Queen’s Birthday honours for impact investing pioneer, COVID leaders

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250m+ low-income customers

LeapFrog has now invested into about 40 companies including Zepz, a low-cost cross-border money transfer platform, and PasarPolis, an Indonesian-based insurance provider for low-income customers.

“PasarPolis was created to provide embedded insurance for [rideshare and gig economy workers]. So, they’re to cover each ride that they take, or each parcel that they deliver, with just a few cents paid to gain an insurance policy for if something bad happens to them,” Kuper said.

Kuper, an immigrant from South Africa, said the average annual revenue growth of a company within the portfolio is 27 per cent, and the companies have now served more than 250 million low-income customers.

He said the Queen’s Birthday award was “immense honour” because it meant he had been “embraced by the Australian community”.

“I think it recognises far more than my efforts, the efforts of a team at LeapFrog and an industry to mobilise capital to truly change the world,” he said.

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Leigh Clifford has received Australia’s highest civilian honour for his business and charity work. Eddie Jim

Corporate veteran Clifford, 74, was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), in recognition of his “eminent service to business in the aviation, arts and education sectors, to the community through charitable support and scholarships, and for philanthropic contributions.”

“I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of good people throughout my career, both at Rio Tinto and at Qantas, and I’m sure they deserve some recognition in this too. Because you can’t achieve these sorts of things alone. When you’re in a big business or success is not due to one individual. Many people have congratulated me, and I’ve made that point,” he said.

Clifford said the new Labor federal government is having to deal with “some real challenges” that will involve “tough decisions down the road”.

“We’re faced with inflation, we’re faced with higher fuel prices, and what I’d call a labor shortage across the board…we’re very concerned about inflation and all the things that flow from that, but, I’m not sure that raising interest rates reduces the price of lettuce,” he said.

He also said “a number of the ministers in the new government had experience previously with either [the] Rudd or Gillard [governments], or both. I think they’d be aware of the challenges.”

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Pandemic leaders, scientists, politicians

Many pandemic leaders also received Queen’s Birthday awards on Monday.

Health Department boss and former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy was honoured, “for eminent service to medical administration and community health” as well as to nephrology, to research and innovation.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant has received a Queen’s Birthday honour. James Brickwood

Others heavily involved in the pandemic response, including Queensland governor and former long-serving chief health officer Jeannette Young, have also been awarded high honours. Dr Young, appointed an AC, was Queensland’s top health official from 2005 until late last year.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant has been appointed an AO, while epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws was also awarded an AO for her service to epidemiology, infection prevention and health administration.

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Women in science dominated the highest rank, the Companion of the Order of Australia, including Sydney University emeritus professor Anne Green, who was recognised for “eminent service to science, particularly physics and astrophysics, as an educator and researcher, as a mentor to colleagues and students, and a role model to women.”

Professor Tanya Monro, the Chief Defence Scientist and board member of the CSIRO, was recognised for “eminent service to scientific and technological development, to research and innovation, to tertiary education, particularly in the field of photonics, and to professional organisations.”

Pioneering scientist and plant biologist Patricia Selkirk was recognised for her “eminent service to science and conservation, particularly through research of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems, to tertiary education, and as a mentor and champion for women.”

Shane Warne has received a posthumous Queen’s Birthday award. Getty Images

The first woman to become the premier of an Australian state, Carmen Lawrence, was appointed AO, with other politicians honoured including former attorney-general Robert McClelland (AO), former speaker of the House of Representatives Stephen Martin (AO) and former National Party federal president Larry Anthony.

Warne, Barty and more

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Excelling in a different field, cricket legend Shane Warne will be posthumously appointed an AO some three months after his death. He is being honoured for distinguished service to cricket having taken 708 wickets in his storied career, along with his service to the community through charitable initiatives.

Retired tennis star Ash Barty was appointed an AO after wrapping up her career as a three-time grand slam singles champion, having claimed this year’s Australian Open crown.

But it’s not just the major sports receiving accolades, with Jason Belmonte and Brian Jones receiving AMs for services to tenpin bowling and chess respectively.

In the military division, Vice Admiral Lance Johnston was appointed AC as a highly-skilled strategic military planner and a champion of the Defence Capability System.

Other AC appointments include plant biologist and ecologist Patricia Selkirk for her services to conservation in researching Antarctic and sub-Antarctic ecosystems, chief defence scientist Tanya Monro, and Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation chair and former deputy prime minister John Anderson.

Women make up 46 per cent of the list, the second-highest percentage since the honours system was implemented in 1975. The youngest recipient is 23 years old, while the oldest is 101.

“Recipients share some common traits – including selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service,” Governor-General David Hurley said.

“They’re from different backgrounds, their stories are each unique, and each has served in different ways … this diversity is a strength and each has impacted their community and made it better.”