Joe Hockey spoke of Olivia "changing the world" as he presented the award to the emotional star.
“You are being recognised by your nation not just because we are proud of you but because you have changed the world,” he said.
“It is not just because of your singing, songwriting, acting — that’s the stuff that has lit up so many faces … but you are doing it now from a philanthropy perspective, simply by illustrating to the world you never give up. You never walk away from any challenge. You are the most optimistic person I have ever met.”
Olivia's AC reflects not only her career as an entertainer but also her work as a global voice in the fight against cancer - a commitment which led the 70-year-old to establish the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in her home town of Melbourne in 2015.
It was revealed last year that the Grammy Award winner's cancer battle isn't over, with the disease returning as she fights it for the third time.