Broadcaster Kerry O’Brien rejects Australia Day honour

Respected journalist Kerry O’Brien has rejected his Australia Day award telling the award organisers that their decision to give religious leader Margaret Court Australia’s highest honour was “deeply insensitive” and “divisive”.

On Sunday the former host of the ABC’s Lateline and 7:30 Report wrote to the Governor General’s secretary Paul Singer and informed them he would be turning down his appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia.

“Margaret Court was a great tennis player who thrilled most Australians in her tennis years including me, but her hurtful and divisive criticisms relating to the fundamental rights of the LGBTQ+ community are clearly repugnant to many Australians,” O’Brien wrote.

“I believe the decision to present her with this award was deeply insensitive and must undermine community respect for awards that were created to celebrate a true spirit of community, not divide it.”

O’Brien’s decision to reject the award follows Canberra doctor Clara Tuck Meng Soo returning her Order of Australia medal that was given to her in 2016. In 2018 she became one of the first GP’s in Australia to transition gender.

The broadcaster has had one of the most successful careers in journalism in Australia having been the recipient six Walkley Awards during his career.

OIP Staff

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