Queens Birthday Honours recognise gender equity champion

Former president of MAV and the Australian Local Government Women’s Association Coral Ross has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Coral Ross

Ms Ross, one of Victoria’s longest serving councillors and current chair of the Australian Gender Equality Council, was honoured for her service to local government and gender equality.

Ms Ross served as a councillor for the City of Boroondara in Metropolitan Melbourne for more than 18 years including three terms as Mayor before retiring from local government last October.

She was elected as President of the Municipal Association of Victoria in 2019 and served as a board member of ALGA.

She has also served as National President of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association, Deputy Chair of the Australian Gender Equality Council and a director of the National Rural Women’s Coalition.

In 2018 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to improve gender equality in local government which enabled her to travel overseas just before covid hit last year to observe what’s being done in countries the US, Canada, UK, Sweden and Germany.

The trip has resulted in a mammoth 75-page report containing 33 recommendations to improve gender equality in local government which is currently being prepared for publication by the Churchill Trust.

An achievement for local government

Speaking to Government News, Ms Ross refused to view her AM as a personal achievement, saying it was an achievement instead for local government and gender equality.

“I’m delighted that local government’s been recognised and delighted that the ALGWA and Australian Gender Equality Council really have been recognised,” she said.

“Local government has given more to me than I’ve given to local government.”

Ms Ross says change has been slow to come in Australian local government, with discrepancies in representation by women across Australia’s states and a stubborn gender pay gap.

“But its good we’re focusing more on is and people are realising the importance of gender equality and the importance of having more women around the table, and that’s being recognised both at government levels and in business,” she said.

Excellence in public service

Forty-two public servants were awarded a PSM for outstanding service, including senior DFAT bureaucrat James Buttigieg for outstanding service to consular and crisis management and enabling complex arrangements for the repatriation of Australians abroad during covid-19, and CEO and former director of Aviation Safety at CASA Shane Carmody for modernizing air safety regulation and drone pilot licencing.

See the full list of PSM recipients here.

Meanwhile, incoming Tasmanian Governor Barbara Baker received the top order with an AC for service to the people of Tasmania through her contribution to law, judiciary and justice. She was also recognised as a mentor and role model for young women.

Ms Baker takes on the role on June 16.

Controversial appointment

Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff turned Sky News host Peta Credlin was controversially appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to parliament and politics, policy development and the executive function of government.

Ms Credlin was chief of staff for Mr Abbott between 2009 and 2013.

See the full Queens Birthday Honours list here.

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