Graeme has been overwhelmed by the number of USU and community members who have congratulated him on being awarded and Order of Australia Medal (see full story here) on Australia Day.

“Members have contacted me directly or via social media and email and I am truly honoured by their support and well wishes,” said Graeme.

When he received the OAM Graeme dedicated the Award to members.

“I dedicate this award to the 33,000 members of the United Services Union as well as my mother, who always believed in me,” he said.

Some of the messages Graeme received include:

Greg Scott Congratulations Graeme you well and truly deserve this for all the great work you do protecting people’s rights in the work place and you do it on a 24/7 basis

Forest Coogee Due Recognition for a tireless effort. Great news, very well deserved.

Garth Morrison Top award for a top bloke. Well done Graeme.

Adrian Potts Well done GK. Always on the front foot.

Matt Henderson Congrats Graeme from members at Byron Shire Council. Well deserved

Gai Farrar Congratulations Graeme you have worked bloody hard and no one deserves it more. Well done …. Toby and Gai xx

Bill Green A well deserved honour Graeme and the heartiest of congratulations

Peter Knox Congratulations Graeme … Not so long ago Griffith City Council was about to implement GCC as a benchmark for Howards failed workchoices … However your organisers and yourself came to Griffith and after a couple of mass meetings at the Leagues Club & early morning yard meetings with the barbecue trailer they backed off 

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine, NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen and Assistant National Secretary Nick McIntosh joined in paying tribute to Graeme’s hard work and commitment:

This is just a quick note to congratulate you on your well-deserved achievement of being awarded the Medal of Order of Australia (OAM) for your service to industrial relations.

Your commitment and efforts on behalf of working people over such a long period of time has deservedly been recognised and the union movement owes you a great debt for these efforts.

In addition to the many messages from members and friends, Graeme was recently congratulated by former Premier Bob Carr and his wife Helena. 

Former Premier Bob Carr and his wife Helena congratulate Graeme Kelly

Former Premier Bob Carr and his wife Helena congratulate Graeme Kelly

He was also congratulated by Sutherland Shire Council and presented with a Mayoral Minute by the Mayor Councillor Carmelo Pesco.

Sutherland Shire Council Mayor Councillor Carmelo Pesco congratulates Graeme Kelly

Sutherland Shire Council Mayor Councillor Carmelo Pesco congratulates Graeme Kelly

Congratulations have also been extended from Premier Gladys Berejiklian who thanked him for his dedication to the community.

Graeme was also pleased to recently receive a message from Nuatali Nelmes, Lord Mayor of the City of Newcastle who wrote:

“Please accept my congratulations on being awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for your service to industrial relations. 

This is due recognition of your immense contribution to the betterment of the lives of working people in New South Wales and Australia, particularly in the local government sector, as the General Secretary of the United Services Union (USU). 

The United Services Union (USU) has gone from strength to strength under your leadership. 

I’m proud of the strong relationship that has developed between the City of Newcastle and the USU and appreciate the ongoing support you have offered me as Lord Mayor. 

Our recent collaborative efforts including interest-based bargaining for City of Newcastle employees Enterprise Agreement, paid domestic violence leave and the ratification of the USU Jobs and Services pledge prior to the 2017 local government election are all testament to your leadership.”

Once again Graeme paid tribute to the members of the United Services Union who he shares this recognition with and says it is an honour to be General Secretary of this great union.

“My work is a labour of love and a privilege,” said Graeme.

“I get up every day knowing I am going out there trying to achieve on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves.”