Former NSW Senator, these days Inverell farmer, John 'Wacka' Williams, has received a Member of the Order (AM) for significant service to the Parliament of Australia, and to the community.
Mr Williams was "very surprised" but felt "very fortunate" to receive the recognition.
"It has been a tremendous privilege and honour to work in a parliament, to work for the Australian people - to get a pat on the back is wonderful but I have to share this award with my wife Nancy Capel and my former staff," he said.
The former truck driver, shearer, small business owner and manager, and farmer spent 11 years in the NSW Senate, and paid tribute to the people around him and the support they provided.
"I appreciate the award very much, but I put it down to being a team effort - my wife did so much to support and help me," he said.
He estimated Ms Capel made more than 300 journeys between Inverell to Armidale ferrying Mr Williams and his staff to catch planes to Sydney and Canberra during the 11 years he was in parliament, while she also operated the Bingara Advocate.
Mr Williams was honoured to work with the same four staff throughout his time in Canberra, which he said was "most probably a record" among the 226 politicians at the time in the capital.
"The team was very dedicated and worked hard, led by chief of staff Greg Kachel."
Mr Williams was Senator for NSW from 2008 to 2019, and party whip from 2008 to 2013 and again from 2016 to 2019, when he retired from politics.
"I was one of the fortunate ones who went into parliament when I wanted to go and left when I wanted to leave," he said.
"Usually you get kicked out, but I retired when I wanted to retire."
A high profile National Party member, Mr Williams has been secretary of the Nationals New England Federal Electorate Council, since 2004; was secretary of the National Party Northern Tablelands State Electorate Council, 2004 to 2013; chair of the National Party Northern Tablelands State Electorate Council from 1999 to 2003; chair of the Inverell branch from 1998 to 2004; secretary of the Inverell branch for two terms in 2004 and from 1991 to 1994, treasurer of the Inverell branch from 1994 to 1998.
Mr Williams nominated two personal highlights of his time in Canberra: seeing the Royal Commission into Banking become a reality in 2018, which resulted in $4 billion in compensation payments to bank customers, and helping "clean up" the franchising sector.
Outside politics, Mr Williams' roles have been many and diverse.
He has been chair for the Fisheries Research Development Corporation since 2020; vice chair of the National Agriculture Labour Advisory Committee since 2019; a member of the Commonwealth Bank CEO Advisory Panel since 2020, and chair of Greyhound Racing NSW since 2021.
He is also a past chair of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council, and while in office donated his electoral allowance to the NSW Regional Dentistry Scholarship from 2008 to 2019.
Locally, Mr Williams nominates his time with community service club Apex as "a wonderful time". He joined in the early 1980s, retiring in 1994. For two of those years Mr Williams was district governor for the Northern Region; he has been a life member of the Sapphire City Apex Club Australia since 1995.
Mr Williams is also a past benefactor and volunteer for Inverell Saints Australian Rules Football Club.
These days Mr Williams is enjoying spending time with his wife on their 162-hectare farm, 'Clifton', which they bought in 2013.
He doesn't miss the work and travel of politics, but does miss "a lot of good friends" from "all round the chamber" and both sides of the political sphere.
As to what induced him into politics, Mr Williams said he developed an interest in economics during his senior years at school in Adelaide.
"I closely watched politics, governments and how they managed the economy and so on," he said.
"I joined the National Party in 1982 when we moved to Inverell [from South Australia] and now I'm a life member of the National Party which I'm very proud of.
"It's just one of those things - the bus comes along and you hop on it.
"I had the opportunity to go into politics and I did and enjoyed it very much, enjoyed working for the people and met hundreds of lovely people."