Sir John Key to be granted Australia's highest honour

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key will be granted the highest Australian honour, the Order of Australia, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Sir John has been appointed an Honorary Companion in the Order of Australia and will be invested with the insignia of his appointment by Australia's Governor-General at a ceremony at Government House in Canberra tomorrow afternoon.

"John was an outstanding leader of his country, and he is respected around the world for his influence in our region and beyond," Mr Turnbull said in a statement.

The announcement was made by Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, at a press conference alongside John Key. Source: 1 NEWS

"As Prime Minister of New Zealand from November 2008 to December 2016, he was also deeply committed to advancing the Australia-New Zealand bilateral relationship and pursuing our common interests in the region and internationally."

Australia and New Zealand share a unique and close partnership, underpinned by shared history and values, Mr Turnbull said.

"John helped drive economic growth in both Australia and New Zealand by reinvigorating the agenda of the Single Economic Market, which further liberalised the trans-Tasman economy and delivered benefits for Australian and New Zealand businesses and consumers," he said. 

He was also committed to ensuring that New Zealand played its part in tackling the major security challenges the international community faces.

"My instant, dismayed, reaction on his retirement last year was 'Say it ain’t so Bro' - he has been a great friend of Australia and has represented his nation, and our shared values, magnificently," Mr Turnbull said.

"Lucy and I look forward to seeing more of John and Bronagh this side of the ditch and perhaps John and I can venture out for another paddle before too long," he concluded.

The former prime minister says he received the news of his knighthood in a golf course phone call and it "feels cool". Source: 1 NEWS

Malcolm Turnbull says the retiring Prime Minister is an inspiration to leaders around the world. Source: 1 NEWS