Election guru Lynton Crosby has been named Australian of the Year in the UK.
The award comes just weeks after he was controversially awarded a knighthood for helping engineer the re-election of Britain’s Conservative government.
At a ceremony at Australia House in London on Saturday night English chef Rick Stein was also awarded Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK and saxophonist Amy Dickson was named Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK.
The Australia Day Foundation awards were presented by Australia’s high commissioner in the UK Alexander Downer.
Mr Crosby, who has been dubbed the “Wizard of Oz”, started working for British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2013 and is credited with masterminding the Conservative Party’s first outright win for more than 30 years in May last year.
Previously he had helped Boris Johnson become mayor of London and was also instrumental in former Australian prime minister John Howard’s run of four election victories.
The 58-year-old’s award of a knighthood in the UK’s New Year Honours List prompted accusations of political cronyism and calls in the British media for an overhaul of the honours system.
But the Conservative Party defended the award as recognising political service that “strengthened civic democracy”.
Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK Rick Stein is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, author and TV presenter who divides his time between Australia and the UK.
His program, A cook abroad: Rick Stein’s Australia, showcased some of Australia’s best local produce to a global audience.
Australia Day Foundation Chairman Philip Aiken said Mr Stein had been a great champion of Australia, making him a “stellar recipient” for this year’s award.
Sydney-born Amy Dickson, the 2016 Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK, has been nominated twice for a Grammy award and was the first Australian instrumentalist to win a Classic BRIT Award in 2013 for her classical chart topping album Dusk & Dawn.
Ms Dickson is the recipient of the James Fairfax Australian Young Artist of the Year award, and has won major competitions including the Gold Medal at the Royal Overseas League Competition, the Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year Competition and the Prince’s Prize.
Previously, no saxophonist had won any of these titles.