He's no knight but Mitch Hooke gets honoured for his mining tax axe

Mitch Hooke, the man who spearheaded the campaign to derail Kevin Rudd's mining tax - and helped kill the Labor leader's prime ministership - has been honoured on this Australia Day for his services to the mining industry. 

In 2013, Hooke stepped down as head of the Minerals Council of Australia, the lobby group which launched the ferocious 2010 ad campaign against Rudd's mining tax.

Mitch Hooke has been  recognised for his work in the mining industry.
Mitch Hooke has been recognised for his work in the mining industry. Photo: Sean Davey

According to the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat, Hooke has been honoured as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for his "significant service to business, particularly to the mining and minerals sector, and to policy development".

Now that Tony Abbott's knights and dames honours have been abolished, the top gong available is the Companion of the Order of Australia, and several members of the business community were given the nod including the man credited with saving Westpac from collapse in the 1990s, Bob Joss. 

Honoured: Bob Joss.
Honoured: Bob Joss. Photo: Tamara Voninski

Joss, now a professor at Stanford University, was poached in 1993 from the US bank Wells Fargo, and is credited with refocusing and modernising the bank which was laden with bad debt.

His work, turning around one of the so-called four pillars of Australia's financial sector, was not the only aspect of his appointment that has had a lasting impact.

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The pay package needed to entice him from the US – including base pay which exceeded the combined salaries of his rival bank bosses, plus share options – set a precedent that Australia's corporate sector was more than happy to emulate. Even if performance has not always matched the largesse dispensed from our corporate boardrooms. 

The practice peaked with the latest crop of retiring big bank CEOs. This includes the most recently retired Westpac boss, Gail Kelly, who earned $11.76 million for her last four months as boss, thanks mainly to the vesting of previously granted performance shares. 

Rich lister and some-time cattle rancher Allan Myers, QC.
Rich lister and some-time cattle rancher Allan Myers, QC. 

Joining Hooke and Joss on the top list is prominent barrister, rich lister and some-time cattle rancher Allan Myers, QC, and his wife, Maria, who are being honoured for their philanthropic work. 

Village Roadshow's Robert Kirby also got a gong for his service to the film and fund park sector, as well as his philanthropy. 

So did former Seven Network boss Brian Mallon, for his contribution to the media industry as well as is charitable role with the Royal Children's Hospital Foundation.

Former Qantas pilot Richard de Crespigny, who famously kept flight QF32 in the air in 2010 despite an engine explosion that ripped the plane's vital operating systems to shreds, also made the list.

So did trucking magnate Ian Cootes and Judith Nelson, the former wife of Platinum Asset Management founder and billionaire, Kerr Nelson. She made her mark with the contemporary Chinese art specialist, White Rabbit Gallery. 

So did her Tasmanian equivalent, David Walsh, who converted a substantial portion of the fortune he made in the gambling industry into the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). 

An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that Mitch Hooke was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia 

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