(Image: AAP/Daniel Munoz)

This is part two of a three part series. To read part one, go here.

Inq has trawled through the Order of Australia awards made to politicians in the Australia Day and Queen’s Birthday honours of 2019 and 2020.

A total of 62 honours were awarded: 42 to Liberals or Nationals and 20 to the ALP and independents. This means two-thirds of all gongs went to conservative parliamentarians.

There was a large difference in the distribution. In the most prestigious categories, the AC and the AO, Liberals and Nationals were given 14 of 18 awards.

State by state one statistic stands out: all West Australian state awards went to Lib/Nat politicians (except for one independent) and none went to WA state Labor figures.

In theory the criteria for an award are:

  • demonstrated achievement at a high level
  • made a contribution over and above what might be reasonably expected through paid employment, or
  • made a voluntary contribution to the community which stands out from other volunteers.

The results of the top two categories are:

AC (Companion of the Order of Australia)

Liberal/LNP/National party:

  • Tony Abbott
  • Warren Truss. 


  • Kevin Rudd.

AO (Officer of the Order of Australia)

Liberal/LNP/National party

  • Ted Baillieu
  • Campbell Newman  
  • Barry O’Farrell
  • Amanda Vanstone
  • Mike Baird
  • Bronwyn Bishop
  • Ron Boswell
  • Denis Napthine
  • Philip Ruddock
  • Gary Humphries
  • Tony Nutt
  • Nick Minchin.


  • Graham Richardson
  • Anna Burke
  • Paul Henderson.

In the Member of the Order of Australia category there were 23 awards. 14 to Liberal/LNP/National politicians, including Charles Kemp, a former director of the Institute of Public Affairs who was a senator from 1990 to 2008; former Howard government minister Peter Reith; and Lawrence Springborg, one-time leader of the Queensland LNP. 

Six went to former ALP members including former NSW Upper House leader Meredith Burgmann and former Victorian Legislative Assembly member Kay Setches. Three independents received awards.

In the Medal Category OAM there were 21 awards: 14 to Libs/Nats and seven to the ALP.

Next: Bettina Arndt AM and the shame file