25 January 2020

Here’s cheers to our Oz Day winners


Shining stars in the medical profession have been rewarded in the 2020 Australia Day Honours List for their outstanding contributions to healthcare and the community.

Professor Bruce Robinson, an endocrinologist based at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, was the only doctor appointed a Companion of the Order (AC), the nation’s highest honour.

As one of five Australians appointed, Professor Robinson was commended for his eminent service to medical research and to national healthcare, through policy development and reform, and to tertiary education.

Since 2015, Professor Robinson’s most notable posts include chair of the NHMRC and chair of the MBS Review Taskforce.

Ms Marita Cowie, the foundation ACRRM CEO of 22 years, was appointed a Member of the Order (AM) for her significant service to community health in rural and remote areas.

Much beloved by the college and its members, Ms Cowie has almost two decades experience in delivering medical education, training and company administration.

And rural GPs were also well-represented among the award recipients.

Dr Anthony (Tony) Lian-Lloyd, a long-serving GP from Quorn in South Australia, was awarded a Medal of the Order (OAM) for his service to medicine and the local community.

Originally thinking his nomination was a practical joke, Dr Lian-Lloyd said he was very humbled by the award.

“I thought: ‘Why me?’,” he told The Medical Republic. “I can think of plenty of my colleagues who are more deserving.”

Dr Lian-Llyod was inspired to study medicine at the age of 26 after teaching a country GP how to ride a horse in his (then) job as a horse trainer.

“When I went back to school to study medicine my only ambition was to be a rural doctor, so every part of my training was with that sole fixed view to getting the skills I needed,” he said.

With additional training in surgery, anaesthetics and obstetrics, Dr Lian-Lloyd said being able to offer cradle to grave care using a diverse skillset keeps him motivated and “full of energy.”

And beyond medicine, Dr Lian-Lloyd said his interests are all rural too.

“I have a small farm, my horses are my life and I’m very heavily involved in my community and hospital,” he said.

Dr Michael Connor, a recently retired GP in Colac Victoria, was awarded an OAM for service to medicine and the community.

“I was delighted and flattered to receive the award,” he told The Medical Republic. “Country GPs are a breed of their own and they need all the support they can get.”

In his almost 50-years of general practice, Dr Connor served as Victorian vice president of the AMA and also held a pilot’s licence, spending a portion of his career as a mobile instructor of obstetrics and advance life support in rural and remote areas.

Dr Connor’s involvement in the Colac community has extended far beyond medicine, with long-term membership of the local water-skiing, motorbiking, car racing and aero clubs.

“Being a part of the community has also been a very important part of my time here in Colac, I know at least two local families where I looked after five generations as their GP- that gives you a real sense of continuity,” he said.

Dr Ian Chung, a Sydney-based GP, was awarded an OAM for his service to the Law Society of New South Wales and also for his role as a medical educator.

Dr Chung was also recognised for his service to the community, having served as a medical officer to the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club, and to Mission Australia.

Dr Vincent Gallichio, a GP in Preston, Victoria, was awarded an OAM for service to medicine. Dr Gallichio has been involved with the RACGP as a senior Fellowship of General Practice examiner and is an active tutor, mentor and teacher of medical students.

Dr Wesley Jame, a GP in Berwick, Victoria, was awarded an OAM for his service to community health. As a past president of the St John of God Berwick hospital, Dr Jame also has held senior positions for South East Palliative Care and OzChild, an organisation which protects vulnerable children.

The OAM category also included Dr Gunvantrai (Gunu) Naker who was awarded for his service to the international community and medicine. Dr Naker, a GP who practices in Hurstville, New South Wales, has been chair of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation of Australia and Papua New Guinea, a multi-faith spiritual movement engaging in philanthropic work in rural villages in education and health.

Anyone can nominate any Australian for an award in the Order of Australia. If you know someone worthy, nominate them now at www.gg.gov.au.