The appointment of tennis champion Margaret Court to Australia's top honour was meant to be a closely-guarded secret, but the award has already attracted high-level criticism.
The 78-year-old's appointment as Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in this year's Australia Day Honours List, was due to be revealed late on Monday, but instead hit social media on Friday.
The award is to recognise Court's "eminent service to tennis" as winner of a record 24 grand slam singles titles and a mentor for young athletes.
In an interview with AAP this week she described the honour as a great privilege.
Court's tennis achievements have more recently been overshadowed by her views on homosexuality, conversion therapy, same-sex marriage and transgender people.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday said he did not support Court receiving the honour.
"I don't believe that she has views that accord with the vast majority of people across our nation that see people, particularly from the LGBTQ community, as equal and deserving of dignity, respect and safety," he told reporters.
But Court stands by her comments.
Court, a Pentecostal minister who runs the Victory Life Centre church in Perth, remains unrepentant.
"All my life I've had those views and I was just saying what the Bible says," she told AAP.
"I should always be able to say my views biblically, being a pastor and helping people with marriages and family. And I'll never change those views.
"I have nothing against people - I love the people. We have them come into our community services, all kinds - whether they're gay, transgender, whatever they are.
"We never turn a person away and I think it's been tried to be made out that I'm somebody that I'm not really. And I think that is very sad."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said compilation of the Honours List is an independent process.
"This is a completely independent set of processes. It is an announcement that will be announced on that day. It is a system that recognises the full spectrum of individuals across this country. I can't comment on that," he said.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Court has already been awarded for her tennis prowess.
"It's clear for everyone to see that making her a Companion of the Order of Australia has nothing to do with tennis," he tweeted.
Mr Andrews added that he was "sick" of talking about Court every summer.
In 2020, Court garnered controversy at the Australian Open when she was honoured for the 50th anniversary of her grand slam.
Tennis greats including Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe and modern-day champion Andy Murray have all led calls for Court's name to be removed from Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park in light of her views.
According to the website of the Governor-General, people are appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for "eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large".
Any Australian can be nominated for the award, with nominations assessed by the Honours and Awards Secretariat and considered by the Council of the Order of Australia before recommendations are made to the Governor-General.
Australian Associated Press
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