The latter honour recognises his services to science, technology and business, but also his role in fostering the relationship between Australia and the United Kingdom.
That relationship has, since June, been the subject of negotiations over a Free Trade Agreement that could boost relations with Australia’s seventh-biggest trading partner.
Sir Andrew says it is a relationship that ”is going to become much more important in the years to come”.
“With Brexit coming, whatever your persuasion on that, it is going to result in a more sovereign United Kingdom which will want to choose how it makes friends all over the world and will be much less constrained in the terms of doing that,” he says.
”The tyranny of distance is much less of a problem now for nations to collaborate. I think that was true anyway and I think that has been accelerated by the fact we now have to work much more virtually [because of the pandemic].
”In a fast-moving world I do believe the timezone [differences between Australia and the UK] can be your friend because you can put teams together who can move around the clock.
“I am a huge champion of Australia and a huge champion of the UK and it would be good if the two countries were linked and I think it is possible.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joked in June that such a deal could boost two-way trade of breakfast spreads such as Vegemite and Marmite, and give Britons access to cheaper Tim Tam biscuits.
‘It is about staying connected’
For an Australian audience used to free trade deals with Asian nations that are focused on primary industries such as agriculture, mining and energy, the opportunity presented by a pact with the UK has been less obvious.
But Sir Andrew believes there