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Sr Jane Keogh CSB) (Facebook)

It might be unusual for a religious sister who has just been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), but one of Sr Jane Irene Keogh CSB’s fondest memories is of being arrested. Source: ABC News.

That’s happened to her twice, most notably when she was participating in a sit-in protest at then-ACT senator Zed Seselja’s office a decade ago. 

Sr Jane was among a group of refugee advocates who had planned a peaceful protest which entailed sitting on the floor with a candle and praying until he agreed to “do something” and set a date for the release of children in immigration detention.

“He didn’t do that … but I got my ride in the back of a paddy wagon and had to give a statement at the police station,” she said.

Sr Jane said she had always had strong values, something she thinks she inherited from her father, who was awarded an MBE for services to the Commonwealth. 

But her advocacy work really began when the Tampa affair hit the headlines in 2001. 

“I was angry over Tampa and I wanted justice. I don’t know where that came from.”

That anger spurred the former school principal on.

She joined a Christian group called Love Makes A Way and began getting involved with vigils and protests. 

Now aged almost 80, Sr Jane keeps going with her advocacy because of compassion and hope, rather than the anger that once inspired her. 

“We do it because of who we are as a person. I want a better Australia. I want a kind Australia. I want a fair go Australia,” she said.

And while being appointed an AM was initially something Sr Jane wasn’t sure she’d accept, she’s decided it will add additional weight to whichever letter she pens to a politician next.

For the full King’s Birthday Honours list, click here.


A protesting nun, a volunteering dentist and the CEO of a domestic violence service among Canberra recipients of King’s Birthday Honours (By Lottie Twyford, ABC News


King’s birthday honours list 2024: from a nun who spent 26 days outside parliament to ‘Australia’s job queen’ (The Guardian)