Former CFA President Denis Nelthorpe and consumer advocate Elaine Attwood were both made Members of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queens Birthday honours list in June 2011.
Denis has played many roles in the Australia consumer movement. He was Director of the Consumer Credit Legal Service in the 1980s when it successfully took on the exploitative practices of US owned finance companies like HFC and AVCO and later inaugural CEO of the Consumer Law Centre . He has worked for consumers on many important issues particularly insurance and debt and has recently set up the innovative bulk debt negotiation service. Denis was made a member of the Order of Australia “for service to social justice and advocacy for consumers’ rights, to the development of national credit legislation, and to the provision of legal services to the disadvantaged through a range of community organisations.” He is currently special projects lawyer with the West Heidelberg Community Legal Centre, Tenants Union of Victoria and Footscray Legal Service and is a CFA representative on the Board of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Standards Australia Dispute Resolution committee.
Elaine Attwood has long been an advocate for consumer rights and has represented consumers and CFA on many issues, particularly in relation to food, health and nanotechnology. She is a current CFA nominated consumer representative on the National Enabling Technology Strategy Stakeholder Advisory Council and is a member of two task groups of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). She is on the executive of Consumers South Australia and has represented consumers on bodies such as Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ). She was honoured “for service to the community, particularly women, through executive roles with the National Council of Women, and as a contributor and advocate for consumer rights, human nutrition and health care policy development.”
CFA extends its congratulations to both Elaine and Denis. It is the first time in many years that we have seen the important role played by consumer advocates and community lawyers honoured in this way. It is a truly deserved recognition of the contribution of talented people to the community and the choices they make to pursue reform in the interests of consumers generally and disadvantaged and low income consumers in particular.