"Australia Day" rather than "New Year's Day". This, for those of you outside Australia and the UK, is a list of people who get awarded medals of varying sorts for things like a "contribution" to the community. The list is supposedly made up from nominations by others to an independent committee which is then supposed to decide who gets the awards and at what level. In the UK it means that some people get the right to be addressed as Sir Jo Bloggs or Dame Josie Bloggs. In Australia it just means you can, if you wish, put some letters after your name. It is not however considered to be very good form to do that in a general sort of way.
The whole system in Australia is wide open to abuse. There are some worthy recipients but there are many others who are not. The list is usually littered with people who were merely doing their job - ex-politicians, sportspeople (but only when they win), business people and those who get their names in the media for being "activist" all appear on a regular basis. So do office bearers in organisations, preferably charitable organisations - some of these have been unpaid volunteers and others have not. I think you get the general idea.
So today I would like to award some honours of my own. Here goes.
I would like to award them to the team of people who regularly remove the graffiti from the railway station and keep "Nellie's garden" neat and tidy. I know there are people who go to sit there when they need spiritual renewal. I would like to honour any other Australian who regularly does a similar task. It is the sort of "housekeeping" that often goes unnoticed.
I would like to award more honours to the people who volunteer to drive the community bus or use their own vehicles to drive people to appointments. That allows many older people to stay in their own homes.
I would like to award more honours to the people who volunteer on the mobile library service which allows the sick and elderly to keep using the library service and enjoy the pleasures of reading.
I would like to honour neighbours who do simple things like put out bins and collect mail or take in papers for absent or ill neighbours.
I would like honour the teenagers of my acquaintance who walk dogs for elderly neighbours when they are unable to do so - and refuse to accept payment for it.
There are many other worthy recipients but that will do for this Australia Day. It seems to me that these people are every bit as worthy and Australian as those who were also being paid to do the task for which they received their honours.
Who do you know who deserves such an honour?