superannuation agent.) June 1999
  • Raymond Ayles. April 1998
  • Alan Bond (Former billionaire, America’s Cup hero and Channel Nine owner was sentenced to four years’ jail in 1997 after pleading guilty to defrauding Bell Resources of $1.2 billion.) Feb 1997
  • Brian Burke. (Former Western Australia Premier sentenced to three years’ jail for stealing more than $122,000 in campaign donations) April 1995
  • Jack Diamond. February 1997
  • Reverend Monsignor Philip Green. (Resigned as a Member of the Order of Australia after being sentenced to three months’ jail (suspended) after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting a young man who was mourning the death of a sibling.) December 2005
  • Ross Gillett. (Former defence official was stripped of medal after being convicted of three counts of dangerous driving occasioning death after he ploughed into a car on Condamine Street, Manly Vale, killing Cameron Howie, 31, his wife, Shannon, 29, and their 15-month-old daughter, Michaela, on May 2 last year. Gillett had concealed the fact that he suffered from epilepsy on his licence application forms. The judge ruled that, while Gillett had an epileptic fit when he ran into several cars, killing three people, he was nevertheless fully aware he was risking lives by being on the road.) May 2007
  • Clarence Gluskie. (Disgraced psychiatrist who was found to have taken s-xual advantage of a vulnerable patient who was suffering from a marriage breakdown). June 2002 .
  • Roque Hammal — was awarded the Order of Australia in 2002 for service to the welfare of Vietnam veterans and their families, particularly in Western Australia but stripped of his medal in 2003 after it was revealed he had embellished the record of his military service, including medals. January 2003.
  • Keith Helgesen. November 2004
  • Noel Hobson. June 2002
  • William King. October 1993
  • Geoffrey McGibbon. (Was awarded the Order of Australia for his services to the Royal Lifesaving Association, but had it taken back last year after it was found he lied about having served with the SAS in Vietnam) December 2005
  • Barrie Miller. April 1993
  • Raymond O’Connor. (Another former Premier of Western Australia who was found guilty of stealing a $25,000 Bond Corp cheque and served six months in jail) October 1995
  • Kevin Parry. (Former Bond associate charged with stealing $75,000 from the Government Employees Superannuation Board in December 1993) May 1996
  • Neville Phillips. Nov 1994
  • Brian Quinn. (Former Coles Myer CEO who served 9 months’ jail after fraudulently obtaining cash to build his mansion.) June 1999
  • John Sweeney. June 1999
  • Alan Terrell. September 1994
  • Marion Watson. (Respected Canberra professional awarded the Order of Australia medal for her work as a drugs rehabilitation campaigner and administrator. Arrested in 1998 after she was found to be trafficking heroin to Canberra addicts, as well as nursing a $480 a day habit) February 2000
  • Raymond Williams. (Disgraced former HIH director convicted of misleading shareholders for his part in the insurance giant’s collapse) December 2005
  • Gerardus Wykamp. June 1994

Peter Fray

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