Actor Geoffrey Rush has won the leading role of Australian of the Year, joining a stellar cast of Australia Day award recipients including South Australian Maggie Beer. Accepting the award in Canberra last night, Rush praised his nation as “the plucky country” whose people “love acting the goat, taking the mickey, cracking a joke, spinning a yarn”. Five Australians, including conductor Richard Bonynge, received the nation’s top honour, with their appointments as Companions of the Order of Australia. The highest honour conferred in South Australia was Officer of the Order of Australia, which went to Justice Robyn Layton and international medical specialists Dr Ian Darnton-Hill and Dr David Pugsley. And celebrity cook Maggie Beer‘s Australia Day lunch of yabbies, rabbit pie and pavlova will be plated up with an extra serving of national pride. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to the tourism and hospitality industries as a cook, restaurateur and author, as well as for her promotion of Australian produce and cuisine.
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