The majority (85%) of respondents said there was merit in having a system of Honours and Awards.
However, many respondents had lost faith and viewed it as biased, elitist and partisan, making it out of touch with the broader Australian community.
Many respondents rejected the idea that awards should be given to those who are “just” doing their job but should be reserved for voluntary, selfless and extraordinary contributions to our community.
Attributes that respondents identified as most worthy of recognition by the Awards were positive and inspirational community involvement; those who exemplify values of inclusion and social cohesion; personal integrity; and those who exemplify values of justice and fairness.
Respondents believe that the Honours system fails to adequately represent women (90%), Indigenous people (86%) and younger Australians (57%). Eighty-five percent (85%) felt the Honours system fails to reflect Australia’s cultural diversity.
Recent controversial appointments, such as Tony Abbott, Bettina Arndt and Bronwyn Bishop, and the current Council for the Order of Australia membership, have reinforced perceptions of the system as outdated, exclusive and rewarding the “few” rather than the “many”.
76% of respondents agreed that politicians should be excluded from receiving awards.
Over 90% of respondents said there was a clear case for reforming the Council for the Order of Australia.
‘The decision-making body, The Council is not at all representative of the Australian community. It is significantly representative of existing power structures, white privilege and political connections.’ – Survey respondent