Two Indian-origin people awarded highest civilian Honours in Australia

"It's a great honour, and I dedicate my success to Indian Australian Community."

The Governor-General of Australia, Gen. David Hurley, AC, DSC, FTSE, has announced Honours to 1040 Australians.

This includes awards in the Order of Australia (General and Military Divisions), meritorious awards and recognition for distinguished and conspicuous service in the Australian Defence Force.

Among the awardees are two Indian-origin people:

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Mr Deepak-Raj GUPTAMedal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division Mr Gupta is Patron of Canberra India Council and He was also a Labor member for Yerrabi in the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly from July 2019 to October 2020. He has been awarded for service to the community of Canberra.

Deepak Raj Gupta told The Australia Today, I was pleasantly surprised to see my name on the list.

“It’s a great honour, and I dedicate my success to Indian Australian Community.”

Deepak-Raj GUPTA – Wikipedia.

Born in a middle-class family, Deepak landed in Australia with just 150 dollars in his pocket. He washed cars, worked in restaurants to sustain his studies. He initially studied in Government Senior Secondary School and Graduated from DAV College in the Indian city of Chandigarh.

In Australia, He has worked as an Executive Officer in the Defence Department. He was also the President of the Australia-India Business Council (AIBC) for 10 years and was also a member of the AIBC National Executive Board of Directors.

Mr Gupta made headlines when he became the first Indian origin MLA from the Labor Party in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Parliament.

Mr Gupta says he would have loved to see more Indian Australians on the Award list this year. Just imagine, be it transport, hospitality or healthcare Indian Australians have been on the frontline serving the community in difficult times of pandemic.

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“We Indian Australians have to unite to get our due recognition, all political persuasions are using us as vote banks without giving that seat on the table.”

“However, I am very confident about the next generation of Indian Australians, which has started to make its mark in all walks of Australian society.”

Professor Prithvipall Singh BHATHALMember (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia – Prof. Bhathal is a Consultant Histopathologist. He has been awarded for significant service to pathology, education and mentoring, and to medical research.

A graduate of the University of Adelaide, Professor Bhathal trained in histopathology at the Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s and Alfred Hospitals. He completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Pathology and followed this with appointments as senior lecturer in Pathology at the University of Queensland and Reader in Pathology at the University of Melbourne.

From 1978 to 1999 he was Professor/Director of Anatomical Pathology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. In addition to his role as Histopathologist at Melbourne Pathology, he continues to teach and research part-time in the Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne, where he is an Honorary Professorial Fellow.

Professor Bhathal has an international reputation in hepatic and gastrointestinal pathology and was presented the Distinguished Pathologist Award of the International Academy of Pathology in June 2007, and the Distinguished Research Prize of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia in October 2007. He was awarded the Distinguished Pathologist Award of the Australasian Gastrointestinal Pathology Society in October 2019 and was inducted as a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGAF) in February 2021.

The Governor-General is continuing to reach out to organisations in Australia and to the general community to increase diversity in nominations.

Image source: Gov. Gen. David Hurley, AC, DSC, FTSE – Governor General.

Congratulating the awardees, Gen. Hurley said:

”Congratulations to the outstanding Australians recognised in today’s Honours List. Collectively the recipients, whose achievements span community service, science and research, industry, sport, the arts and more, represent the strength and diversity of Australia. It has been a challenging couple of years and the recipients announced today are a reminder and reflection of the richness of spirit, selflessness and good in our community.”

He added:

“To the individuals being celebrated today; thank you for your contribution to Australia and congratulations on being recognised by your peers and your nation. To all Australians, please consider nominating someone outstanding from your community for recognition in the Order of Australia. The Order belongs to each of us and we each have a part to play. The only way a person can be recognised is for someone to nominate them.”

Of the 732 awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia, the highest ever percentage (47 per cent) are for women and 45 per cent are for service to local communities.

Gen. Hurley observed:

“The fact that the list includes the highest ever percentage of women is very encouraging and I look forward to this positive trend continuing. We will continue to increase awareness and encourage nominations for people from parts of our community that have been historically underrepresented.”

In addition to the 732 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia (7 AC, 25 AO, 155 AM and 545 OAM), today’s Honours list includes:

  • 30 recipients of awards in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (3 AO, 16 AM and 11 OAM)
  • 197 Meritorious awards
  • 81 Distinguished and Conspicuous awards

This list also includes 58 Australians recognised for their contribution in support of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These individuals, recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia, Meritorious Awards and Military Awards will also be included in an ongoing and permanent COVID-19 Honour roll.