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AFL Commission chairman Ron Evans has been made a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) in this year's Queen's Birthday honours list, for his contribution to Australian Rules Football.

"When the chips are down, there's no one better you want on your side than Ron Evans, " former AFL chief executive Wayne Jackson was quoted as saying.

Similarly honoured are veteran entertainer Bert Newton, former Australian cricketer Dean Jones, unionist Greg Combet and broadcaster Les Murray, host of Australian TV coverage of soccer World Cup for the past 20 years.

Singer Olivia Newton-John, now based in the US, was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for community work supporting breast cancer treatment and for her work on behalf of the environment. In recent months her life was overshadowed by the mysterious disappearance of her boyfriend Patrick McDermott, who was thought to have drowned almost a year ago off the Californian coast, until recent evidence suggested he had faked his death and was hiding in Mexico.

The top honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), was awarded to seven people, including Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates, Australian Broadcasting Corporation chairman Donald McDonald, former Northern Territory chief minister and federal Liberal Party president Shane Stone, artist Margaret Olley and Victorian Governor, Professor David de Kretser.

670 Australians were recognised in this year's list.

Johnson Leung

AFL journalist

Melbourne, Australia

Article last changed on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 9:46 AM EDT

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