Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester noted the "significant contribution" Dr Nelson had made to the Australian War Memorial since being appointed director in 2012, overseeing extensive upgrades to the memorial as well as the Centenary of Anzac program.
“Dr Nelson’s contribution to the Australian War Memorial has been outstanding as it continues to raise awareness of the service and sacrifice by current and former serving members of the Australian Defence Force,” Minister Chester said.
“The Australian War Memorial is a world-class institution and as it approaches the period after the Anzac Centenary, it’s a critical period as a memorial to the members of the Australian armed forces who have died or served in conflict.
“Our $498 million investment in the Australian War Memorial’s redevelopment announced last year will ensure we honour all Australians who have served in our armed forces, and those men and women who serve today and help tell their stories in new ways.”
Dr Nelson was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2016 for his services to the Parliament of Australia, the community, the advancement of Australian international relations and to major cultural institutions.
Last year, the Returned and Services League conferred Honorary Life Membership upon Dr Nelson "for his services to and support of veterans and ex-service organisations".
Prior to his role as director of the Australian War Memorial, he was Australian ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO.