Former MP Peta Seaton AM of Moss Vale said learning that she had been included on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List was a “surreal feeling”
“I keep thinking it is for someone else,” she said. “It is not what you are expecting, you don’t do things in the community for this [recognition]… It’s a real surprise.”
Dr Seaton will receive a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the parliament of NSW, to the Southern Highlands community and to higher education.
She was an MP representing the Southern Highlands from 1996 to 2007, in which time she held shadow portfolios including shadow Treasurer, shadow minister for reform of government, infrastructure and planning, competition and consumer protection, small business, insurance regulation and the environment.
She has also held key roles including adviser to several leaders in NSW parliament such as Barry O’Farrell, John Hewson, John Fahey, Nick Greiner and Ted Pickering.
Dr Seaton’s commitment to community has continued since stepping down from politics. For the past 11 years, post-politics, she has immersed herself in many projects.
Academically she has been on the Near Eastern Archeology Foundation at the University of Sydney since 2015, was a member of the Friends of Nicholson Museum, contributed to university projects in health and continuing education, and has been a volunteer researcher for many years.
She has been an Honorary Research Fellow at Sydney Business School at the Wollongong University and a member of the Faculty of Science Dean’s Advisory Council at the University of NSW.
Her commitment to projects close to home have also been extensive holding the position of deputy chair on the Bradman Foundation Board from 2007 to 2014 as well as being a past patron of Camden Show and the Challenge Southern Highlands.
Dr Seaton’s continued commitment to community also includes being a past board member with CARE Australia, a member of University of Sydney “Pella Project’ in Jordan, a board member of the Menzies Research Centre and work with volunteer groups assisting veterans to integrate with post-service civilian work lives.
But as far as Dr Seaton is concerned she is just stepping up to do what needs to be done.
“I learnt from my father that if something needs fixing or improving, you just do it,” she said. “Both my parents were very resourceful and I learnt from them, I guess it’s second nature,” she said.
“We are lucky in our district that there are so many involved in community activities in one way or another – people just doing what they do because it needs to be done.
“I’m so lucky to have had the privilege to meet so many of those people. That’s a lovely part of my post-politics life.”