By Kerrin Binnie
Child protection advocates want the Governor-General to strip high-profile Queensland criminologist Paul Wilson of his Order of Australia medal (OAM) following his conviction on child sex offences.
The 75-year-old received an OAM on Australia Day, 2003 for his service to education in criminology and his work raising public awareness on social justice issues.
Last month, Wilson was convicted of four charges of indecent treatment of a child under the age of 12.
He is now serving an 18-month prison sentence, to be suspended after six months.
Founder of the child protection group Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston, said the Governor-General should take action.
“Paul Wilson should definitely be stripped of his Order of Australia,” Ms Johnston said.
“Anybody who would harm a child does not deserve any kind of award, let alone the Order of Australia,” she said.
Ms Johnston became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2014 for her work in child rights and welfare.
“To have people still holding that honour who don’t deserve it, whose behaviour has seen them ineligible, it demeans everyone else who has one,” Ms Johnston said.
G-G’s power to terminate award.
The Constitution of the Order of Australia allows the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove to cancel or terminate an honour if the person is convicted of a criminal offence.
As Chancellor of the Order, Sir Peter can cancel an award directly or on advice from the Council of the Order of Australia.
A spokesman for the Governor-General says any issues brought to the attention of the council are examined.
“The council considers all matters brought to their attention by the Honours Secretariat,” he said.
“The Secretariat monitors the media and other resources, and may also receive information from members of the public.”
43 awards have been cancelled or terminated since the start of the honours system in 1975.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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