27 September 2023

Public Servants honoured on King’s Birthday

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Members of Australian Public Services in all States and Territories of the nation were recognised for their commitment and abilities on King Charles’ Birthday Honours List for 2023.

The King’s recognition for members of the Australian Public Service (APS) were presented in accordance with the Order of Australia and announced on His Majesty’s behalf by his Excellency the Governor-General, General David Hurley.

“Learning about the wide-ranging service of recipients, which spans almost every field of endeavour imaginable, is uplifting and makes me enormously optimistic for our country. Collectively they speak to who we are now and who we can be in the future,” the Governor-General said.

“Notably, for the first time since the Order of Australia was established in 1975, the majority of recipients in the General Division are women. Similarly, there is gender parity or better at the three highest levels in the Order,” he said.

Current and past members of the APS honoured on the occasion, including the recipients of the Public Service Medal this year, were:


Rosemary Therese HUXTABLE PSM AO

Department of Finance

For distinguished service to public administration through leadership roles in the areas of health and finance, and to strategic policy reform.

Ms Huxtable was Secretary of the Department of Finance from 2016 to 2022 and awarded the Public Service Medal in 2005.



Services Australia

For outstanding public service through leadership to deliver nationally significant measures and reforms.

Mr Archer has led Services Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) delivery efforts in the effective and efficient delivery of large scale ICT solutions for social security and welfare programs.

He led the rapid design, delivery and operation of the Economic Support Payment for income support recipients, an initiative that progressed from inception to the payment of $1 billion in a period of five weeks.

Mr Archer’s exceptional leadership in support of the Australian social security, welfare and aged care systems played a pivotal role in orchestrating complex ICT changes in support of a range of significant reforms. He provides expert, frank and fearless advice, grasps and assesses risk quickly and intuitively understands the implications of technical decisions on policy and service delivery implementation.

He is an exemplary technology and public sector leader, demonstrating a willingness to take on responsibility and ownership of complex and high risk bodies of work.

Mr Archer has shown perseverance, inspirational leadership and resilience to support the delivery of nationally significant ICT systems.


Department of Defence

For outstanding public service through leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Charlton was responsible for implementing the biosecurity legislative framework that was the first line of defence against COVID-19, restricting the entry of people who might bring the virus into Australia.

Working under extreme pressure, Ms Charlton collaborated with relevant areas across the government to develop policy options that could be implemented at the border under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

These border measures were essential to Australia’s response to the pandemic, restricting the spread of COVID-19 into Australia.

These measures were highly effective in repressing the first wave of the virus. Coupled with domestic measures, the early border measures were a crucial aspect of Australia’s initial protection.

Ms Charlton played a key role in ensuring that advice to government was underpinned by a public health rationale and was proportionate and responsive to public and political concerns. In rapidly changing circumstances as the pandemic unfolded, Ms Charlton continued to lead implementation of border health measures relating to international air and sea travel. This amounted to more than 70 COVID-19 related legislative changes between January 2020 and 2022.

Her calm, confident and consistent leadership under difficult circumstances was key to her ability to deliver, and continue to deliver. She went above and beyond what would normally be expected of an employee, and this never faltered even during the height of the pandemic.

Ms Charlton’s relentless efforts and results contributed immensely to the national coordinated response to COVID-19 and to protecting the lives of Australians and Australia’s border protection, including protecting Australia’s economy through international trade routes.


Attorney-General’s Department

For outstanding public service through policy development and law reform in integrity frameworks, criminal justice and national security.

Ms Chidgey was instrumental in strengthening Commonwealth integrity frameworks through her leadership of the National Anti-Corruption Commission Taskforce in 2022, including her personal contribution to the drafting of legislation to establish this new integrity body.

She delivered two major tranches of organised crime legislation and finalised and secured Commonwealth, State and Territory agreement to the Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic Framework and first National Organised Crime Response Plan.

Her contribution to law reform and policy development in the Attorney-General’s Department spans more than 20 years.

She has provided outstanding support and expert advice to successive governments.

She has led major reforms of Commonwealth laws relating to terrorism, espionage and foreign interference, and developed and implemented reforms to address national security risks to critical infrastructure including establishing a new multi-agency centre.

Greta Elizabeth DOHERTY PSM

Services Australia

For outstanding public service to women’s safety policy and programs.

Ms Doherty has led the development and implementation of the new National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children that was launched by the Australian Government on 17 October 2022.

In 2021, Ms Doherty coordinated and delivered the National Summit on Women’s Safety which brought together over 380 delegates from across the country in a virtual setting, where she expertly negotiated the drafting of Delegate Statement with a complex set of stakeholders.

Under the National Plan, Ms Doherty oversaw the design and establishment of the National Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission, which provides a nationally coordinated approach to evaluating government’s efforts to deliver the National Plan.

Her advocacy extends beyond the Department of Social Services to the broader Australian Public Service.

She is an active member of the Australian Public Service Pride Champions Network as well as Pride in Diversity’s Ally Network, a group of senior executives from the public and private sectors who meet regularly to share best practice and promote LGBTIQA+ inclusion across Australian workplaces.

She has championed the need for services and support for staff working on gendered violence by ensuring access to dedicated counselling, and through compassionate leadership.

Ms Doherty is an exceptional APS leader who consistently delivers outstanding results for the Australian community, with significant achievements with the innovation and leadership she has shown in working with the community to develop the National Plan.

Justine Elizabeth GREIG PSM

Department of Defence

For outstanding public service with the Department of Defence, and in senior policy roles.

Ms Greig has been responsible for steering the direction of Defence’s people strategy, policy development and service delivery to deliver significant reforms which support the 100,000 strong Australian Defence Force and Australian (ADF) Public Service workforce.

She was instrumental in leading the development and implementation of the Defence culture reform program, known as Pathway to Change 2017-22.

Ms Greig has been instrumental in addressing the treatment of women in the ADF through strategies to ensure women’s safety and increasing the participation and advancement of women in Defence through targeted measures.

She has championed the enhanced collaboration between Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), and leading the delivery of the Government’s priority to better support veterans and their families. She has done this through structures and planned governance forums at a strategic level.

Ms Greig’s commitment to the Australian public goes beyond her role in Defence, shown by her dedication to improving long-term employment outcomes for Indigenous personnel across Commonwealth agencies.

Ms Greig’s commitment to the improvement of human resource practices across the Australian Public Service is demonstrated through both her leadership of the Defence culture reform program, Pathway to Change and her sustained contribution to the Committee of Chief Operating Officers.

Margaret Ann HAYES PSM

National Indigenous Australian Agency

For outstanding public service in providing culturally safe access to aged care for First Nations people.

Ms Hayes led the delivery of the Indigenous Employment Initiative, an aged care employment program supporting more than 80 organisations, mostly in remote areas, to train or employ Indigenous workers for non-clinical roles.

She developed the package of measures for First Nations aged care in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, gaining a substantial lift in funding for Indigenous aged care and has established for the first time a First Nations pathway to access culturally safe aged care.

Other achievements include establishing for the first time a First Nations pathway to access culturally safe aged care, leading the Trusted Indigenous Facilitators program from policy development to navigating a high-profile tender process and was instrumental in signing a national contract with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, ensuring the needs of Indigenous Australians are prioritised.

Ms Hayes’s contributions are an outstanding combination of collaboration with Indigenous community controlled organisations around policy and program innovation as well as tenacious hard work in articulating acceptable and practical resolutions to complex issues.

She is held in the highest regard not just by her team, her branch and her peers, but by leaders across the Indigenous Health and aged care sector.

Martin Thomas HEHIR PSM


For outstanding public service through commitment to stewardship and reform of national workplace relations and employment policy.

Mr Hehir has been instrumental in developing and delivering a number of significant workplace relations reforms, including the recent introduction of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill 2022 into Parliament.

Mr Hehir led his team in identifying a suite of innovative workplace relations reforms in the lead up to the Jobs and Skills Summit, and negotiated extensively with stakeholders through tripartite processes to build support for and progress the government’s reform package.

He has held deputy secretary positions in federal government and senior positions in ACT Government agencies and is passionate about fairness and social justice, with a particular focus on gender equity and the perspectives of vulnerable cohorts.

His advice to government and policy implementation has delivered significant practical benefits to all workers in Australia, particularly in terms of job security, safety at work (including psychosocial safety) and fair pay of entitlements.

Mr Hehir has demonstrated over his career outstanding service, leading multiple reforms that have demonstrated his policy skill and innovation that have delivered significant and lasting benefits, particularly to Australian’s that would otherwise have been at risk of being left behind.

Dac Huan HO PSM


For outstanding public service in providing data extraction for reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a public service career spanning almost 40 years, Mr Ho is the most experienced Structured Query Language (SQL) coder with the Medicare program.

In the past two years, Mr Ho has undertaken data extractions to identify recipients for Australian Government mail-outs in response to disasters, covering mental health, bushfire assistance, and COVID-19 responses. These have been at the direction of the Prime Minister, the Minister for Education, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission and the Minister for Health.

The mail-outs resulted in more than 3 million Australians receiving a letter from the Australian Government advising them about services or assistance that was available to assist them get through the pandemic disaster.

Mr Ho’s ability to code combined with almost 40 years of understanding the complex Medicare program, makes his skillset and level of understanding exceptional. He has dedicated the majority of his life to improving the health outcomes for millions of Australians.

Throughout his 40 years of service, Mr Ho has displayed extraordinary knowledge, commitment and experience and demonstrated a level of dedication that is above and beyond the normal duties of a public service employee, notably during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elspeth Sarah KAY PSM

Therapeutic Goods Administration

For outstanding public service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Kay monitored the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and developed solutions to shortages of medicines triggered by the impact of the pandemic overseas. Her hard work and innovation during the pandemic has resulted in new, ongoing processes which directly improve health outcomes for Australians.

She led a small team who analysed the adverse event data to identify safety signals.

This was of critical importance in relation to the early detection and action by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on the risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Ms Kay relayed the results urgently to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and, working with international counterparts, initiated rapid action to prevent illness and save lives.

She implemented a comprehensive weekly COVID-19 vaccine safety report providing information to the public on the safety and efficacy of vaccines. The reports were viewed almost 4.5 million times and used by media.

This transparency gave Australians the confidence to make informed decisions about vaccines, which contributed to the high vaccination rates.

Ms Kay was instrumental in developing relationships with stakeholders to combat the shortages of medicinal supplies impacting Australians and strengthen channels to manage shortages of ICU medicines for ventilated COVID-19 patients.

Australia would not have had the same response it had to the COVID-19 pandemic without Ms Kay’s significant contribution, which resulted in well-managed medicine supplies for intensive care units, reporting on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and developing solutions to shortages of medicines triggered by the pandemic.

Gaye Sharon LALOR PSM

Department of Home Affairs

For outstanding public service in visa program delivery and the COVID-19 travel exemption program.

Ms Lalor was a foundational and critical member of the leadership team who implemented the travel exemption program during the entirety of Australia’s COVID-19 board restrictions.

Under Ms Lalor, a team of more than 100 officers were dedicated to the travel exemption processing effort, sustaining their efforts (including overtime and shift work) for more than two years until travel restrictions were wound back.

Ms Lalor stands out for her proactive, sustained commitment over the full duration of travel restrictions, and the exemplary leadership she provided to both her team, and the broader network of staff from the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force.

The breadth of Ms Lalor’s career has also developed her capacity to understand complex programs, to sensibly manage risks and overcome impediments to successful delivery.

Her leadership and management skills and the nature of the delivered outcomes are a significant contribution, demonstrating commitment above and beyond.

Ms Virginia LEITCH PSM

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

For outstanding public service in developing the business case for rehabilitation of the former Rum Jungle uranium mine.

Ms Leitch developed Rum Jungle’s rehabilitation business case over 12 years of continuous public service spanning all project phases.

Her dedicated work culminated with the Detailed Business Case proposal being approved for funding by the Australian Government in the 2021-22 Federal Budget.

Ms Leitch’s dedicated public service was integral in securing the funding and commitment of both the Australian and Northern Territory Governments to proceed with Rum Jungle’s comprehensive rehabilitation.

Through Ms Leitch’s public service, the deteriorating environmental conditions and heavy metal contaminants affecting the East Branch of the Finniss River will now be rehabilitated to the benefit of its First Nation’s Traditional Owners and surrounding communities in the Batchelor/Coomalie region of the Northern Territory.

Most recently, Ms Leitch has established the Government’s funding, assurance and governance measures to oversee the Rum Jungle’s capital works. She has embedded risk management into the project and continues to cultivate collaborative working relationships with the Northern Territory government and Traditional Owners.

Ms Leitch has provided incredible valued and sustained contributions to delivering outcomes for Rum Jungle rehabilitation and the broader Coomalie district in the NT.


Australian Public Service Commission

For outstanding public service through contributions to the APS Workforce Strategy and the Australian Public Service Academy.

As First Assistant Commissioner at the APS Commission and as a member of the APS Learning Board, Mr Lovelock has been instrumental in the APS-wide transformation of strategic workforce management and APS capability.

Mr Lovelock worked collaboratively across government, engaging with multiple key stakeholders and has been responsible for the development and implementation of the first APS Workforce Strategy and the establishment of the APS Academy, key reforms arising from the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service (2019).

He has developed the policy approach, implementation design, delivery and funding model to establish and then mature APS-wide learning and development. His contribution has transformed APS learning into a focused, dynamic and more efficient framework for continuous learning.

Mr Lovelock has led a distinguished and lengthy professional service with the APS, particularly in innovation in workforce planning and development, and through his leadership of the APS Academy.

Christine Elizabeth McCLELLAND PSM

National Disability Insurance Agency

For outstanding public service in Early Childhood Intervention and improving the lives of young children with disability or developmental delay and their families.

Mrs McClelland commenced with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) at its inception and was responsible for the successful transition of a variety of state and territory-based Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services across Australia, into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

She was influential in the development of policy, work practices and training resources in the early stages of the NDIA.

Her unique leadership at a ‘grass-roots’ level was instrumental in the establishment and delivery of an Early Childhood Approach which today leads a nationally consistent focus on best practice early intervention.

Under Mrs McClelland’s leadership in her role as Branch Manager of the Early Childhood Services Branch, the Early Childhood Services profile has grown significantly with several large scale strategic projects delivered, to better support the delivery of essential early childhood intervention services.

She was also significantly involved in the establishment and training of the national NDIS Early Childhood Partner network.

Mrs McClelland has exemplified foundational leadership through her recognition of the unique needs of children with disabilities and their families and the delivery of the best outcomes for them.

Her outstanding expertise, passion and dedication to the early childhood intervention sector has ensured that the needs of children are not overlooked.

The true intent of the early intervention aspect of the NDIS legislation would not have been realised without Mrs McClelland’s leadership and commitment.

Gerard David MARTIN PSM

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

For outstanding public service in delivering advice and support to the Prime Minister and his Office, and to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Martin oversaw arrangements for the transition of Government following the 2022 federal election and demonstrated his exceptional commitment to service as the Head of Commonwealth protocol through the delivery of the Australian Government’s response to the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

This involved an immediate communications response, travel to the United Kingdom to support the Prime Minister’s attendance at Her Majesty’s State Funeral and overseeing arrangements for the National Memorial Service in Australia.

Mr Martin has led the delivery of the ministerial, parliamentary, communication and international visit functions of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, delivering support to Ministers, as well as holding responsibility for the management of the Prime Minister’s official residences.

The relationships that Mr Martin has established with protocol counterparts in other nations have made a significant contribution to Australia’s successful international engagement.

He has actively identified talent and promoted women in particular to the Senior Executive Service level, and supported them to perform capably at level by sharing the knowledge and insight he has gained from more than 25 years at PM&C.

Mr Martin has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to delivering APS-wide strategic leadership, advice and support, and ensuring the successful delivery of sensitive and high-risk government priorities, whilst serving each government with dignity and professionalism.

Melissa Jane RYAN PSM

Workforce Australia

For outstanding public service through leadership and implementation of complex reform and policies to assist vulnerable Australians.

Ms Ryan has led significant complex reforms and implemented programs and policies that have contributed to improving the lives of Australian people.

She led the largest reform of employment services since 1998 to implement the $5.9 billion Workforce Australia program.

The reform provides better, targeted support to ensure Australians, including job seekers, have the skills and opportunities to secure employment, and businesses are able to put people into work.

She also implemented the new Child Care Subsidy from 2 July 2018, helping over 1 million families to meet the cost of childcare for parents engaged in work, training, study or other recognised activity.

Ms Ryan was instrumental in the successful reform of employment services and transition of around 800,000 job seekers into Workforce Australia.

This reform saw a major re-design and investment in quality, tailored provider services for unemployed Australians who were at risk of being left behind and a new Digital Service for those who can self-manage online.

She has held senior roles across a range of Commonwealth departments over the last 30 years. She has designed and implemented major reforms across a broad range of public policy issue including childcare reforms and employment services.

Ms Ryan consistently received one of the highest Australian Public Service (APS) census ratings across the department for positive leadership and is sought after in the APS to take responsibility for developing, implementing and delivering some of the biggest and most difficult social policy and program reforms.

Robert Barry RYAN PSM

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

For outstanding public service through excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy development and engagement.

Mr Ryan’s service to the public has been at the highest standard of excellence throughout his career, most notably to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in areas such as housing, self-determination and supporting the co-design of the Indigenous Voice.

His ability to build and maintain partnerships with communities across Australia has ensured First Nations voices are at the heart of government decision-making.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Ryan successfully supported 115 face-to-face community consultation sessions around Australia led by First Nations leaders, with over 9,400 people consulted. This process allowed for community input and understanding of the proposed Indigenous Voice model.

Mr Ryan’s work went beyond the normal duties of a committed public servant and was truly inspirational in his performance and leadership, demonstrating a deeply strategic and intellectual rigour whilst maintaining highly personal and practical relationships.

He exemplified the government’s commitment to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Through his leadership, he has elevated the role of the National Indigenous Australians Agency in the eyes of First Nations communities.

Mr Ryan has made, and inspired, a significant Commonwealth contribution to reconciliation and truth-telling with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


European Southern Observatory
For outstanding public service through leadership and stewardship of Australia’s astronomy capability.

Dr Stevenson has led the negotiations and management of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Strategic Partnership, a $129 million investment over 10 years by the Australian Government.

He has tirelessly stewarded Australia’s astronomy capability through major changes in governance, funding and legislative frameworks and ensured that Australian astronomers had access to world leading infrastructure.

Dr Stevenson has made an extensive contribution to policy development which has not only previously saved the Australian Astronomical Observatory, as well as jobs but ultimately allowed the Australian astronomy community to grow and mature into one of the branches of astronomy in which Australian research leads the world.

As a direct result of his innovation in program, project and policy development, and his devotion to supporting optical astronomy policy and programs, Dr Stevenson’s career has benefited Australian society as well as the global astronomy community.

Cathy Anne TOZE PSM

Services Australia

For outstanding public service in leadership and commitment to support Australia’s COVID-19 response.

Ms Toze’s leadership and expertise unified several Commonwealth departments to co-design core elements for the implementation of critical support to the travel sector during the first wave of the pandemic, totalling over $90 million.

In parallel, drawing on years of experience in the delivery of social security and welfare services, Ms Toze led the development and delivery of the Services Australia vulnerability strategy, supporting Services Australia’s vision of delivering simple, helpful, respectful and transparent services to Australians going through challenging times, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Toze led the design and delivery of the Coronavirus Disaster Payment (CDP), delivering $12.8 billion to Australians requiring financial support during the Delta wave.

During this time, Ms Toze also oversaw the service delivery of the Crisis Payment for the National Health Emergency, an initiative which has been called upon close to 1 million times. During Ms Toze’s long and distinguished service prior to the pandemic, she led reforms to improve the delivery of the Child Support Program and the Disability Support Pension, and more recently the Cashless Debit Card and enhanced Income Management programs.

Ms Toze’s dedication and significant contribution throughout her career and during the pandemic was pivotal in ensuring the successful delivery of a range of critical support programs to Australians.

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