Australian Bureau of Statistics
4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2013
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/01/2013
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ORDER OF AUSTRALIA AWARDS
RECIPIENTS OF THE COMPANION OR OFFICER OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA (AC/ AO) (GENERAL DIVISION)
TOTAL NOMINATIONS CONSIDERED FOR THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA (GENERAL DIVISION) (a)
RECIPIENTS OF THE COMPANION OR OFFICER OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA (AC/ AO) (MILITARY DIVISION)
RECOGNITION OF OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AND SERVICE
In 2012, 68 men and 20 women were appointed to either one of the top two levels of the Order of Australia award (General Division). Across the four award levels, men received more than twice as many nominations than women (1,220 and 459 respectively), and more than twice as many awards than women (682 and 297 respectively). This was in line with the trend over the past decade.
With appointments publicly announced on Australia Day (26 January) and the Queen's Birthday (June), the Order of Australia is the pre-eminent way Australians recognise their fellow citizens for outstanding achievement and service to the nation or humanity. (Endnote 1) According to the Governor-General's official website, the Order of Australia "recognises, by national honour, those individuals who have made outstanding contributions that benefit their communities, and ultimately the country" and "serves to define, encourage and reinforce community standards, national aspirations and ideals by acknowledging actions and achievements and thereby identifying role models at all levels and in all spheres in the community". (Endnote 2)
The Order of Australia honours system began in 1975, replacing the previous British honours system, and is free from political influence and patronage. Individuals, community organisations, professional bodies or similar groups in the community can nominate an Australian citizen for an award. (Endnote 1)
Four levels make up the Order of Australia:
Excluding honorary appointments or awards, in any calendar year the current quotas for each level are 30 AC awards, 125 AO awards, 300 AM awards, and no limitation on award numbers for the OAM. (Endnote 2)
There are two divisions of the Order of Australia: the General (or Civil) Division and the Military Division. General Division nominations are considered by the Council for the Order of Australia, an independent advisory body comprising 19 members from diverse backgrounds across the country. Council members are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Council meets twice yearly to consider all nominations and makes recommendations to the Governor-General on award recipients, as well as the level of award. (Endnote 1)
In assessing a nomination, the Council seeks to satisfy that the nominee has demonstrated a high level of achievement, made a contribution over and above what might be reasonably expected through paid employment, or whose voluntary contribution to the community stands out from others who may also have made a valuable contribution. (Endnote 1)
Military Division awards are given for service and performance of duties based on recommendations made by the Minister for Defence. (Endnote 1) Award levels within the Military Division are governed by similar eligibility criteria as those of the General Division, although designed to reflect military service. (Endnote 3)
GENERAL DIVISION AWARDS
In 2012, 1,220 men and 459 women were considered for an Order of Australia General Division award by the Council for the Order of Australia. Of those nominated, 682 men and 297 women received an award. Over the past decade, roughly one third of both nominations received, and awards given for the Order of Australia, were for women.
Level of award
The OAM has been the most common level of the Order of Australia awarded over the last decade. Between 2003 and 2012, 4,644 (65%) OAMs have been awarded to men, and 2,496 (35%) OAMs have been awarded to women. In 2012, two thirds of OAMs (66%, or 393 out of 591 awards) were awarded to men. This rate increased from 2003, where 60% of OAMs (473 of the 784 awarded) were awarded to men.
Usually only small numbers of the highest award (AC) are given each year. Over the last decade, a maximum of twelve men and seven women have received an AC in a given year. Between 2003 and 2012, a total of 82 ACs (74%) were awarded to men, and 29 ACs (26%) were awarded to women.
For the next highest levels of award (the AO and AM), there have been similar proportions of male and female recipients as the highest award (AC) over the last decade. That is, 26% of the 632 AOs and 25% of the 2,628 AMs issued between 2003 and 2012 were awarded to women. In 2012, 24% of the 75 AOs, and 26% of the 300 AMs issued were awarded to women. This was slightly below the proportion of AOs (27% of the 83) and AMs (27% of 253) that were awarded to women in 2003.
When considering all nominations and awards over the last decade, most have been in the Community category (48% of all nominations received and 44% of all awards given). The next most popular categories have been Medicine (9% of nominations and awards), Sport (7% of nominations and awards) and Education (5% of nominations and awards).
Women received awards in all categories except Surveying and Mapping or Mining over the last decade, while men received awards in all categories. Less than ten percent of awards given between 2003 and 2012 have been given to women in the Primary Industry (9% of the 260 awards given), Transport (9% of the 66 awards given), Building and Construction (6% of the 53 awards given) and Engineering (3% of the 76 awards given) categories.
Over the last decade, the only two categories where more women than men have received awards were the Library and Related Occupations (60% of the 20 awards given) and Disabled (51% of the 210 awards given) categories.
In 2012, a total of 694 nominations (35% of which were for women) and 346 awards (39% given to women) were made in the Community category. Medicine was the next most popular category for nominations and awards, with a total of 177 nominations (19% of which were for women) and 120 awards (24% given to women) in 2012, followed by Sport with 98 nominations (23% of which were for women) and 51 awards (29% given to women).
MILITARY DIVISION AWARDS
In 2012, across all Military Division award levels, two women received an Order of Australia award compared to 42 men. This continues the trend of the vast majority of Military Division Order of Australia awards going to men. Of the 503 awards issued between 2003 and 2012, 24 (5%) were awarded to women. Over this period, no woman has received either the highest (AC) or second highest (AO) award. In contrast, four men have received the AC and 45 have received the AO during this period.
This difference is likely to reflect the much lower proportion of women serving in the Australian Defence Force. For instance, in 2011-12, 13.8% of the total permanent armed defence force in Australia were women. (Endnote 4)
1. Australian Government, 2012, It's an Honour: Australia Celebrating Australians, accessed 16 January 2013, <www.itsanhonour.gov.au>.
2. The Australian Honours Secretariat, 2013, The Order of Australia, accessed 18 January 2013, <www.gg.gov.au>.
3. Department of Defence, 2011, Defence Honours & Awards - Order of Australia, accessed 21 January 2013, <www.defence.gov.au>.
4. Department of Defence, 2012, Defence Annual Report 2011-12, accessed 18 January 2013, <www.defence.gov.au>.
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA AWARDS LINKS
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This page last updated 26 August 2013