As far as Liberal MP-organised morning teas go, last week’s medal presentation at Paddington Town Hall was a fairly camp affair.
Member for Wentworth Peter King organised a ceremony to recognise the 160 residents from Sydney’s eastern suburbs receiving Centenary Medals.
Guest speaker Justice Michael Kirby attended with partner Johan van Vloten, and handed medals to community-minded people from Kerryn Phelps to Jeannie Little.
Many had familiar names, but most were ordinary Australians, Kirby said, who had performed their community work without thinking of winning medals.
Justice Kirby -“ who said he had received his Centenary Medal in the post -“ told the audience the award made him think of all of the people in his life who contributed to the community in different ways.
I think of my partner Johan who’s here today. He works as an Ankali [a carer for a person living with HIV/AIDS]. The person he cares for has been very sick, and Johan goes to his home, prepares his meals, he cleans his toilet, he walks his dog -“ he just talks to him. This country is made up of millions of people who do these things, he said.
The High Court Judge also told a story of being rewarded for good work as a primary school student, with a stamp of a gold crown on his forehead. The stamp, he said, could explain his particular personal link to the Queen.