Ex-PM Howard heads honours list
00:02 AEST Mon Jun 9
He may have missed out on a British imperial honour from the Queen, but John Howard receives the highest Australian honour in this year's Queen's Birthday list.
Mr Howard is one of eight Australians appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), just two months after a Buckingham Palace announcement ended intense speculation that he was the Queen's personal choice as a Royal Knight of the Garter, one of Britain's oldest honours.
Mr Howard's Australian honour marks his brightest public moment since the election defeat last November which ended his 11-and-a-half-year term as Australia's second longest serving prime minister.
Since becoming only the second incumbent to lose his seat at a federal poll, he has watched Kevin Rudd's Labor government dismantle some of his major initiatives, rolling back his industrial relations reforms and ending Australia's combat commitment in Iraq.
His citation honours him in part for "fostering and promoting Australia's interests internationally".
Mr Howard, 68, has been able to relax his heavy schedule since the voters of Bennelong ended his 33-year parliamentary career.
He travelled to the US earlier this year on a speaking tour, where he received an honour from a leading conservative think tank, and more recently has been able to indulge his passion for cricket, following Ricky Ponting's Australian team in the West Indies.
Sharing the top honour with Mr Howard are former trade union boss Bill Kelty, media mogul and Seven Network chief Kerry Stokes, and television game show pioneer Reg Grundy, who brought to the screen programs ranging from Sale Of The Century and Wheel Of Fortune to Neighbours and Sons And Daughters.
Also appointed ACs are former West Australian premier Geoff Gallop and former Liberal senator Peter Baume, whose post-parliamentary career has included a string of senior roles in health and education, including as chancellor of the Australian National University.
Two jurists make up the eight - commonwealth solicitor-general David Bennett and Justice Kevin Parker, the West Australian judge who was appointed to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Mr Howard's influential former chief of staff Arthur Sinodinos is also recognised, being appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
The late Peter Andren, a former independent federal MP, is appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
Sporting luminaries recognised this year include former Test cricketer Justin Langer, former Olympic hurdler Pam Ryan, horse breeder John Messara and national basketball coach Janette Stirling.
James Kemsley, the late cartoonist behind the Ginger Meggs strip, is awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
The Queen's birthday list also honours Woolworths chief Roger Corbett, AO, financial commentator Paul Clitheroe, AM, and human rights and AIDS commentator Dennis Altman, AM.
Others toasting their success today include Adelaide beer-maker Dr Timothy Cooper, AM, for services to brewing, and Penfolds chief wine-maker Donovan Ditter, OAM.
I suppose he and Reg Grundy make a good pair.