The listing from Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC noted that Ms Branson had received her award “for eminent service to the judiciary as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, to the law as an advocate for human rights and civil liberties, to judicial administration and professional development, and to governance roles in tertiary education”.
She was a Federal Court judge from 1994 to 2008, president of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2008 to 2012 and has held numerous other significant posts over the course of her legal career, including deputy chancellor of the University of Adelaide, a role she has held since 2016.
NSW Bar Association president Arthur Moses congratulated Ms Branson on her honour, tweeting that she had had “a distinguished career as a lawyer”.
The Law Council of Australia also lauded her, labelling her an “outstanding and highly deserving candidate”.
Numerous other lawyers were also recognised for their services to the nation, including emeritus professor Robin Creyke, who was named an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) “for distinguished service to administrative law, and to education, as an academic and author, to public administration and tribunal practice, and to professional bodies”.
Former Law Society of Western Australia executive director Peter Fitzpatrick AM was also named an Officer for his community service “with veterans’ affairs, business, legal and not-for-profit organisations, and to social justice”.
Professor Timothy Lindsey, who serves as the founding director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society at Melbourne Law School was similarly honoured for his work in “promoting understanding between Indonesia and Australia, as an academic, and to legal education in Islamic law”.
Lawyers named Members in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) included: Linda Crebbin; Andrew Crockett; Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal president, the Honourable Justice Alfred Daubney; David De Silva; Richard Dennis PSM; Queensland District Court justice, his honour Judge Stuart Durward; Tasmania Supreme Court judge, the Honourable Justice Stephen Estcourt; Christopher Freeland; Colin Golvan; NSW District Court justice, the Honourable Judge John Hatzistergos; James Nicol, Peter Sallmann, Children’s Court of Queensland president, his honour Judge Michael Shanahan; Professor Colin Thomson; and Federal Circuit Court of Australia justice, her honour Judge Josephine Willis.