Australia Day Honours List 2021: we find treasure

From new forms of media to honouring elders, this year's award list is muted but touched with joy and melancholy.

This year’s Australia Day honours list is dominated by the appointment of Margaret Court for her second gong, as the whole of Australia now knows after a collective gasp of shock, at least radiating from our capital cities. The problem being that she is a Pentecostal pastor who takes the homophobic bits of Leviticus to be gospel truth and leaves out all the other ugly injunctions, as comedians have noticed. 

She was nominated by the community, investigated by staff of the G-G’s office and passed to the 19-member Council for the Order of Australia. As the ABC points out, Malcolm Turnbull happily reminds the public that he got his (rather more prestigious) medal for advancing the cause of same-sex marriage in the same batch. While the Council carries representatives from the state governments, and the federal bureaucracy including the Top Military Person, it has has seven members appointed by the Prime Minister. So the ultimate tone of the group can vary hugely. 

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David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.