Kay Hull recognised with second-highest honour in Queen’s Birthday Awards

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Kay Hull spent 12 years as the federal Member for Riverina, but it is for her work after politics that has earned her the second highest award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours today.

Her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) eclipses the recognition she received as a Member (AM) in 2015.

Since retiring from politics in 2010 she has chaired boards focusing on palliative care, research in the agriculture sector and developing policy around alcohol and other drugs.

As the Chairwoman of the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs since 2014, she said she was proud of the Advisory’s community driven approach to drive policy making.

“And hearing that and trying to channel that, that we will turn into policy that can give benefit back to those people.”

In the area of health, Ms Hull said she has also backed initiatives to get a medical school in Wagga Wagga, where she lives, and better recognition for rural and regional GPs more generally.

Overall Ms Hull, who grew up in Guyra in the NSW New England region, said it is a passion for regional and rural communities that drives everything she does.

“I always felt that every child should have the choice to live and work in rural and regional and remote Australia, if that was their choice.

“I’ve always had this very strong feeling that rural and regional remote voices have not been heard loudly enough, and I’ve always tried to channel that voice in the best interests of delivering outcomes.”

Making up 44 per cent of the recipients on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this year, Ms Hull is among a record number of women to receive an award.

She agreed it is a positive development.

“Women are the backbone of the majority of communities,” she said.

Women needed in federal politics

As for the role women should play in federal politics, she urged women not to be deterred by the reported misogynistic culture of parliament, something she said she did not experience.

“We desperately need to be there because we do provide a balance.

“Let the women be in there and part of the change.”

Riverina represented in list

Among the other Riverina residents to be recognised in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours list are Associate professor Fay McMillan from Coolamon who is being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her work on indigenous mental health and tertiary education.

Receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) include Deniliquin’s Jeanette Crew for her work on Indigenous culture and conservation, Kerrie Ann Ford from Holbrook to for her service to community history and Mulwala’s Vivian Spilva for her community work in the arts and health. 

Batlow’s John William Melrose will also be awarded an OAM for his service to the community through multiple local groups, as will Arthur Owen from Tocumwal for service to cricket.