Arts & Social Sciences PhD student receives Order of Australia

29 Jan 2019

UNSW Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences PhD student Annie Madden was recognised for her service and achievements with an Order of Australia (AO) Honour from the Governor-General on Australia Day.


Annie is a Community Engagement and Liaison Officer and Research Assistant in the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH). She was recognised “for distinguished service to community health, as an advocate for the disadvantaged, to policy development, and to human rights.”

Ms Madden has been a leading advocate for the rights of some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Australian society. She has come from the community to hold significant and influential roles as advisor for academia, the Australian government and multiple international agencies. She has addressed international academic conferences as a plenary speaker, and many meetings of governmental committees at all levels. She has been one of the most influential people worldwide in advocacy for the health and human rights of her community and for harm reduction and sensible drug policies.

Ms Madden is one of the Alcohol and other Drug (AOD), HIV and Communicable Diseases sector’s most respected members and advocate. Her advocacy for affected people and the work undertaken in these sectors more broadly is held in high esteem by colleagues in both government and non-government circles. An indicator of her standing and abilities is her capacity (and regular invitation) to work at the highest levels of influence and policy decision-making, as well as to communicate with and represent the people requiring assistance.

Since 2014, Ms Madden has been an advisor to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) “Injecting Drug User Implementation Tool on HIV”. She was a member of the Community Programme Committee for the “Melbourne AIDS 2014” International HIV/AIDS Conference. In 2011–2014, she was an advisor to the United Nations Global Commission on HIV and the Law. In 2008 and 2011, she was a member of the official Australian government delegation to the United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS.

The recipient of the prestigious UNSW Scientia Scholarship, Annie is currently completing postgraduate research in Health Promotion Development and Evaluation. The research, titled “There But Not There: The Quest for Legitimacy – Power and Performativity of Drug User Representation in High Level Drug Policy Settings”, explores notions such as power, identity, agency and legitimacy in relation to drug user representation in ‘high level’ drug policy contexts – that is, drug policy contexts where strategic-level decision-making occurs or can occur, including parliamentary summits and inquiries, ministerial-level advisory structures and even UN-level commissions and sessions. The aim of this study is to make a new scholarly contribution to the understanding of both the theoretical underpinnings and the practice of drug user representation in such ‘high-level’ drug policy settings.