The Adelaide Advertiser

By Greg Kelton

After 25 years in federal Parliament former senator and minister Robert Hill describes political life as both challenging and rewarding.

His devotion to his position as Liberal Party Senate leader has seen him rewarded with a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Former Queensland Labor premier Peter Beattie, ex-federal minister Gareth Evans and and former Victorian premier Joan Kirner have also been appointed Companions in the Order of Australia.

They are joined by Professor Ian Frazer who discovered the human papilloma virus vaccine and its role in preventing cervical cancer, leading ethicist Professor Peter Singer and Professor Stephen Hopper, the director of London's Kew Gardens.

WA Chief Justice Wayne Martin also ranked in the highest honour list for his service to the judiciary and the law.

Mr Hill, who retired from Parliament in 2006 to take up a position as Australia's permanent representative to the UN, said he was very proud of the honour.

Mr Hill was awarded the AC for eminent service to the Parliament "particularly through the development of policy reform in the portfolios of the environment and defence, and to Australia's international relations".

Born in Adelaide, Mr Hill studied law at Adelaide University (where he is now chancellor) and was elected to the Senate in 1981 and became Opposition Leader in the Senate in 1993.

When the Liberals won Government in 1996, then Senator Hill became Environment Minister and later switched to Defence where he was in charge of the portfolio when Australia went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He stood down from politics in 2006 and there was intense speculation at the time that he had been pushed into it by the Prime Minister, John Howard. Mr Hill denied the rumours and said he held the view "you should give others a turn because the system clogs up".

Mr Hill continues with his environmental work as chairman of the Co-Operative Research Centre Low Carbon Living and as adjunct Professor in Sustainability, US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.